The Super Bowl is far too important to leave to sports fans, the day is about America letting its hair down.

Next Sunday's game, pitting the Atlanta Falcons against favourites New England Patriots in Houston, is more than a chance to see whether the American Football Conference league champions, or the National Football Conference league champions, win the nationwide crown.

Some 122m million Americans watched the event on TV last year, with millions more watching worldwide. This figure in the US represents a 72% share of US households with a TV switched on during the four-hour extravaganza.

And these household TV figures do not capture the millions of Americans watching the game in bars or at parties.

Only 35% on those watching think the game is the most important part of the day, according to the US National Retail Federation. Just under 18% think the commercials, often used by the biggest brands in the world to launch new products, are the highlight. Apple famously launched its Macintosh personal computer during the 1984 Super Bowl.

However, another 4.5% Americans add enjoying an all-day blowout is what makes the day stand out.

Americans will eat more food during Super Bowl 51 than any other day of the year other than Thanksgiving.

They will consume 325 million gallons of beer, 11.2 million pounds of crisps and 1.3 billion chicken wings – enough for every man, woman and child in the country to have four each.

Marching bands to Rolling Stones

In the run-up to the game US retailers expect to pocket $15.5bn spent on food, drink and other accessories. Just under nine million Americans will buy a new TV.

Lady Gaga
Lady Gaga will headline the Super Bowl halftime show on 5 February REUTERS/Neil Hall

The Fox TV network is expected to air around 100 ads from around 70 firms, costing a cool $5m each for a 30-second spot during the game.

Facebook said it counted 200m posts, likes and comments related to the game from 60m users during last year's game, while YouTube said people watched nearly 300,000 hours of advertisements on its site during the broadcast. Twitter users sent 16.9 million tweets about the game, including 4.6 million tweets about ads.

The half-time entertainment has become almost as talked about as the game itself, with stars such as Michael Jackson, Madonna, James Brown, the Rolling Stones, Prince, Coldplay and Bruno Mars all providing entertainment in the past.

Lady Gaga provides the music this year, and TV executives will wait nervously to see whether the outspoken singer will deliver a broadside against President Donald Trump.

NRG Stadium
Field of Dreams - Super Bowl 51 will take place at NRG Stadium in Houston on Sunday 5 February Bob Levey/Getty Images

The half-time show has come a long way from the first Super Bowl in 1967 when the entertainment came courtesy of marching bands from the Universities of Arizona, Michigan and Grambling.

Betting is illegal in many parts of the US, but Americans will wager around $4.2bn on bets such as winning margins, first touchdown scorer and pass completions, according to the American Gaming Association.

"Last year's Super Bowl 50 was about heritage," Andy Newman, director of volunteers of the Houston Super Bowl committee, told IBTimes UK. "This year we want to show that the competition is alive and ready to last another fifty years."

Tunbridge Wells-born Newman was on the team that led the London Olympics' 70,000 volunteers, so directing Super Bowl 51's 10,000 helpers should present few problems.

Newman, who has an American wife and now lives in the US, said the volunteers will be spread across Houston's George Bush Intercontinental Airport, the city's key hotels, and the NRG stadium where the game takes place.

"There will be a lot of fans travelling to Houston," said Newman. "The build up of events and parties starts around ten days before the final. Our job is to make sure everyone has as good a time as they can."