Miami leads the way, having hosted 11 Super Bowls. But is warm weather the only factor that goes into deciding who hosts the Super Bowl?
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Aside from winning the big game, one of the greatest honors for an NFL franchise is the opportunity to host the Super Bowl. But which cities have hosted the most Super Bowls?
The last two years, the honors have gone hand-in-hand (more on this later!). But the NFL determines Super Bowl locations years in advance, giving host cities time to plan and accommodate the thousands of celebrities, dignitaries, and diehards that converge on the biggest single event in pro football each year.
By now, you probably know this year’s Super Bowl will be in Glendale, Arizona on February 12. This is the fourth time the Greater Phoenix area has hosted the big game. But next year (Las Vegas, for the first time) and 2025 (New Orleans, 11th time) are also written in stone.
Clearly, the event receives plenty of planning. But what goes into the decision?
How the NFL Chooses Super Bowl Hosts
NFL cities bid to play host in a specific year, and votes take place approximately three years in advance. It’s a good bet that by this time next year, the hosts of Super Bowls LX and LXI (2026 and 2027) will be known.
While the NFL doesn’t pay teams to host the Super Bowl, they do contend that hosting the Super Bowl can be worth a windfall of up to $500 million for their respective cities.
Once each team has the opportunity to bid, NFL owners vote on the location based on criteria including:
- Stadium Quality/Amenities
- Accommodations for Guests
Weather? Obviously, it’s a consideration, but not as big a factor as you might think. With the popularity of indoor and retractable-roof stadiums, any city has an opportunity to host given the right accommodations.
After all, the game went to Detroit for the first time in 1982 and returned in 2006. Minneapolis hosted in 1992 and again in 2018. Name two NFL cities colder than those two!
(If you said Green Bay, WI, good point – but the fact that Lambeau Field is unprotected from the elements and is the NFL’s oldest stadium is the biggest issue there. A retractable roof and some modern renovations would just about ensure a Super Bowl in the NFL’s most historic stadium).
Indoor Stadiums That Have Hosted Super Bowls
Including this year’s game in Arizona, 21 of the 57 Super Bowls have been played indoors. The Caesars Superdome leads the way with seven Super Bowls hosted.
Indoor venues in the following cities have hosted Super Bowls:
- Houston (Astrodome, Reliant Stadium)
- Atlanta (Georgia Dome, Mercedes-Benz Stadium)
- Dallas (AT&T Stadium),
- Phoenix/Glendale (State Farm Stadium)
- Los Angeles (SoFi Stadium)
- Detroit (Pontiac Silverdome, Ford Field)
- Minneapolis (Metrodome, U.S. Bank Stadium)
- Indianapolis (Lucas Oil Stadium)
The last three cities on that list would’ve been unlikely to host a game without the advantage of a climate-controlled venue. But they’re not the most unlikely venues for a Super Bowl.
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East Rutherford, N.J
A new stadium, when in the right location or built indoors, is a great way to increase the chances of your city hosting a Super Bowl.
But when the Giants and Jets moved into MetLife Stadium, commissioner Roger Goodell waved the (unofficial) requirement that Super Bowls are held in cities with average temperatures above 50 degrees due to the “unique, once-only circumstance based on the opportunity to celebrate the new stadium and the great heritage and history of the NFL in the New York region”.
Super Bowl XLVIII became the first held outdoors in a cold-weather city.
In the end, the weather was no concern. The temperature was 49 degrees at kickoff. If only the game had been as good. The Seattle Seahawks thrashed the Denver Broncos, 43-8.
Super Bowls in New Orleans are synonymous with the Caesars Superdome to today’s fans, but the first three Super Bowls held in the Crescent City took place at Tulane Stadium. This is where the Saints played until the Superdome opened in 1975.
Despite this season’s Cotton Bowl victory, younger fans may be underwhelmed by the idea of Tulane – whose stadium holds only 30,000 fans – hosting a Super Bowl.
However, the old Tulane Stadium held almost 81,000 fans. That’s almost 5,000 more seats than the Superdome!
For years, the NFL wanted to bring the Super Bowl to San Francisco. But the 49ers’ home of Candlestick Park didn’t meet NFL criteria (holding barely 60,000 fans, and repeatedly exposed to harsh winds off the Pacific Ocean.)
As such, Stanford University’s bid to host the game and was approved by owners to host Super Bowl XIX. As luck would have it, the “home” team 49ers defeated the Miami Dolphins, 38-16.
However, because the game was played at Stanford and not Candlestick, the 49ers weren’t recognized as winning the Super Bowl in their home stadium.
