Watch football on Monday to see who’ll win election on Tuesday
Everyone who thinks that the election is important should pay close attention to tomorrow’s Monday Night Football game, when the 6-2 Washington Redskins host the 5-2 Pittsburgh Steelers. If Washington wins, John McCain is looking at an upset victory. But if Pittsburgh prevails, Obama could be in for a big night. Why? Well, as my fellow Washington Redskins fans have probably heard, it is claimed that the result of our beloved franchise’s last home game before a presidential election presages the result of that election. That is, when the Redskins win their final pre-election home game the incumbent, or his party, retains control of the White House; and when the Redskins lose so does the incumbent, or his party’s nominee.
I am a Redskins fan who has endorsed Barack Obama, which could lead to a state of dissonance tomorrow. Fortunately (or unfortunately), the legend about the Redskins being proficient presidential predictors is not quite true—but it used to be.
Snopes has the facts: Since 1936, the Redskins first have correctly predicted, via the method described above, 17 out of 18 presidential elections—a success rate of 94.4%, which ain’t bad. (Note that this counts the correct “prediction” in 1936 when the Redskins played in Boston and ignores the incorrect “prediction” in 1932 when they played in Boston as the Braves. Apparently, it’s the Redskins part, not the Washington part, that’s important here.) The one that they got wrong? It was the last election; the Green Bay Packers beat the Redskins, which should have meant defeat for George W. Bush as well, but John Kerry was the one who went on to lose.
Of course, this whole thing is all coincidence—there’s no plausible causal mechanism in place and, given all the thousands of things that could be correlated with anything else, it’d be surprising not to find one that, due to happenstance, just happens to do so. Therefore, I’ll have no trouble pulling for Washington tomorrow. Hail to the Redskins!