Home field advantage in the Super Bowl isn’t as complicated as you might think. While some people seem to be under the impression that the team with the better record is awarded home field advantage, it’s actually something that’s predetermined: each year, the AFC and the NFC take turns.
At Super Bowl LIV in 2020, the Kansas City Chiefs had home field advantage as it was the AFC’s year. This year, at Super Bowl LV in Tampa, Florida, the NFC Tampa Bay Buccaneers have home field advantage.
This is the first year in NFL history that the host team will be among the two teams playing in the Super Bowl. Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady will also be making history, going for his seventh Super Bowl win; he already holds the record for most Super Bowls won by a quarterback.
Here’s what you need to know:
The Home Field Advantage Will Give Tampa Bay the Coin Toss Call & the Bucs Were Able to Choose Which Jersey the Players Would Wear
Having home field advantage in the Super Bowl has a few perks. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will get to choose heads or tails during the coin toss before the start of the game. In typical Tom Brady fashion, the team is expected to defer if they win the toss.
Another advantage for the home team is that it is able to choose which jersey its players will wear during the game. This year, the Bucs have chosen their white jersey, which is traditionally worn on the road.
Brady has won four of his six Super Bowls wearing a white jersey. Similarly, the Bucs have done well wearing white; they went 5-0 in white tops this season. Two of those wins were in the post-season against the New Orleans Saints and the Green Bay Packers.
In comparison, the Chiefs seem to do better wearing red jerseys, so this may have been a good decision for them as well. That is, of course, if you believe in this sort of thing. This season they went 7-2 wearing red tops. In both of the franchise’s Super Bowl wins — 1970 and 2020 — the team was in red.
Meanwhile, the field will remain neutral with each team being represented in one end zone. The center of the field will be decorated with the Super Bowl LV logo.
The Previous Super Bowl Home Field Curse Has Effectively Been Broken
Effective on January 24, 2021, the Super Bowl home field curse was broken — the moment the Bucs punched their ticket to the Super Bowl by defeating the Green Bay Packers. The SB curse has been around as long as the big game has been played; no team has ever made it to the Super Bowl when it has served as the host team.
The curse goes a bit further than simply not making the Super Bowl. History shows that several teams, whose home stadium was chosen as the site for the big game, had terrible seasons.
The trend has some fairly recent examples. The New Orleans Saints went 7-9 and missed the playoffs during the 2012 season, with Super Bowl XLVII scheduled to be contested at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The year prior, the Indianapolis Colts were set to host the Super Bowl XLVI at Lucas Oil Stadium; Hall-of-Fame QB Peyton Manning missed the entire 2011 campaign with a neck injury and his Colts went 2-14. The Dallas Cowboys started the 2010 season with a 1-7 record (finishing 6-10) when Super Bowl XLV was scheduled for their home turf. The year prior, the Miami Dolphins went 7-9 and failed to make the playoffs, with Super Bowl XLIV scheduled at Sun Life Stadium.
The Bucs have fallen victim to the curse as well; despite finishing the 2008 season with a 9-7 winning record, the team failed to make the playoffs and lost out on the chance to break the curse a dozen years ahead of time with Super Bowl XLIII contested at Raymond James Stadium.
Although there may be a new curse born on Sunday — if the Bucs don’t win, then no team who has played in the Super Bowl at their home stadium has ever won — Tom Brady seems pretty excited about playing at home.
“I’m happy I’m in my own bed. I’m happy I’m eating good stuff at home. I’m happy I had extra time to prepare. I don’t have to travel, don’t have to pack my clothes, pack up all my other crap. It’s our own locker room, our own practice field. In the end, there’s some real positives to take from it,” Brady told the media this week.