Win or lose the Super Bowl, this is one of the most successful seasons in Tampa Bay Buccaneers history.
They last won a title 18 years ago, and last made the playoffs 13 years ago.
They will also make history as the first team to play in the Super Bowl at their home stadium.
Much of this is due to Tom Brady leaving New England for Tampa Bay. But by playing in a Super Bowl they are also hosting, the Bucs have broken a cycle that is just as bad as the infamous “Madden Curse.”
Here’s a look at how teams that have hosted the Super Bowl have fared in the last decade.
2011: Cowboys Stadium (Cowboys; 6-10): The Cowboys had high hopes heading into the 2010-11 season. They went 11-5 the year before and won a playoff game for the first time since 1996, all in the first year of Jerry Jones’ new, state-of-the-art, $1.2 billion stadium. With the Super Bowl coming to Jerry World the following season, the stars were aligned
It was a disaster. The Cowboys started 1-5, Tony Romo broke his clavicle midway through the year and Jones fired head coach Wade Phillips. Dallas finished 6-10 while Aaron Rodgers, Mike McCarthy and the Packers beat the Steelers to win the Super Bowl.
2012: Lucas Oil Stadium (Colts; 2-14): After making the Super Bowl just two years prior, this season was the end of an era. Peyton Manning missed the entire year after neck surgery and never played another game as a Colt.
A Manning still won the Super Bowl in Indianapolis, however, as Eli and the Giants beat Brady’s Patriots for a second time in the big game.
2013: Mercedes-Benz Super Dome (Saints; 7-9): The Saints had won the Super Bowl three years earlier, but the bill came due.
Sean Payton missed the entire year serving a suspension for his involvement in the Saints’ BountyGate scandal. Drew Brees throwing for over 5,000 yards couldn’t save a team which had a bottom-five defense.
2014: MetLife Stadium (Giants; 7-9, Jets; 8-8): This was the first Super Bowl to ever be hosted by New York/New Jersey, but neither team had any shot to actually make it.
The Giants had their first losing season since 2004, while the Jets again finished behind New England in their division.
2015: University of Phoenix Stadium (Cardinals; 11-5): Finally, a team which wasn’t a total wreck.
Despite injuries to Carson Palmer, Bruce Arians lifted the Cardinals to an 11-5 record and a Wild Card berth. They didn’t advance, but at least put together a nice season in the year they hosted the Super Bowl.
2016: Levi’s Stadium (49ers; 5-11): The first and only season of the Jim Tomsula era in San Francisco was a mess.
The 49ers started the year 2-6 and decided to bench Colin Kaepernick for Blaine Gabbert. It went about as well as you would think.
2017: NRG Stadium (Texans; 9-7): Houston went 9-7 for the second straight season, but it was enough to win the AFC South.
The Texans won a playoff game against the Oakland Raiders, but lost to New England in the divisional round.
2018: US Bank Stadium (Vikings; 13-3): This is the best team on this list by far. Led by Case Keenum, the Vikings rolled through the regular season and stunned the Saints in the divisional round thanks to Stefon Diggs’ Minneapolis Miracle.
The Vikings were one win away from becoming the first team to play a Super Bowl in their home stadium, but lost to the eventual champion Eagles in the NFC championship game.
2019: Mercedes-Benz Stadium (Falcons; 7-9): If we’re being honest, this curse started when the Falcons blew the 28-3 lead.
But this underwhelming season began a streak of three straight years of missing the postseason.
2020: Hard Rock Stadium (Dolphins; 5-11): The Dolphins never had any chance of actually playing in last year’s Super Bowl. The only thing they were a contender for was the No. 1 pick in the draft.
But Brian Flores had the Dolphins playing hard, and finished 5-11 while flashing young talent along the way.
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