Why teams in white Super Bowl jerseys hold an advantage
Why teams in white Super Bowl jerseys hold an advantage originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia
What colors come to mind when you think about the Super Bowl?
The silver shine of the Lombardi Trophy. The bright splash of a Gatorade bath. The shower of confetti that matches the winning team’s scheme.
While those elements add to the overall look of the Super Bowl, one understated color has an underrated impact on the game: white.
All 56 Super Bowls have featured one team wearing a white jersey and one team wearing a jersey of a different color. Sifting through the course of history, the team wearing white went on to become champions surprisingly often.
Is that just a coincidence, and does history influence what color a team chooses to wear in the game? Let’s examine the Super Bowl’s true colors:
How do teams choose their uniforms for the Super Bowl?
Even though the Super Bowl is scheduled at a neutral site, there are still “home” and “away” teams.
The “home” team alternates between conferences each year and gets to choose its uniforms, leaving the “away” team to settle on a contrasting jersey.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were the home team in Super Bowl LV – both figuratively and literally since the game was played at their home stadium, Raymond James Stadium – and chose to wear white jerseys with pewter pants against the Kansas City Chiefs, who wore red jerseys with white pants.
The Los Angeles Rams, on the other hand, were the away team in their home stadium for Super Bowl LVI. The Cincinnati Bengals chose to wear black jerseys and white pants for the game, while the Rams opted for yellow pants to go with their white jerseys.
This year, the Philadelphia Eagles are the home team as the NFC representative in Super Bowl LVII and will wear midnight green jerseys in Glendale, Ariz. That leaves the AFC champion Kansas City Chiefs with their white jerseys.
For the most part, NFL teams wear a darker jersey at home and road teams wear a white one. When it comes to the Super Bowl, the record suggests that a white jersey is the way to go.
How many Super Bowl winners have worn white?
Through 56 editions of the Super Bowl, the team that wore white jerseys lifted the Lombardi Trophy a resounding 36 times.
It was mostly an insignificant factor through the first four decades of the Super Bowl, but teams wearing white started a staggering stretch beginning with Super Bowl XXXIX.
The New England Patriots’ win over the Eagles on Feb. 6, 2005, kicked off a six-game winning streak for teams wearing white. The Green Bay Packers bucked the trend in Super Bowl XLV with a win over the Pittsburgh Steelers before teams in white jerseys strung together another six-game winning streak from 2012 to 2017.
That streak came to a halt when the Eagles got revenge on the Patriots in Super Bowl LII. White-jersey teams and other-color-jersey teams alternated as champions until the Bucs and Rams earned their titles in white.
Here are the 36 Super Bowls where teams in white jerseys came out on top:
II: Packers 33, Raiders 14
III: Jets 16, Colts 7
V: Colts 16, Cowboys 13
VI: Cowboys 24, Dolphins 3
VII: Dolphins 14, Washington 7
IX: Steelers 16, Vikings 6
XI: Raiders 32, Vikings 14
XII: Cowboys 27, Broncos 10
XV: Raiders 27, Eagles 10
XVII: Washington 27, Dolphins 17
XX: Bears 46, Patriots 10
XXII: Washington 42, Broncos 10
XXIV: 49ers 55, Broncos 10
XXVI: Washington 37, Bills 24
XXVII: Cowboys 52, Bills 17
XXVIII: Cowboys 30, Bills 13
XXX: Cowboys 27, Steelers 17
XXXIII: Broncos 34, Falcons 19
XXXIV: Rams 23, Titans 16
XXXV: Ravens 34, Giants 7
XXXIX: Patriots 24, Eagles 21
XL: Steelers 21, Seahawks 10
XLI: Colts 29, Bears 17
XLII: Giants 17, Patriots 14
XLIII: Steelers 27, Cardinals 23
XLIV: Saints 31, Colts 17
XLVI: Giants 21, Patriots 17
XLVII: Ravens 34, 49ers 31
XLVIII: Seahawks 43, Broncos 8
XLIX: Patriots 28, Seahawks 24
50: Broncos 24, Panthers 10
LI: Patriots 34, Falcons 28 (OT)
LIII: Patriots 13, Rams 3
LV: Buccaneers 31, Chiefs 9
LVI: Rams 23, Bengals 20
How many teams have won the Super Bowl wearing non-white jerseys?
Only 20 Super Bowl winners wore non-white jerseys.
The longest stretch of non-white-jersey winners came from 2002 through 2004. The Patriots won Super Bowls XXXVI and XXXVIII in navy blue, while the Bucs won Super Bowl XXXVII in their traditional home uniforms.
Since then, only three squads have won the Super Bowl while wearing a colorful jersey: the Packers (XLV), Eagles (LII) and Kansas City Chiefs (LIV).
Here is a full look at the 20 winners:
I: Packers 35, Chiefs 10
IV: Chiefs 23, Vikings 7
VIII: Dolphins 24, Vikings 7
X: Steelers 21, Cowboys 17
XIII: Steelers 35, Cowboys 31
XIV: Steelers 31, Rams 19
XVIII: Raiders 38, Washington 9
XIX: 49ers 38, Dolphins 16
XXI: Giants 39, Broncos 20
XXIII: 49ers 20, Bengals 16
XXV: Giants 20, Bills 19
XXIX: 49ers 49, Chargers 26
XXXI: Packers 35, Patriots 21
XXXII: Broncos 31, Packers 24
XXXVI: Patriots 20, Rams 17
XXXVII: Buccaneers 48, Raiders 21
XXXVIII: Patriots 32, Panthers 29
XLV: Packers 31, Steelers 25
LIV: Chiefs 31, 49ers 20