When the Atlanta Falcons finished the season 7-9 and out of the playoff picture, we were assured the Super Bowl curse for the host city will not be broken in 2019. Atlanta had a chance to become the first team to play in the Super Bowl the year they were selected to host the big game. It wasn’t unreasonable to think the Falcons could break the curse, as they had just played in the Super Bowl two years ago.
Unless something crazy happens in the offseason, it’s unlikely next year’s host will have any better luck. That’s because the Miami Dolphins will be hosting it and chances are they won’t even win their own division.
The Tampa Bay Bucs will get the next crack in 2021, which seems like a long-shot, but you never know. The best chances might be in 2022 when the Los Angeles stadium will host, giving us two chances with the Rams and Chargers.
What’s bizzarre is that there have only been 5 teams hosting the Super Bowl that have simply made the playoffs that same season. The list includes the Dolphins (1998) Bucs (2000), Cardinals (2014), Texans (2016) and Vikings (2017).
Super Bowl Curse: Sites at Non-NFL Venues & Two Close Calls
Minnesota gave it their best shot a couple years ago. The Vikings were just one win away from putting this thing to rest. While they ultimately came up short (lost 38-7 in NFC Championship), they did make some history. The Vikings were the first host team to earn a first round-bye (only second to win their division). They were also the first to play in their conference championship game.
There have been a couple instances where the game was played in a stadium that no NFL team called home. The Rose Bowl was used five times from 1977 to 1993 and Stanford Stadium hosted in 1985.
It just so happens that two other close calls came at these two venues. In Super Bowl XIV at the Rose Bowl, the Los Angeles Rams took on the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Rose Bowl was just a little over 14 miles from LA Memorial Coliseum. The other instance where this took place was Super Bowl XIX. The San Francisco 49ers and Miami Dolphins faced off at Stanford Stadium. The 49ers’ Candlestick Park was roughly 30 miles from Stanford Stadium.
You could also throw in throw in the 1974 Super Bowl at Rice Stadium in the mix. The Houston Oilers had previously called this stadium their home. However, they moved to the Astrodome several years prior to Rice Stadium serving as the host.
From Good to Bad: Struggles of Teams During Year Scheduled to Host Super Bowl
What’s really been amazing is the difference in the records of the host teams the prior year compared to the season they are hosting the Super Bowl. Over the last 26 years the overall record of NFL teams who are set to host the Super the next season is 243-205 (54.2%). The very next year these same teams have gone a miserable 198-250 (44.2%).
Here are some recent examples of this whacky trend. The 2013 Super Bowl was played at the Superdome in New Orleans. The Saints were coming off a 13-3 campaign and many thought this curse would be put to rest. Next thing you know the Bounty scandal is announced and New Orleans goes 7-9 and fails to make the playoffs.
In 2012 the Indianapolis Colts were set to host the Super Bowl. This team figured to be in the mix, as Peyton Manning was in his prime. That was until Manning missed the entire season with a neck injury. The Colts wound up finishing with a record of 2-14. It was the fourth time that the host team ended up with the worst record in the league.
It doesn’t stop with the Saints and Colts. There was plenty of hype surrounding the Cowboys heading into the 2010 regular season. Dallas was coming off a playoff appearance and 11-5 record in 2009. The Cowboys unexpectedly opened 1-7 and would never recover.
The prior year the Dolphins suffered a similar fate. Miami went 11-5 and made the playoffs in 2008, only to go 7-9 when the SB was coming to town. You also can’t forget about Jon Gruden’s last year with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Tampa Bay made the playoffs in 2007 with a 9-7 record. They finished with the same record and miss out on the postseason the next year.
The curse has been especially painful for the Chargers. In the three seasons where they were set to host, they compiled a record of 20-29. However, that’s not the part that sticks out to Chargers’ fans. The team to represent the AFC those 3 years were all division rivals. Maybe the move to Los Angeles will help turn things around.
On the bright side of this curse is that it does benefit the host city when their team doesn’t make the Super Bowl. Having fans from two different teams travel to the game, provides a much bigger bump to the economy.
List of Upcoming Super Bowl Venues/Teams
|2020||Hard Rock Stadium||Dolphins|
|2021||Raymond James Stadium||Buccaneers|
|2022||LA Stadium at Hollywood Park||Rams/Chargers|
|2023||State Farm Stadium||Cardinals|