Houstonians 'pleasantly surprised' with Super Bowl preparations

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It's the first night of Super Bowl Live, and already the streets are filled with football fans. (KTRK)

A taste of the NFL in downtown Houston was unveiled this weekend bringing some favorable comparisons to the 2004 events, although visitors had traffic and parking complaints.

The NFL Experience is being held at the George R. Brown Convention Center. Andre Jacob, who drove in from the Woodlands Saturday, was pleased to see the convention center being put to use.

"Having it at the George R. Brown is really good because I think it goes underused," he said.

He said he is pleasantly surprised so far by the setup after being let down when Houston hosted the game in 2004.

"There was so much confusion," Jacob said. "It just wasn't prepared to have the Super Bowl. This time, just today, it looks like they've got it down."

Last time many visitors were thrown off by the multiple venues and poor communication, he said.

"You gotta do better than that."

Jacob said he's hopeful this year because much seems to have improved. From the eye-pleasing setups downtown, to the coordination and communication with visitors.

"If I had to give them a grade, I would give them an A+ right now," Jacob said. "And I am really hard on Houston."

Many others are enjoying the events downtown, but the process of getting to the venues and parking can be problematic.

"Everything is really nice. Houston, everybody did a good job," she said.

Quits Maxie, from Houston, is a diehard Patriots fan. She is thrilled her favorite team is coming to her hometown. Although, making her way to the celebrations downtown was not an easy task.

"Unfortunately, (a lot of) traffic. So, if you don't know your way, Uber," Maxie said.

Streets around the convention center are blocked. Kevin Tucker found an effective shortcut by ditching his car and grabbing his bike.

"I had no idea it would be this crowded already," Tucker said.

Many others, like Pete Coffin from Livingston, are accepting that traffic and a lot of walking are inevitable parts of the festivities.

"We probably walked six or seven blocks," Coffin said. "That's not bad. It's not going to hurt anybody to walk."

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Super Bowl 51NFLHouston
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