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First, let’s just be honest: we’re sad the Falcons didn’t #RiseUp to win Sunday’s big game. But at least we’ve got leftover guacamole to ease our sorrows, and the fact that with Houston playing host and Atlanta on the field, Super Bowl 51 drew some exciting attention to the South. Last week, #FalconsFriday was celebrated in Atlanta and beyond (including the corporate headquarters of UPS and even on The View), and the game brought light to Houston’s Discovery Green, a $625 million downtown development and revitalization. Plus, several Southern companies played an important part in the game – from funny commercials to behind-the-scenes logistics. Here are eight who deserve their own championship ring:

  1. Atlanta-based SweetWater Brewing Company made a friendly bet with Boston-based Samuel Adams ahead of Sunday’s game. The wager played out with some friendly Twitter banter and if SweetWater follows through, they’ll be naming a new brew after the Patriots.
  2. Rebecca Creek, a San Antonio, Texas-based distillery, was tapped as the official whiskey of the big game, creating a specialty Super Bowl “Rebecca Mule” for fans in Houston.
  3. Atlanta-based Concepts Sport is the NFL’s licensed loungewear producer (because everyone needs to rep their team on some flannel pajamas, right?). Their team of 40 in Georgia and 200 in a Tennessee production facility is tasked with creating some comfortably commemorative Patriots gear — despite obvious allegiance to the Falcons.
  4. If you loved Lady Gaga’s halftime performance, you’ll want to thank Nashville-based Glow Motion. The company develops wearable and programmable LED technology, including the brightly lit torches held by fans on the field during Gaga’s show.
  5. South Florida-based It’s A 10 aired its first-ever Super Bowl ad on Sunday, poking fun at “four years of bad hair.” The hair care brand was founded by a former stylist and is based outside of Miami.
  6. Michelin also aired its first-ever Super Bowl commercial, which was filmed in three locations around the world. The $10 billion tire giant has its US headquarters in Greenville, South Carolina and a manufacturing facility in Alabama.
  7. Washington, DC-based security company Vidsys was tasked with helping the City of Houston keep fans safe during Sunday’s game. The software platform centralizes data from security sources like cameras and sensors and allows police departments, fire departments, and venue personnel to collaboratively monitor safety.
  8. The founders of Leesburg, Virginia-based Windpact were at the Super Bowl thanks to a recent startup competition. The startup, founded by a former NFL player, recently won $50K from the league to support development of the Crash Cloud, which uses “air and foam to absorb and disperse impact energy.” Their winnings also included two tickets to Sunday’s market research…er, game.

Are there others we might have missed? Let us know in the comments below or share with us on Twitter!

Photo credit: Technical.ly