How Is the Home Team Decided for the Super Bowl? Here’s a Look at the Process

The Kansas City Chiefs will walk out of the home locker rooms on Sunday. Here's why the current Super Bowl format allows them to be "home" at Allegiant Stadium.

The Super Bowl is one of the only world championship stages where the designated home team isn’t guaranteed to have a better record than the “visitor.”

Sometimes, the “home” representative is the one with the lesser winning record. Why is that? It’s time to explain the real format in determining who gets the home locker room and who can say they have home-field advantage for the big game.

Origins of Super Bowl Home/Away Process

The NFL prefers an alternating format.

In one game, the NFC becomes the home rep. The following year, the AFC team gets the home designation. And the process rotates each game.

This has long been the format for the Super Bowl since the first-ever contest between the Green Bay Packers and Kansas City Chiefs. But for a deeper description, the league goes with this process:

  • Odd number Super Bowls: The NFC gets dibs on being the home team.
  • Even number Super Bowls: The AFC gets to call themselves home.

Last season, the Philadelphia Eagles wore their home green since it was Super Bowl 57 — an odd number big game that allowed them to feel like this was a game at their Lincoln Financial Stadium.

But this time, given it’s the 58th Super Bowl, the Chiefs get the distinction of being “home” at Allegiant Stadium. It’s now the second time since the 2019 season KC has worn their uniforms normally seen at Arrowhead Stadium.

What Are the Rules Involving Home Uniforms?

White isn’t exactly off-limits for the designated home teams.

The home representative has the first say in which uniform design and colors they’ll wear on game day, often decided by a player vote. Home teams can opt to wear their road white uniforms if they want.

This occurred during the New England Patriots’ dynasty of the 2000s. Ahead of Super Bowl 52, and with the Pats as the home team, they chose to wear their white uniforms.

But it’s not just the Pats who chose to go with a road-warrior look. It really began in the 2005 season.

The Pittsburgh Steelers were set to be the home rep ahead of Super Bowl 40. The franchise, though, decided to roll with the white top due to the fact they won all of their playoff games on the road. That decision ultimately led to their 21-10 win over the Seattle Seahawks.

The Denver Broncos, in the 2015 season, were another AFC team that chose to roll with a white look. Before facing the Carolina Panthers, Denver went with white uniforms for the top and pants.

The last two AFC champions, the Cincinnati Bengals (Super Bowl 56) and Chiefs, have gone back to the classic home look for their even-numbered Super Bowl appearances.

Perhaps this game-day attire can serve as a good omen for KC. The Chiefs have only lost one SB wearing the red, which was Super Bowl 55 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers when Tampa was the home team. Of their five Super Bowl appearances, KC owns a 2-1 overall record rocking red.

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