Photo courtesy of Baltimore Ravens
In just more than a week, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will become the first team to host the Super Bowl when they take on the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV.
The Buccaneers also look to put themselves in elite company by becoming the seventh Wild Card team to win the Super Bowl. Tampa Bay clinched its return to Raymond James Stadium with road wins over the Washington Football Team, New Orleans Saints and Green Bay Packers.
Before the Buccaneers look to go from Wild Card to world champions, we take a look at the six teams to make that journey before. The list only includes teams to qualify for the playoffs as a Wild Card team — not division winners who played in the Wild Card game.
1980 Oakland Raiders
Record: 11-5, second in AFC West.
Seed: No. 4 AFC
Road to Super Bowl: Beat Houston Oilers in AFC Wild Card, 27-7; won at Cleveland Browns in AFC Divisional, 14-12; won at San Diego Chargers in AFC Championship, 34-27; beat Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl XV, 27-10
Summary: The first Wild Card team to win the Super Bowl, the Oakland Raiders actually were tied with the San Diego Chargers for the best record in the AFC. The teams split the two meetings during the regular season and the Chargers won the tiebreaker. Oakland opened the playoffs at home before rallying past the Cleveland Browns in the AFC Divisional round. Mark van Eeghen scored early in the fourth quarter to put the Raiders ahead for good before Mike Davis picked off Brian Sipe to seal the win at Cleveland Stadium. After holding off San Diego in the third meeting between the teams in the AFC Championship, Oakland went on to dominate the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl XV.
1997 Denver Broncos
Record: 12-4, second in AFC West.
Seed: No. 4 AFC
Road to Super Bowl: Beat Jacksonville Jaguars in AFC Wild Card, 42-17; won at Kansas City Chiefs in AFC Divisional, 14-10; won at Pittsburgh Steelers in AFC Championship, 24-21; beat Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl XXXII, 31-24
Summary: After losing in the Super Bowl three times, Denver Broncos’ quarterback John Elway finally won “the big one” and did so as a Wild Card. The Jacksonville Jaguars ended top-seeded Denver’s season the year prior, but the Broncos got sweet revenge at Mile High Stadium to open the 1997 playoffs. Denver then went to Arrowhead Stadium and knocked off the top-seeded Kansas City Chiefs behind a fourth-quarter touchdown run by Terrell Davis and a late defensive stop. After holding off the Pittsburgh Steelers, Davis scored the winning touchdown in Super Bowl XXII as the Broncos knocked off the reigning champion Green Bay Packers.
2000 Baltimore Ravens
Record: 12-4, second in AFC Central.
Seed: No. 4 AFC
Road to Super Bowl: Beat Denver Broncos in AFC Wild Card, 21-3; won at Tennessee Titans in AFC Divisional, 24-10; won at Oakland Raiders in AFC Championship, 16-3; beat New York Giants in Super Bowl XXXV, 34-7
Summary: After a 5-4 start, the Baltimore Ravens closed the season with 11 straight wins. Behind one of the best defenses ever, the Ravens allowed just 23 points in four postseason games and only one offensive touchdown. During their playoff run, the Ravens trailed in the second half just once. Baltimore and the Tennessee Titans were tied 10-10 in the fourth quarter of the Divisional round, but non-offensive touchdowns by Anthony Mitchell and Ray Lewis was the difference. The Ravens scored four non-offensive touchdowns during the postseason.
2005 Pittsburgh Steelers
Record: 11-5, second in AFC North.
Seed: No. 6 AFC
Road to Super Bowl: Won at Cincinnati Bengals in AFC Wild Card, 31-17; won at Indianapolis Colts in AFC Divisional, 21-18; won at Denver Broncos in AFC Championship, 34-17; beat Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl L, 21-10
Summary: The Pittsburgh Steelers finished tied atop the AFC North, but lost the tiebreaker to the Cincinnati Bengals. Instead, the Steelers would become the first team to win the Super Bowl after three straight road wins in the playoffs. In the third meeting between the teams, the Steelers rallied from 10 points down to beat the Bengals in the Wild Card game. After holding off the Indianapolis Colts and dominating the Denver Broncos, Pittsburgh topped the Seattle Seahawks for their first Super Bowl win in 26 years.
2007 New York Giants
Record: 10-6, second in NFC East.
Seed: No. 5 NFC
Road to Super Bowl: Won at Tampa Bay Buccaneers in NFC Wild Card, 24-14; won at Dallas Cowboys in NFC Divisional, 21-17; won at Green Bay Packers in NFC Championship in overtime, 23-20; beat New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII, 17-14
Summary: The first NFC and probably the most improbable team on the list, the New York Giants kicked off the playoffs with a win at Tampa Bay before completing second-half comebacks in three straight games. After knocking off the top two seeds in the NFC in dramatic fashion, the Giants upset the previously undefeated New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII. On the team’s final drive, New York used an improbable catch by David Tyree to set up the winning touchdown pass from Eli Manning to Plaxico Burress.
2010 Green Bay Packers
Record: 10-6, second in NFC North.
Seed: No. 6 NFC
Road to Super Bowl: Won at Philadelphia Eagles in NFC Wild Card, 21-16; won at Atlanta Falcons in NFC Divisional, 48-21; won at Chicago Bears in NFC Championship, 21-14; beat Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl LV, 31-25
Summary: Despite not playing a single home game during the 2010 playoffs, the Green Bay Packers never trailed in the second half during their postseason run. Green Bay knocked off the NFC’s top three seeds to win the conference before topping the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl LV. The 2005 Steelers are the only other team to knock off the top three seeds in their conference en route to winning the Super Bowl. A decade later, the Packers remain the last Wild Card team to win the Super Bowl.