Advantage Chiefs – Teams With Multiple Road Playoff Wins Have Edge in Super Bowl

No. 1 seeds dominate the list of Super Bowl participants, but teams that get there by winning on the road have a greater chance of winning it all.

In the 10-season span from 2013-2022, 13 of the 20 Super Bowl participants (65%) were No. 1 seeds.

That shouldn’t come as a huge surprise, given the advantages that come with posting the best record in your conference — a first-round bye and, perhaps more importantly, the right to play two games at home before getting to the Super Bowl.

The San Francisco 49ers continued the trend this year, earning the No. 1 seed in the NFC with a 12-5 record and beating the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions at Levi’s Stadium to reach Super Bowl LVIII in Las Vegas.

Kansas City Chiefs’ Road Wins Earn Super Bowl Edge

But the Kansas City Chiefs, the AFC’s No. 3 seed, have a chance to continue a different trend, one that has been in play for nearly a quarter of a century.

Since 2000, the Chiefs are the 10th team to reach the Super Bowl by winning multiple road playoff games. And seven of the previous nine went on to hoist the Lombardi Trophy.

The most recent team to reach the Super Bowl by winning multiple road games was the Cincinnati Bengals. The franchise had been 0-7 in road playoff games before knocking off the No. 1 seed Tennessee Titans 19-16 in the 2021 Divisional Round and the Chiefs 27-24 in overtime in the AFC Championship Game.

 

But the Bengals lost 23-20 to the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LVI, snapping a streak of six consecutive Super Bowl victories for teams that got there by winning multiple road games.

Here are the other teams to reach the Super Bowl the hard way:

  • 2020 Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Seeded fifth, the Buccaneers won three road games against the Washington Football Team, New Orleans Saints, and Green Bay Packers to get the Super Bowl, where they got to play at home against the Chiefs, winning Super Bowl LV 31-9.
  • 2012 Baltimore Ravens – Baltimore was the No. 4 seed, earning a home Wild Card contest against the Indianapolis Colts before winning on the road against the Denver Broncos and New England Patriots to reach Super Bowl XLVII, where the Ravens beat the 49ers 34-31.
  • 2011 New York Giants – Tom Coughlin’s squad pulled off the feat for the second time in five seasons, albeit with a slightly easier path on the second trip. The Giants beat the Atlanta Falcons at home in the Wild Card Round before winning at Green Bay and San Francisco to reach Super Bowl XLVI, where they prevailed 21-17.

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  • 2010 Green Bay Packers – Green Bay had to go all the way to the strength-of-victory tiebreaker to beat out two other 10-6 teams, the Giants and Buccaneers, for the sixth and final seed. Then the Packers went on the road with victories at Philadelphia, Atlanta, and Chicago to reach Super Bowl XLV, where they beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-25.
  • 2007 New York Giants – Seeded fifth, the Giants beat the Buccaneers, Cowboys, and Packers on the road to earn a rematch with the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII, where they prevailed 17-14.
  • 2005 Pittsburgh Steelers – Pittsburgh finished tied with Cincinnati in the AFC North, but the Bengals won the division on a tiebreaker, and the Steelers dropped all the way to the No. 6 seed. And their road began with a win in Cincinnati in the infamous Carson Palmer ACL game, followed by triumphs at Indianapolis and Denver to reach Super Bowl XL, where they beat the Seattle Seahawks 21-10.
  • 2003 Carolina Panthers – Carolina beat Dallas at home before winning at St. Louis and Philadelphia to reach Super Bowl XXXVIII, where they lost to the Patriots 32-29 on a field goal with four seconds remaining.
  • 2000 Baltimore Ravens – Known as one of the most dominant defenses in league history, Baltimore got into the playoffs as a Wild Card, but the previous setup allowed the Ravens to play their first playoff game at home. After beating Denver, Baltimore won at Tennessee and Oakland to reach Super Bowl XXXV, where the Ravens crushed the Giants 31-7.

Any team that reaches the Super Bowl does so riding momentum, but there is something to be said for the extra bonding and confidence that comes from going on the road and beating really good teams in back-to-back weeks. Sometimes back-to-back-to-back weeks.

The Chiefs did in different ways this season, falling behind four different times against the Buffalo Bills in the Division Round, then scoring on their opening drive in the AFC Championship Game and holding the lead the rest of the way.

Four of the previous nine teams to win the Super Bowl after scoring multiple road playoff wins simply continued the excellence away from home they had demonstrated during the regular season, winning at least six road games.

The 2020 Buccaneers, 2005 Steelers, and 2000 Ravens were 6-2 away from home, while the 2007 Giants were 7-1.

This year’s Chiefs team can also join that group after going 6-2 in true road games and 7-2 if you count contests away from Arrowhead Stadium as they beat the Miami Dolphins in Germany.

One of those road wins came at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, the site of Super Bowl LVIII. The Chiefs have never lost in that building, going 4-0 there since the Raiders moved from Oakland to Las Vegas.

As the 2023 NFL season comes to a close, the 2024 NFL Draft is on the horizon. Pro Football Network has you covered with everything from team draft needs to the Top 100 prospects available. Plus, fire up PFN’s Mock Draft Simulator to put yourself in the general manager’s seat and make all the calls!

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