The Rams are set to make history in Super Bowl 56. They will face the Bengals at SoFi Stadium and will become just the second team, along with the Buccaneers in 2021, to play a Super Bowl on their home turf.
However, that doesn’t mean that they will be the designated home team for the game.
Oddly enough, the Rams are set to be the visitor in their home stadium when Super Bowl 56 kicks off on Feb. 13, 2022. This isn’t a joke about the team’s lacking representation at either of their final home games of the season. It’s all about the NFL’s rules for choosing the home team at the Super Bowl, which is technically played on a neutral field.
Here’s everything to know about the process of choosing the home team at the Super Bowl.
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How is the home team chosen at the Super Bowl?
The method for choosing the Super Bowl home team is simple. It alternates from the AFC to the NFC year by year.
A year ago for Super Bowl 55, it was the NFC’s turn to host the Super Bowl. As a result, the Buccaneers were the designated home team while playing at Raymond James Stadium, their usual home. However, that was purely coincidental, and now, the Rams are on the other side of the coin.
Because the NFC was the home team for Super Bowl 55, it is now the AFC’s turn to be the home team in Super Bowl 56. As such, the Rams will be the visitors and it will be interesting to see how — if at all — this impacts the team.
The Rams were actually 7-2 on the road this season, better than the 5-3 mark they posted at home. Meanwhile, the Bengals split their results evenly, going 5-4 at home and 5-3 on the road. These trends don’t matter much given that the Rams are the de facto home team in this matchup, but they are interesting nonetheless.
Does the home team matter at the Super Bowl?
Yes, it matters for uniform choice and the coin toss. Here’s why:
The home team gets to choose which uniforms it will wear during the Super Bowl. This will give the Bengals the option of wearing their colorful orange and black jerseys for the big game or choosing their white tops for this game. If the Bengals choose their orange and black jerseys, the Rams will have to wear white. If the Bengals choose white, the Rams will have to wear blue.
Some athletes have superstitions about certain uniforms, so perhaps the Bengals will do what the Bucs did in 2021 and wear their white uniforms after finding success on the road. Either way, being the home team gives them the choice in this area. And while it may not prove consequential, it’s still a choice the Rams don’t have.
Ah, yes. The beloved coin toss. The visiting team gets to call the coin toss at the beginning of the game and during overtime. That means they get direct control over their destiny, and if they win the opening coin toss, they can set themselves up to get the ball either to start the game or in the second half, depending on what they choose.
Of course, a coin toss is a 50-50 proposition, so there’s not really an advantage to being able to call it. Still, that’s a benefit that the Rams will enjoy, especially if the game goes to overtime as many of these playoff games have.
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Why are the Rams playing Super Bowl 56 in their home stadium?
The answer is simple. It’s purely a coincidence that the Rams are playing Super Bowl 56 in their home stadium, as SoFi Stadium was selected to host the Super Bowl back in 2017. The league couldn’t have foreseen the Rams making this type of run that far back.
That said, the Rams got a bit lucky with this, as SoFi Stadium was originally set to host Super Bowl 55 before construction issues delayed its opening until 2020. NFL stadiums must be open for two seasons before they can host a Super Bowl, so the league awarded them Super Bowl 56 instead and switched Super Bowl 55 to Raymond James Stadium.
Ironically, that benefitted both the Buccaneers, who played on home turf in 2021, and the Rams, who are doing so now. That switch could prove serendipitous for the NFC.
Cincinnati Public Schools won’t have classes the Monday after the Super Bowl so staff and students can “celebrate what we believe will be our city’s first-ever Super Bowl victory,” officials wrote to families Monday afternoon.
Ross Local Schools and Roger Bacon High School have also called off school on Feb. 14, with other school leaders leaving hints that they may do the same.
The CPS announcement came after board member Mike Moroski tweeted that he had put in a request to have Feb. 14 off for staff and students.
“I think it’s pretty super likely,” Moroski told The Enquirer Monday morning. “It’s kind of a no-brainer I think.”
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Fans celebrate the Cincinnati Bengals victory over the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC championship NFL football game, Sunday, Jan. 30, 2022, at The Banks in downtown Cincinnati. The Bengals will play the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LVI.
Moroski said the district typically has Super Bowl Monday off for students, but when the NFL changed its schedule this year, the district’s off days did not align with Super Bowl weekend.
But his request became reality Monday afternoon when CPS administrators sent out a districtwide message to families and staff, complete with the Bengals “Who Dey” chant: “”Who Dey! Who Dey! Who Dey Think Gonna Beat Dem Bengals? Nooooobody!”
“We hope that you enjoy Roaring the Bengals to a win on Sunday and take this time to take pride in our incredible city and amazing football team,” the message reads.
Roger Bacon High School pulled the trigger Sunday night, within an hour of the Bengals’ win against the Kansas City Chiefs that set them on the road to the Super Bowl: no school on Super Bowl Monday.
Principal Steven Schad wrote a note to families and the St. Bernard-based school posted the announcement to Twitter. Soon after, other teachers, parents and students from neighboring school districts started asking if they’d get the same celebratory day off.
Ross Local School District Superintendent Chad Konkle also tweeted Monday that his district will use a calamity day on Feb. 14 “in celebration of the Cincinnati Bengals advancing to the Super Bowl.”
Monroe Superintendent Robert Buskirk was tagged in a similar request Sunday night, and responded with: “Hmmmm…”