It would take another 36 years for that to happen…
Teams Who Won the Super Bowl in their Home Stadiums
In 2017, Tampa was chosen for Super Bowl LV to be held in February 2021. It was long before anyone knew Tom Brady would leave New England and continue his career in the shadow of the pirate ship at Raymond James Stadium.
By the time the game rolled around, however, Brady led the wild-card Buccaneers on a run through the NFC to become the first team to be an unofficial ‘home’ team in the Super Bowl.
As if Brady needed more NFL records to his credit, the Buccaneers would become the first team to win the Super Bowl in their own stadium, defeating the Kansas City Chiefs 31-9.
But just a year later, the Los Angeles Rams would advance to Super Bowl LVI at brand-new SoFi Stadium. Matthew Stafford, Cooper Kupp and friends repeated the Buccaneers’ feat. They edged out the Cincinnati Bengals 23-20 to become the second team ever – and second in two years – to ‘host’ and win a Super Bowl in the same year.
Which City Hosts the Worst Super Bowls?
Outside of the Rams’ and Buccaneers’ wins in their home stadiums, there’s little correlation between the venue and the eventual winner of the Super Bowl.
Cold-weather teams (Pittsburgh, New England, Green Bay) are well-represented historically in terms of Super Bowl victories despite never hosting the game. But San Francisco, Dallas, and New York have all hosted games. And their teams have numerous titles as well.
But can we determine how good a Super Bowl will be by its host city?
When NFL.com ranked the best games after Super Bowl LII (the Nick Foles-led Philadelphia Eagles upsetting the New England Patriots) two of the five worst games in their rankings took place in New Orleans:
Super Bowl 24: The 49ers crushed the Broncos, 55-10. Hard to argue this one as a dud.
Super Bowl 4: Kansas City topped the Vikings, 23-7. This game was played in 1970. So we’ll have to take their word that this game was as one-sided and dull as Gil Brandt remembers.
New Orleans also hosted a 46-10 Chicago Bears drubbing of the Patriots in 1986, and the infamous 2013 “Harbowl” where John Harbaugh’s Baltimore Ravens outlasted younger brother Jim and the 49ers. It was a good game unfortunately remembered for the power outage that caused a delay in the third quarter.
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Which City Hosts the Best Super Bowls?
Miami has an unfair advantage, hosting more Super Bowls than anyone else. But it’s hard to deny the classics!
Super Bowl 3: Even young fans have heard the story of Joe Namath’s guarantee before the New York Jets beat the Baltimore Colts, 16-7.
It was the first Super Bowl win for a former AFL team, and gave the event the legitimacy in sorely needed in the early years.
Super Bowl 13: This one won the NFL.com poll. The Pittsburgh Steelers outslugged the Cowboys, 35-31, in a back-and-forth classic between the two best teams of the 1970s.
Super Bowl 23: Montana-to-Rice was the famed connection of the 1980s, and the duo became immortalized, connecting for over 200 yards as the 49ers beat the Bengals, 20-16.
Super Bowl 44: The Saints and Drew Brees broke New Orleans’ championship drought, overcoming Peyton Manning and the Colts, 31-17.
What about this year? Good news! Phoenix/Glendale has hosted only three Super Bowls, but two of them are among the most memorable of all:
Super Bowl 42: The Helmet Catch is probably the most famous play in Super Bowl history. And David Tyree’s catch on an Eli Manning pass allowed the Giants to ruin the Patriots’ undefeated season in a 17-14 win.
Super Bowl 49: What were Pete Carroll and the Seahawks thinking down at the goal line? No one knows, even eight years later. But Malcolm Butler’s interception allowed the Patriots to avenge their loss to Giants seven years earlier in Arizona, beating Seattle, 28-24.
So if you believe in the connection between host cities and Super Bowl outcomes, get ready for a classic on February 12!
Super Bowl Locations By City
|CITY||NUMBER OF GAMES HOSTED||SUPER BOWLS|
|Miami||11||II, III, V, X, XIII, XXIII, XXIX, XXXIII, XLI, XLIV, LIV|
|New Orleans||10||IV, VI, IX, XII, XV, XX, XXIV, XXXI, XXXVI, XLVII|
|Los Angeles (Metro area, includes Pasadena)||8||I, VII, XI, XIV, XVII, XXI, XXVII, LVI|
|Tampa||5||XVIII, XXV, XXXV, XLIII, LV|
|Phoenix/Glendale||4||XXX, XLII, XLIX, LVII|
|San Diego||3||XXII, XXXII, XXXVII|
|Houston||3||VIII, XXXVIII, LI|
|Atlanta||3||XXVIII, XXXIV, LIII|
|San Francisco (Metro area, includes Palo Alto and Santa Clara)||2||XIX, L|
|New York City (Metro area, includes East Rutherford, NJ)||1||XLVIII|