Carpiniello: Giants, Jets continue Super Bowl home hex

Carpiniello: Giants, Jets continue Super Bowl home hex

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Carpiniello: Giants, Jets continue Super Bowl home hex

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We all know the story about Giants general manager Jerry Reese putting a Super Bowl countdown clock in MetLife Stadium as incentive for his team to reach the title game in its own building.

Well, even before the Giants started 0-3, 0-4 … 0-6, that was wishful thinking.

Host teams and Super Bowls don’t mix. In fact, MetLife’s co-tenant, the Jets, came a lot closer than the Giants. And, since the Super Bowl rotates the designation of “home team,” this is an AFC year, so the Jets could have actually been a home team, while the Giants, at best, would have been “visitors,” for what that’s worth.

It’s not worth much now. It never has been. No team in the XLVIII-year history of the Super Bowl has won the Vince Lombardi Trophy on its home turf. None has even gotten there.

The nearest came in January 1985, in XIX, when the San Francisco 49ers dynasty won the Super Bowl at Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif., a 37-minute ride south. Five years earlier, the Los Angeles Rams reached Super Bowl XIV at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, just 24 minutes up the road, but lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers, 31-19.

So why hasn’t it happened? Well, the law of probability has a lot to do with it. Getting to the Super Bowl has become, at best, a crapshoot in any year.

Since the wild-card system was implemented in the 1970 season, 10 wild-card teams have reached the Super Bowl (Kansas City won Super Bowl IV as a second-place team coming out of the AFL, but wasn’t considered a wild card). Six wild cards have won the Lombardi Trophy, including the Giants in XLII and most recently Green Bay in XLV following the 2010 season.

We’ve seen teams go from first to worst, and vice versa, in a single season. Getting there is never guaranteed, not even for the best team in the league in any given year. So the chances that a team will reach the title game in that particular season in which it hosts are astronomical.

Then there’s the virtually impossible, based on the best teams rarely or never having the opportunity to host, especially the cold-weather teams.

Consider the franchises that have played in the most Super Bowls: Pittsburgh (eight), Dallas (eight), New England (seven), San Francisco (six), Denver (six), Green Bay (five), the Giants (five), the Raiders (five), Miami (five), Washington (five), Buffalo (four), the Colts (four) and Minnesota (four).

Well, Pittsburgh, New England, San Francisco, Denver, Green Bay, the Giants, Washington and Buffalo have never hosted. Dallas has hosted one, Indianapolis one and Minnesota one. Other Super Bowl sites (such as Pasadena and Palo Alto) don’t house NFL teams.

There have been close calls, sort of. When the Giants won Super Bowl XLVI at Lucas Oil Stadium, Eli Manning won the MVP in brother Peyton’s house. Could Peyton possibly win one on Eli’s home turf in February?

The Arizona Cardinals hosted the Giants’ Super Bowl win in February 2008, then reached the Super Bowl themselves the following year — in Tampa, Fla.

People thought the Cowboys might have a shot at playing and hosting in Jerry Jones’ palace in northern Texas in 2011, but the Cowboys were thumped by Minnesota in the divisional round. Likewise, maybe the New Orleans Saints — who have hosted the most Super Bowls in their Superdome (10) — might have had a shot last season if not for Bountygate.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers reached the final four the year before they hosted Super Bowl XXXV, then won the Lombardi Trophy two seasons later in San Diego.

The 1976 L.A. Rams were in the final four, one win away from the first of the Pasadena Super Bowls. That one was won by a team from northern California, the Oakland Raiders, who would eventually move to Los Angeles … then back to Oakland.

So, Reese’s clock notwithstanding, there won’t be a real home team playing Feb. 2 in East Rutherford, N.J. — and Peyton Manning or Tom Brady will dress in the home locker room that day.

The odds say it may never happen. The next three teams to have a shot at bucking those odds, and the next three general managers to have the opportunity to try the clock trick: Arizona in 2015, the 49ers (in their new stadium) in 2016 and the Houston Texans in 2017.

Just don’t bet on it.

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