Super Bowl LV will feature the first legitimate home team in the history of the game. Despite this, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will wear their white road jerseys for the big game. Recent history suggests that there is plenty of good reason for this.
How are uniform colors decided for the Super Bowl?
In the NFL, the standard is for the home team to wear colored (or black) jerseys and the visiting team to wear white jerseys. This is, of course, not a hard and fast rule. In some games, you will find the trend reversed, with the home team wearing white and the visiting team wearing colored jerseys. The Miami Dolphins, in particular, usually prefer to wear white at home because it reflects the Florida sunlight.
For the Super Bowl, there is usually no “home” team, as the game takes place at a neutral site. However, this upcoming Super Bowl is different. For the first time in history, the team from the game’s host stadium — the Tampa Bay Buccaneers — will play in the game itself. This makes the Buccaneers, effectively, the “home team”.
It’s doubtful that this will have any effect on the standard Super Bowl home/away rotation, which alternates by conference each year. Last year, as AFC champs, the Kansas City Chiefs were the designated home team and wore their standard home kit. The Buccaneers have the first choice of uniform color this year and would have it regardless of where the game was played.
Recent Super Bowls have set a strange trend
By rule, the home team of any game can choose which type of jersey (colored or white) to wear, and the visiting team has to wear the opposite type. This also applies to the Super Bowl. If recent years are any indication, the Bucs are making the right decision by going with their white away kit.
According to Sporting News, in 13 of the last 16 Super Bowls, the Super Bowl winner was the team wearing white jerseys. Last year’s Super Bowl was a rare exception to this trend. The Chiefs, who wore red, emerged victorious. Also during this span, the Green Bay Packers won Super Bowl XLV in green, while the Philadelphia Eagles won Super Bowl LII in their “midnight green”.
Also factoring into this decision is the run of success this season’s Buccaneers have had while wearing white. According to the Buccaneers’ official website, the team has worn their white-and-pewter uniform combination in five games this season and won every time. This includes last week’s NFC Championship Game victory over the Green Bay Packers.
For what it’s worth, the Buccaneers also won their only previous Super Bowl in January 2003 wearing red on pewter. This is precisely the same home uniform combination they have today.
Are dark jerseys bad luck?
If you read this article and assume that dark jerseys represent bad luck, you’re not alone. This idea is thought to have started with the Dallas Cowboys, who very rarely wear their navy-blue jerseys at all. For home games, they almost always reverse the typical uniform setup by wearing their white and have done so for decades.
There have been multiple conflicting explanations for this. At first, it was believed that the dark jerseys were jinxed. This theory had some credibility, as the Cowboys lost Super Bowl V in heartbreaking fashion while wearing their dark blue kit. For this reason, teams playing the Cowboys at home for important games have occasionally worn white to force Dallas into their “unlucky” blue.
However, official sources within the team have debunked this idea. Mike McCord, the Cowboys’ equipment director since 1989, told FOX Sports that the Texas heat is responsible for their white-at-home trend.
As hot as it could be for our late-August, early-September games, I think the heat was a big factor, and one of those things was making the other teams wear darker jerseys on the road, as well as standing in the sun on the sidelines in the old stadium was a huge factor in that. So any time you’re wearing darker colors, it tends to retain the heat. So that was a big part of why the Cowboys wore white jerseys at home.Mike McCord, Dallas Cowboys equipment director