It's a well known fact that no team whose home stadium is hosting the Super Bowl has 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?
It depends how closely you want to define "home."
If we say that a home Super Bowl would be one that takes place in the same metro area as a team, then two teams have had a home Super Bowl.
- Super Bowl XIV (1979-80) at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California saw the L.A. Rams lose to Pittsburgh.
- Super Bowl XIX (1984-85) was at Stanford Stadium in the San Francisco Bay Area, and in it San Francisco beat Miami.
If you require a home Super Bowl to be one that takes place at the home stadium of the team, then Minnesota has gotten the closest: They lost the conference championship game, only one game away from a home Super Bowl.
A team entering the playoffs in a year that its stadium was hosting the Super Bowl has happened 8 times:
- 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)