Bearded princess, 'fake Brady' launch Super Bowl party (AFP)

The final countdown to the biggest date on the US sporting calendar kicked off with a traditional media circus greeting the arrival of Super Bowl 51 opponents New England and Atlanta. Thousands of fans and several hundred journalists from across the globe on Monday thronged MinuteMaid Park, the home of the Houston Astros baseball team, as the Patriots and Falcons held court ahead of next Sunday’s showpiece in Texas. The Super Bowl protagonists have almost become secondary to the spectacle in recent years, with the prime-time event becoming a byword for the surreal.