Super Bowl

Why Teams in White Super Bowl Jerseys Hold an Advantage

If history is any indication, the Chiefs hold an advantage in Super Bowl LVII

Rob Carr/Getty Images

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.

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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
  • XVI: 49ers 26, Bengals 21
  • 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
  • LII: Eagles 41, Patriots 33
  • LIV: Chiefs 31, 49ers 20
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