Luke Bryan hits the under with Super Bowl national anthem

Recording artist Luke Bryan during the Super Bowl LI pregame show press conference at the George R. Brown Convention Center.(Photo: Kirby Lee, Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)

HOUSTON – Country music superstar Luke Bryan sang a soulful a cappella rendition of the national anthem before his home-state Atlanta Falcons played the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LI on Sunday at NRG Stadium.

“In most years I can be pretty neutral on who‘s going to win the Super Bowl,” Bryan told reporters at a press conference Thursday, “and then I always get – you‘re always going to get some flak from your fans. But I grew up in Georgia so I‘ve definitely got to pull for my Falcons, my Dirty Birds.”

A Super Bowl, of course, isn’t a Super Bowl without prop bets.

Vegas had set the over/under for length of his performance at 2 minutes and 9 seconds. Bryan hit the under, completing the song in 2:04.

Fans roared when Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was shown on the video board, singing along on the New England sideline. Bryan’s pregame performance was televised live on FOX.

Bryan is the first male to perform the national anthem at the Super Bowl since Bill Joel in 2007.

The two-time Academy of Country Music and Country Music Association Entertainer of the Year has placed 17 singles at No. 1 and sold nearly eight million albums.

Bryan has performed the national anthem before several NFL games – including at Gillette Stadium, home of the Patriots – but this marked the first time he appeared at the Super Bowl.

Lady Gaga, who sang the national anthem before last year’s Super Bowl, is the headline halftime act.

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