Two teams in the Super Bowl era have played in their home markets. The San Francisco 49ers beat the Miami Dolphins in Super Bowl XIX at Stanford Stadium. The Los Angeles Rams fell to the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XIV at the Rose Bowl.
The Minnesota Vikings have a very good chance to become the first to play in their true home stadium this year. At 10-2, the Vikes sit atop the NFC playoff picture. They’ll be favored in all four of their remaining games (at Carolina, at home against Cincinnati and Chicago, and — barring an Aaron Rodgers return — at Green Bay).
With Case Keenum at the wheel, Minnesota has won eight straight. The unheralded quarterback is complementing a formidable defense, almost playing like an extension of it. He’s avoiding mistakes and setting up the other unit for success. The Vikings are allowing only 16 points/game during their hot streak.
With each passing week, the doubters recede. At a certain point we are left to think they are, in fact, for real. Having said that, Minnesota is not the most fearsome team on paper. But a potential playoff opponent is Los Angeles, which managed to muster 7 measly points in Minneapolis last month. And Philadelphia showed it could be slowed by a fearsome defense last night in Seattle.
The path is there and reasonable for the Vikings to enjoy home cooking through the Super Bowl. Having familiarity with the surroundings is not an insignificant advantage with all the hoopla surrounding the big game — and combating, say, the New England Patriots.