Tom Brady and the Buccaneers could make NFL history this year if they can somehow find a way to win their next two games. If that happens, the Buccaneers would become the first team ever to play a Super Bowl in their home stadium.
The Super Bowl has existed for 54 years and in that time, no team has ever gotten to play the game in their home stadium. The fact that the Buccaneers are even in the divisional round is something that almost never happens. You can call it a Super Bowl hosting jinx or just bad luck, but teams almost never make the playoffs in a season where they’re hosting the Super Bowl. Including the Buccaneers, there have only been nine instances in NFL history where a team made the playoffs in a season where their stadium was hosting the Super Bowl.
Of the host teams that made the postseason — the Dolphins (1970, ’78, ’94, ’98), Buccaneers (2000), Cardinals (2014), Texans (2016), and Vikings (2017) — only one of them has even made it past the divisional round and that’s the Vikings, who beat the Saints to advance to the NFC title game in 2017, where they would lose to the Eagles. The Saints are the same team the Buccaneers will be playing on Sunday.
Including the Vikings, the other Super Bowl hosts went a combined 1-4 in the divisional round and 3-8 overall in the playoffs during the season where the big game was being held at their stadium.
If the Buccaneers are going to end the jinx, not only are they going to have to beat the Saints, but they’re also going to have to win an NFC title game against either the Packers or the Rams. The Bucs actually played both teams during the season: They beat the Packers 38-10 back in Week 6 and lost to the Rams 27-24 in Week 11.
If the Rams beat the Packers, then the NFC title game will be played in Tampa next week, which might put throw a wrench in the NFL’s plans and that’s because the league has already laid down the sod for Super Bowl LV.
Although no team has ever played a Super Bowl in their home stadium, two teams did get to play the Super Bowl in their home market. After spending the season at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, the Rams made it to Super Bowl XIV, which was played at the nearby Rose Bowl. Being close to home didn’t actually help the Rams though, as they lost 31-19 to the Steelers.
The only other team that got to play close to home was the 1984 San Francisco 49ers. In Super Bowl XIX, the 49ers beat the Dolphins 38-16 in a game that was played at Stanford Stadium, which was less than 30 miles away from their old home at Candlestick Park.