How is the Super Bowl home team and road team selected?
Every Super Bowl is played at a predetermined neutral location. It is only a coincidence that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers got to play in front of their home crowd in 2021 and that the Los Angeles Rams stayed at home in L.A. last year. Those sites were designated long before it was known that those teams would be participating.
So how are the Super Bowl home and road teams decided? And does it even matter? Let’s take a look.
How is the home team chosen at the Super Bowl?
Nothing is complicated about the way home and road teams are determined for the Super Bowl. It simply alternates between the AFC and NFC. The AFC champion Cincinnati Bengals were the home team in Super Bowl LVI last February, so whoever wins the NFC will be the home team in Super Bowl LVII at the end of this season. This dates all the way back to Super Bowl I, in which the Green Bay Packers were the designated home team. The NFC has always been home for odd-numbered Super Bowls, while the AFC is home for even-numbered Super Bowls.
What benefit is there to being the home team at the Super Bowl?
There is no obvious benefit to being the home or road team in a Super Bowl in terms of factoring into the overall outcome of the game. There are, however, a couple of home/road items to note. The home team gets to choose its uniform color for the Super Bowl. The hosts can decide if they want to wear their home color scheme or away color scheme. The road team then has to wear the opposite scheme from whatever its opponent chooses. Meanwhile, the road team gets to call either heads or tails at the pregame coin toss.
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Has a team ever had home-field advantage in the Super Bowl?
In the first 54 Super Bowls, not a single team played at home. The first time it ever happened was in February of 2021, when the Buccaneers played – and won – Super Bowl LV in the friendly confines of Raymond James Stadium. They beat the Kansas City Chiefs 31-9. Amazingly enough, a Super Bowl home-field advantage then happened in back-to-back years after previously never occurring in 54 years. In February of 2022, the Rams played in Los Angeles against the Cincinnati Bengals. That did not change the home and road distinction, of course, as Cincinnati was still the home team since it was the AFC’s turn. The Bengals normally would have used the home locker room at SoFi Stadium, but because of the rare circumstances the Rams occupied their normal locker room that they use for every other home game and the Bengals used the visitors lock room – or technically that of the Los Angeles Chargers, who share SoFi Stadium with the Rams. The Rams beat the Bengals 23-20 last year.
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