If the 2017 NFL playoffs started today, the Minnesota Vikings would be the top seed in the NFC. And if that were the case, the Vikings wouldn’t have to leave Minneapolis again, even if they were to run the table in the postseason.
That’s because the Vikes, who rank behind only the New England Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers and Philadelphia Eagles when it comes to Super Bowl odds in Las Vegas, happen to play in U.S. Bank Stadium, which will host Super Bowl LII on February 4.
Considering that they’re right in the thick of things and haven’t lost since Week 3, the Vikings have a real shot at becoming the first team ever to play in a Super Bowl in their home venue.
Back in 1980, the Los Angeles Rams played the Pittsburgh Steelers in Southern California in Super Bowl XIV, but that game took place at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, not the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, where the Rams called home.
And in 1985, the San Francisco 49ers beat the Miami Dolphins in the Bay Area in Super Bowl XIX, but that game took place at Stanford Stadium, not the 49ers’ home field of Candlestick Park.
Teams have made the playoffs in years in which the Super Bowl was played in their home stadium on seven occasions, but…
- The Houston Texans won a wild-card game but lost in the divisional round in 2016.
- The Arizona Cardinals lost in the wild-card round in 2014.
- The Tampa Bay Buccaneers lost in the wild-card round in 2000.
- The Miami Dolphins won a wild-card game but lost in the divisional round in 1998.
- The Dolphins won a wild-card game but lost in the divisional round in 1994.
- The Dolphins lost in the wild-card round in 1978.
- The Dolphins lost in the wild-card round in 1970.
In recent years, a lot of good teams have happened to have bad years when hosting the Super Bowl. Everything hit the fan for the Colts the one year it was in Indianapolis, and teams like the 49ers, Giants, Cards and Saints just barely missed out.
Super Bowl “hosts” have won just three playoff games and have never even reached the conference championship round. But this year, the Vikings have a really good chance to end that drought.