TAMPA — Don’t tell the 1979 Rams that the Super Bowl has never had a hometown team.
When they beat the Bucs 9-0 in the NFC Championship Game at the old Tampa Stadium on Jan. 6, 1980, the Rams flew home to Los Angeles and never left again. Super Bowl XIV was played at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, which is roughly 12 miles from what was then the Rams home at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
Five years later, the 49ers won Super Bowl XIX at Stanford Stadium in Palo Alto, which was about 30 miles from Candlestick Park.
So there’s the official record that says a hometown team has never played in a Super Bowl, and then there’s the reality that tells a slightly different story.
What is indisputable is that teams have rarely performed well in the same season their stadiums were serving as Super Bowl hosts. In the past 30 years, only six teams have even made the playoffs with the Super Bowl in their backyard.
Tampa Bay was one of those six, earning a wild card in 2000 but losing to the Eagles in the first weekend of the playoffs.
The only team that has ever really, truly, no-strings-attached almost played a Super Bowl at home was Minnesota in 2017. The Vikings were one victory from hosting themselves in the Super Bowl but were blown out by the Eagles in the NFC Championship Game.
John Romano can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @romano_tbtimes.