When this question was first posed, no team whose home stadium is hosting the Super Bowl had ever made it to the Super Bowl. My question is, which team has come the closest? (Closest in this case means how far they got in the playoffs.) Some Wikipedia trawling led me to the 1978 Super Bowl, played in Miami. The Dolphins made the playoffs that year, but they lost in the first round. Has any team ever gotten closer?
For the first 54 Super Bowls, it was true that teams had never played the game in their home stadiums. Then it happened two years in a row:
- The Tampa Bay Buccaneers became the first team to play in a Super Bowl in their home stadium for Super Bowl LV during the 2020-21 season.
- The Los Angeles Rams played at home for Super Bowl LVI in the 2021-22 season.
Both of those teams won their home Super Bowl.
Before that, teams entering the playoffs in a year that its stadium was hosting the Super Bowl were:
- Super Bowl V (1970-71) in Miami: Dolphins lost first round. (2 games away)
- Super Bowl XIII (1978-79) in Miami: Dolphins lost first round. (3 games away)
- Super Bowl XXIX (1994-95) in Miami: Dolphins lost second round (2 games away)
- Super Bowl XXXIII (1998-99) in Miami: Dolphins lost second round (2 games away)
- Super Bowl XXXV (2000-01) in Tampa Bay: Buccaneers lost first round (3 games away)
- Super Bowl XLIX (2014-15) in Arizona: Cardinals lost first round (3 games away)
- Super Bowl LI (2016-17) in Houston: Texans lost second round (2 games away)
- Super Bowl LII (2017-18) in Minnesota: Vikings lost NFC championship (1 game away)
If we say that a home Super Bowl would be one that takes place in the same metro area as a team, then two other teams have had a home Super Bowl: