Will the Washington Redskins predict the election?

Since 1936, the result of the team's final home game before the election has forecast the winner accurately in every presidential race but one.

By Vincent Rossmeier
Published October 31, 2008 4:35PM (EDT)

With all this talk of campaign strategy, tightening polls and the looming election of the most powerful person on earth, it's important to remember the things that are really important in life. Like this week's Monday Night Football game, which features the Pittsburgh Steelers and the surprising 6-2 Redskins.

Why should you care? For one, at halftime, ESPN, which is broadcasting the game, will air interviews of both Barack Obama and John McCain speaking with football analyst Chris Berman. As MNF has averaged 12.2 million viewers per week so far this season, it's one last opportunity for both candidates to make their cases to a large segment of the American public.

Still don't care? Try this: country singer and avid McCain supporter Hank Williams, Jr. performs the opening song for the broadcast.

OK, I admit, that reason was lame. So let me try one more.

Since 1936, the outcome of the last Redskins home game before Election Day has correctly predicted the winner of the presidential race. No, seriously. For 64 years and 17 U.S. presidential elections, if the Redskins won the game, the incumbent party won the White House. If they lost, so did the incumbent party.

Does that mean Obama supporters have to root against the burgundy and gold Monday night? Maybe not. The Redskins' predictive abilities failed in 2004. That year, in their last game before the American public decided between John Kerry and George W. Bush, the Redskins lost to the Green Bay Packers, 28-14. Based on past precedent, this meant Kerry should have become president. Obviously, that didn't happen.

Just in case you were wondering: though Redskins head coach Jim Zorn took a well-publicized bike ride with President Bush, among Redskins players, Obama is the overwhelming favorite. A survey of 44 of the team's 53 players found 29 who were voting for Obama, 8 who were for McCain and 7 who were undecided.

(Editor's note: For the purposes of full disclosure, it should be noted that Vincent Rossmeier, the author of this post, is a scarily obsessive Redskins fan. His editors, however, root for them to lose every game, whether it impacts the election or not.)

Vincent Rossmeier

Vincent Rossmeier is an editorial assistant at Salon.

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