The Minnesota Vikings will have more than one advantage if they make it to the Super Bowl. On top of playing the game in their home stadium, the Vikings would also get to prepare as if they are the home team, according to the Star Tribune.
Technically, they won’t be. The NFC and AFC alternate home field during the Super Bowl. The AFC was designated as the road team last season, so it’s the NFC’s turn to play that role in 2018.
Should they make it, though, the Vikings won’t act as the road team. They’ll be allowed to practice at their normal facility, use their normal locker room, stand on their normal sideline and potentially sleep in their own beds before the game.
With any other club, that wouldn’t be the case. The National Football League has designated practice locations and hotels for both the home and road teams. As of right now, the league has the home team practicing at the Vikings usual spot in Eden Prarie. The road team is supposed to practice at the University of Minnesota.
But if the Vikings get to the Super Bowl, they would be allowed to practice at their usual spot. If any other NFC team gets to the Super Bowl, the AFC winner will get to use the Vikings’ facilities and the NFC team will use the designated road facilities.
The league has anticipated this scenario for some time now, according to the Star Tribune:
NFL vice president of communications Brian McCarthy said it’s “always anticipated that a competing team that hosts [the Super Bowl] would stay in its own facility.” Rarely, however, has that possibility even been this close to taking place.
The question here becomes: Is that fair?
Should the Vikings get to the Super Bowl, they already have the advantage of playing in their home stadium. You can chalk that up to luck of the draw. They just so happened to get there the year Minnesota was set to host the game.
But the league also allowing the team to remain in their normal practice facilities and potentially sleep in their own beds could be viewed as an unfair advantage.
All of this becomes moot if the Vikings fail to go all the way, of course. But given the amount of media coverage surrounding the big game in the weeks leading up to it, you can expect that to become a major point of controversy among talking heads should the Vikings actually get it done.
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Chris Cwik is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik