American Football: Redskins loss points to new president in White House

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The Independent Online

American Football does not generally want for hyperbole, but even by its bloated standards the claims being made for Green Bay's victory at the weekend will take some beating: according to NFL folklore they have just decided the result of today's presidential election.

American Football does not generally want for hyperbole, but even by its bloated standards the claims being made for Green Bay's victory at the weekend will take some beating: according to NFL folklore they have just decided the result of today's presidential election.

The Packers - based in the battleground state of Wisconsin - scored a 28-14 victory over the Washington Redskins. If history repeats itself, that result suggests George W Bush will soon be packing his bags and moving out of the White House.

For the 70 years that the Redskins have existed under that name, the result of their final home game before the election has been an accurate indicator of the election itself: if the Redskins win, so does the incumbent party. If the Skins lose, the incumbent party is doomed.

After the Packers' victory their safety Darren Sharper, a Kerry supporter, said: "Oh, yeah, John Kerry's going to win. It's guaranteed." With a casualness that will make Democratic campaigners' blood run cold, he added: "I don't have to vote now. Don't even have to go to the polls. Saved me a trip on Tuesday."

The predictive streak began in 1933, when the Boston Braves were renamed the Redskins. Since then, starting with the re-election of Franklin Roosevelt in 1936, the trend has held. In 2000, just before George W Bush defeated Al Gore, the Redskins lost to Tennessee.

However the gridiron results were not entirely to Kerry's liking with the unbeaten run of his local team, the New England Patriots, coming to an end. The Super Bowl champions, having put together a record streak of 21 consecutive victories, were undone 34-20 by an emerging Pittsburgh Steelers side which has now established its championship credentials.

New England entered the match without their injured leading running back, Corey Dillon, and how they missed him as their normally unflappable quarterback Tom Brady experienced a rare off-day. He was sacked three times and intercepted twice.

His opposite number, the highly promising Ben Roethlisberger, had another impressive outing, and has won his first five NFL starts after winning his last 13 games at college. He tossed a pair of first quarter TD passes to Plaxico Burress to give the Steelers a lead they never lost.

Smoke signals: Presidential pointers

Over the past 17 elections the outcome of the Redskins' last home game prior to the presidential election has been an indicator as to whether the incumbent party retains the White House.

Year
Fate of Redskins
Fate of the incumbent party
2000 Lost to Tennessee Democrat (Gore) lost to Republican (Bush)
1996 Beat Indianapolis Democrat (Clinton) beat Republican (Dole)
1992 Lost to NY Giants Republican (Bush Snr) lost to Democrat (Clinton)
1988 Beat New Orleans Republican (Bush Snr) beat Democrat (Dukakis)
1984 Beat Atlanta Falcons Republican (Reagan) beat Democrat (Mondale)
1980 Lost to Minnesota Vikings Democrat (Carter) lost to Republican (Reagan)
1976 Lost to Dallas Cowboys Republican (Ford) lost to Democrat (Carter)
1972 Beat Dallas Cowboys Republican (Nixon) beat Democrat (McGovern)
1968 Lost to New York Giants Democrat (Humphrey) lost to Republican (Nixon)
1964 Lost to Chicago Bears Democrat (Johnson) beat Republican (Goldwater)
1960 Lost to Cleveland Browns Republican (Nixon) lost to Democrat (Kennedy)
1956 Beat Cleveland Browns Republican (Eisenhower) beat Democrat (Stevenson)
1952 Lost to Pittsburgh Steelers Democrat (Stevenson) lost to Republican (Eisenhower)
1948 Beat Boston Yanks Democrat (Truman) beat Republican (Dewey)
1944 Beat Cleveland Rams Democrat (Roosevelt) beat Republican (Dewey)
1940 Beat Pittsburgh Pirates Democrat (Roosevelt) beat Republican (Willkie)
1936* Beat Chicago Cardinals Democrat (Roosevelt) beat Republican (Landon)

*Still playing in Boston under the name Boston Redskins

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