Everybody knows that no team has ever played a Super Bowl at their home stadium. (Everybody does know that, right?) We got pretty close last year in the Bold North with the Minnesota Vikings, but they fell a bit short in the NFC Championship when they were beaten by the soon-to-be Super Bowl champs, the Philadelphia Eagles.
But why does this keep happening? Is there an actual curse that befalls the host city’s team? And what chance do the Atlanta Falcons have of making it to the 2019 Super Bowl?
The History of Home Teams (Not) Playing in the Super Bowl
It’s a thing, all right. The historical stats show that from 1966 through 2011, the Super Bowl host team has performed terribly in the regular season. Only 11 of them had winning seasons, 4 had split seasons, and a whopping 25 teams had losing seasons the year they hosted a Super Bowl. (FYI, the mathematical odds of that happening are only about 7.69%.) Only eight host city teams have ever even made it to playoffs! It’s known as a sort of curse in the NFL… the Home Field Advantage Curse.
That’s why the Vikings’ run last season was so impressive. They came the closest any team has ever come to playing a Super Bowl game in their home stadium. Any host team that’s made the playoffs has ended up losing at or before the divisional round… until the Vikings. They actually got a first-round bye and won the divisional game against the Saints. We waited with bated breath along with thousands of other Vikings fans, but alas, the curse remains unbroken.
There were a couple of times that teams technically played a Super Bowl in their “home” region, but the big game wasn’t scheduled for their home stadium that year. Unfortunately for the 49ers and the Rams, they made it all the way to the Super Bowl, but then had to play in a nearby stadium. The 49ers played Super Bowl XIX at Stanford Stadium, 30 miles away from their home Candlestick Park. The Rams had to play at the Rose Bowl, 14 miles away from their own LA Coliseum.
But even in recent years, we’ve seen more effects of this curse, er, phenomenon. When Indianapolis was set to host the 2012 Super Bowl, the Colts were supposed to be excellent… until Peyton Manning missed the whole season with a neck injury. Then in 2013, the Saints were fresh off a 13-3 season and ready to host in New Orleans… then the bounty scandal broke and they failed to make the playoffs that year. Weird stuff like this happened to the Bucs, Cowboys, and Dolphins too. They all had solid records the season before their city hosted the Super Bowl, only to miss the playoffs when it actually rolled into town.
Odds of the Falcons Making the Super Bowl in Atlanta
The Falcons have that shiny new stadium and, well, a decent team this season. What are the odds that they can make it to the main event on February 3rd next year? Could they be the ones to break the curse?
According to some, the Falcons are expected to be a top-five defense this year. Although they did just lose a preseason game to the Jets (but that doesn’t mean the curse has already started… does it?).
Just after Super Bowl 52 last year, the oddsmakers were happy to release the new odds on which teams would make next year’s big game. As you can see, the Falcons did not rank super high on that list, but they did tie for tenth place:
|New England Patriots||+350|
|Green Bay Packers||+800|
|Los Angeles Rams||+1750|
|San Francisco 49ers||+1800|
|New Orleans Saints||+1850|
It certainly depends who you ask though, as the Atlanta Journal-Constitution released a super optimistic article just a couple of days later entitled, “Falcons among early favorites for 2019 Super Bowl in Atlanta.” They claimed that the 20 to 1 odds (contemplated by OddsShark just before the Eagles and Patriots played in February) were pretty damn good.
Since then, these Super Bowl odds have been updated – on August 17th, to be specific – but while a few other teams have moved around in the rankings, the Falcons remain in the same spot, tied for tenth.
|New England Patriots||+650|
|Los Angeles Rams||+850|
|Green Bay Packers||+1100|
|New Orleans Saints||+1600|
However, according to some recent articles and oddsmakers, the Falcons’ odds for not just making it, but winning Super Bowl 53 are now at 16 to 1… which isn’t bad, ya know, if you’re the gambling type.