Throughout modern NFL history, teams scheduled to host the Super Bowl have fantasized about playing for the title in their home stadium. To this day, that has remained a fantasy.
In the seasons where a Super Bowl was played in an NFL stadium, the host team made the playoffs nine times. Conversely, a team with an opportunity for the ultimate home-field advantage finished last in the conference five times, with three of those teams being the worst in the league.
The Buccaneers reversed that drought, advancing to Super Bowl LV after the 2020 season.
Through the 2019 season, there were two instances where a Super Bowl participant played within their home territory, but not in their home stadium: the 49ers won Super Bowl XIX and the Rams lost Super Bowl XIV. Since the 1992 season, the NFL has only allowed NFL stadiums in the host bidding process, which took the Los Angeles area out of the mix from 1995 to 2015 (the game will return to L.A. next season).
The 2017 season was the first to present a real logistical issue for preparing the Super Bowl site, as the Vikings hosted a Divisional Playoff game just three weeks prior. This was the latest in the postseason that there was a host team with a home playoff game, although there were some instances where a Conference Championship home game was possible had earlier results happened differently.
The 2017 Vikings and the 2020 Buccaneers have been the only teams to advance to the Conference Championship round in the years their stadium was the Super Bowl host.
Performance of Super Bowl host teams
For each home team, their regular season record is shown as well as their conference seed after tiebreakers that were in effect that season. Before the 1970 merger, division standings are the only applicable seeding. From 1970-74, home games in the playoffs were determined by rotation, so the conference seeding at that time was irrelevant except for the 4 seed which determined the wild card team.
@ Away playoff game, home playoff game. For ease of comparison, the number of weeks remaining in the season are shown when a team was eliminated from playoff contention. When a zero is shown, the host team was mathematically alive in the final week of the season, but missed the playoffs.
When the NFL had to prepare for a possible Conference Championship game at the Super Bowl stadium, those circumstances are noted. For a stadium that changed names, superscript letters link the stadium names.
|Season||SB||Stadium||Home team||Record||Conf seed||Eliminated||Notes|
|2020||LV||Raymond James Stadium||Buccaneers||11-5||5||WON SB||TB played all playoff games on the road (CC host was possible after WC). Playoffs expanded to 7 seed, all but 1 seed play Wild Card round|
|2019||LIV||Hard Rock Stadium[a]||Dolphins||5-11||15||-3|
|2017||LIII||U.S. Bank Stadium||Vikings||13-3||2||NFCCG @||DIV (latest home game at any SB site)|
|2016||LI||NRG Stadium[c]||Texans||9-7||4||DIV@||WC (not possible to host CC with 6 seed loss)|
|2014||XLIX||University of Phoenix Stadium||Cardinals||11-5||5||WC @||(5 seed could host CC if division winners all lose)|
|2011||XLVI||Lucas Oil Stadium||Colts||2-14||16||-5||#32 overall|
|2009||XLIV||Sun Life Stadium||Dolphins||7-9||11||0|
|2008||XLIII||Raymond James Stadium||Buccaneers||9-7||7||0|
|2007||XLII||University of Phoenix Stadium||Cardinals||8-8||9||-2|
|2002||XXXVII||Qualcomm Stadium[d]||Chargers||8-8||11||0||Realignment: seeds 1-4 are division champions, 5-6 wild card qualifiers, all except 1-2 play Wild Card round|
|2000||XXXV||Raymond James Stadium||Buccaneers||10-6||5||WC @||(5 seed could host CC if division winners all lose)|
|1999||XXXIV||Georgia Dome||Falcons||5-11||10||-3||Defending NFC champion|
|1998||XXXIII||Pro Player Stadium[a]||Dolphins||10-6||4||DIV @||WC (not possible to host CC with 6 seed loss)|
|1996||XXXI||Louisiana Superdome[b]||Saints||3-13||15 (last)||-4|
|1995||XXX||Sun Devil Stadium||Cardinals||4-12||15 (last)||-3|
|1994||XXIX||Joe Robbie Stadium[a]||Dolphins||10-6||3||DIV @||(CC possible host)|
|1990||XXV||Tampa Stadium||Buccaneers||6-10||8||-1||Four-way tiebreaker for 2nd-5th in NFC Central; playoffs expanded to 6 seed|
|1988||XXIII||Joe Robbie Stadium[a]||Dolphins||6-10||11||-2|
|1987||XXII||Jack Murphy Stadium[d]||Chargers||8-7||8||0||8-1 after 9 games|
|1985||XX||Louisiana Superdome[b]||Saints||5-11||12||-2||Bum Phillips retired 5 games before end of season, with son Wade taking over as interim coach|
|1983||XVIII||Tampa Stadium||Buccaneers||2-14||14 (last)||-5||#28 overall|
|1980||XV||Louisiana Superdome[b]||Saints||1-15||14 (last)||-6||#28 overall|
|1978||XIII||Orange Bowl||Dolphins||11-5||4||WC||Lost AFC East on tiebreaker; playoffs expanded to 5 seed, first year of Wild Card round (CC host not possible)|
|1975||X||Orange Bowl||Dolphins||10-4||5||0||Lost AFC East on tiebreaker|
|1970||V||Orange Bowl||Dolphins||10-4||4||DIV @||Because of rotation system, could not host playoff game|
Super Bowls with no home team
These Super Bowls were played in stadiums that were not used by an NFL team during the regular season. The list below includes stadiums that were within the home territory of a team or teams. In the case when the San Francisco 49ers played in Palo Alto, Calif., there was about a 30-mile separation by road, which is a shorter distance from San Francisco proper than the 49ers’ current stadium in Santa Clara.
|Season||SB||Stadium||Nearby team||Record||Conf seed||Eliminated||Notes|
|1984||XIX||Stanford Stadium||49ers||15-1||1||WON SB|
|1982||XVII||Rose Bowl||Raiders||8-1||1||DIV||9-week strike-shortened season; Rams were still mathematically alive at 1-7|
|1979||XIV||Rose Bowl||Rams||9-7||3||LOST SB|
|1973||VIII||Rice Stadium||Oilers||1-13||13 (last)||-4||#26 overall|
Image: Ben Liebenberg/NFL