Redskins Rule: Mitt Romney Will Be the Next President

How a game of football might just have decided the presidency.

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Quarterbacks Cam Newton of the Carolina Panthers and Robert Griffin III of the Washington Redskins talk following the Panthers 21-13 win at FedExField on November 4, 2012 in Landover, Maryland.

Over on Keeping Score, we go into way more depth than is probably necessary when it comes to whether sports can predict the outcome of the election. One of the most enduring sports predictions happened this weekend: the Washington Redskins lost, which means Barack Obama had better start packing up the Oval Office.

(KEEPING SCORE: How Sports Can Forecast the Presidential Election)

For some strange reason which no political analyst – not even you, Nate Silver! – has figured out, the result in the Washington Redskins’ last home game before the election has a near-perfect record of predicting the election’s winner. In 17 of the past 18 races, a W for the Redskins has meant a W for the incumbent president or party. On the other hand, a loss for the ‘Skins means a loss for the man (or party) hoping to remain in Washington.

So, no pressure then. In fact, Sunday’s home game for the Redskins was an eminently winnable clash against the Carolina Panthers (at 1-6, the Panthers were in even worse shape than Washington, who at least had two victories to their name). But Carolina broke a five-game losing streak and emerged with a 21-13 victory. As for President Obama, who loves his sports and is no doubt aware of the Redskins Rule, there’s still hope – thanks to the last person to inhabit the White House. President George W. Bush is the only exception so far to the Redskins Rule, when the Washington squad lost to the Green Bay Packers and Democratic challenger John Kerry lost to the encumbent.

(VIDEO: Inside the Bush White House on 9/11)

Yet when you look a little closer at the record, you’ll see that the Redskins have now lost their last six home games to take place before a Presidential election, dating all the way back to Bill Clinton’s first election in 1992. So if you really want a political prediction worth banking on, wait until you see which candidate takes the swing state of Ohio tomorrow. The only thing the Redskins Rule really proves is that Washington sucks at football.

MORE: Three Lessons from Week 9 of the NFL

7 comments
SebastianMichaelis
SebastianMichaelis

The Redskins rule is not infallible. It failed to correctly predict the winner several times, most notably when Ike beat Dewey.

deaniemills
deaniemills

@markos @TIME "No, idiots." is the smartest thing I've heard all day. All morning long, TV news treated this as a serious, breaking story.

JohnJesus14
JohnJesus14

@TIME @TIMENewsFeed Nothing is impossible

jssk
jssk

Then why did you even write it? I hate this kind of articles. Making a big deal of something nobody cares just to dismiss it at the end. Then why didn't you dismiss it by not entertaining it in the first place? Just to make up a garbage article to fill another page? Well you got my click, congratulations.

JamesMcCabe
JamesMcCabe

I think this forecast has run it's useful life.

FrancesFrankieMackHarris
FrancesFrankieMackHarris

The catch phrase here is...."near" perfect record! In udda words..."Dey wrong befo!

OBAMA/BIDEN 2012