The Signal

NFL trends point to Romney win, but Redskins Rule still to be decided

The Signal

When the Redskins meet the Panthers at FedExField this Sunday, more will be on the line than a mitigation of Washington's 3-5 record. As commentators are certain to remind viewers, the result of Washington's last home game before a presidential election has the eerie ability to predict the outcome of said election. If the Redskins win, the incumbent wins; if the Redskins lose, the incumbent loses.

This is true in 17 of the past 18 elections. But as I pointed out in September, there is no reason this predictive wizardry should be the exclusive privilege of Washington's team. In fact, one can gin up such a rule for any team.

We now have results for 28 of the 31 rules I proposed for the other NFL franchises. Of those, 18 point to a Romney win and 10 point to an Obama win--meaning Romney has the NFL's zero electoral votes all locked up. Three more rules are set to be adjudicated this weekend, and the last is, somewhat strangely, not occurring until after the election--a paradox that threatens to sink the whole concept that football games can predict electoral events.

team rule streak
The 49ers Rule: If San Francisco scores at least 1.5 points for every completion in its third home game of the season, the Democrat wins. Otherwise, the Republican wins. 13/13
Romney wins. The 49ers scored only 3 points on 23 completions against the Giants on Oct. 14
The Bears Rule: If, in Chicago's fourth game, more than 5 percent of the quarterback's completions are for touchdowns, the Democrat wins. Otherwise, the Republican wins. 13/13
Obama wins. Bears QB Jay Cutler threw 18 completions for two touchdowns, an 11 percent rate, at Dallas on Oct. 1
The Bengals Rule: If Cincinnati posts more than 300 total yards of offense in its third home game, the incumbent party wins the White House. Otherwise, the out-of-power party wins. 11/11
Romney wins. The Bengals advanced only 185 yards on Oct. 21 against Pittsburgh.
The Bills Rule: If the opposing team in Buffalo's second home game throws for more than 160 yards, the Republican wins the election. Otherwise, the Democrat wins. 13/13
Romney wins. New England threw for 340 yards on Sept. 30.
The Broncos Rule: If Denver rushes for at least 106 yards in its fifth game, the incumbent party wins. Otherwise, the out-of-power party wins. 13/13
Romney wins. Denver ran for 70 yards at New England on Oct. 7
The Browns Rule: If Cleveland does not throw an interception in its third home game, the Democrat wins. Otherwise, the Republican wins. 14/14
Romney wins. Cleveland threw one interception against Cincinnati on Oct. 14
The Buccaneers Rule: If Tampa Bay scores more than 14 points in its fourth game, the out-of-power party wins the White House. Otherwise, the incumbent party wins. 9/9
Romney wins. Tampa Bay scored 22 points vs. Washington on Sept. 30.
The Cardinals Rule: If Arizona averages more than 18.2 yards per first down in its fifth-to-last game before the election, the out-of-power party wins. Otherwise, the incumbent party retains the White House. 17/17
Obama wins. Arizona advanced 282 yards on 20 first downs at St. Louis on Oct. 4, a rate of 14.1.
The Chargers Rule: If San Diego runs for an odd number of yards in its third away game, the incumbent party holds the White House. Otherwise, the out-of-power party wins. 13/13
Obama wins. The Chargers ran for 117 yards at New Orleans on Oct. 7
The Chiefs Rule: If Kansas City's opponent in the Chiefs' second game runs at least 7.2 yards for every point it scores, the Democrat wins. Otherwise, the Republican wins. 13/13
Romney wins. The Bills averaged 5.7 rush yards per point on Sept. 16.
The Colts Rule: If Indianapolis has more sacks than turnovers in its first home game, the Democrat wins. Otherwise, the Republican wins. 13/13
Obama wins. The Colts sacked the Vikings four times and committed no turnovers in their home opener on Sept. 16.
The Cowboys Rule: If Dallas rushes for more than 96 yards in its fourth home game, the Republican wins the White House. Otherwise, the Democrat does. 13/13
This year: vs. Cleveland on Nov. 18
The Dolphins Rule: If Miami's opponent in its last away game before the election completes at least 19 passes, the Democrat wins. Otherwise, the Republican wins. 10/11
This year: at Indianapolis on Nov. 4
The Eagles Rule: If Philadelphia scores at least one offensive touchdown per nine first downs in its second away game, the Democrat wins the White House. Otherwise, the Republican wins. 15/16
Romney wins. Arizona kept Philadelphia out of the end zone on Sept. 23.
The Falcons Rule: If the quarterback for Atlanta throws at least one interception in the Falcons' fifth game of the season, the out-of-power party wins the election. Otherwise, the incumbent party wins. 11/11
Romney wins. Matt Ryan threw one interception at Washington on Oct. 7
The Giants Rule: If New York completes at least 60 percent of its passes in its seventh game, the incumbent party wins. Otherwise, the out-of-power party wins. 11/11
Obama wins. The Giants complete 26 passes on 40 attempts Oct. 21 against the Redskins for a rate of 65 percent.
The Jaguars Rule: If Jacksonville completes more than half of its passes in its first away game, the out-of-power party wins. Otherwise, the incumbent party wins. 4/4
Romney wins. The Jaguars were 23 for 39 against the Vikings on Sept. 9.
The Jets Rule: If the New York Jets win their second away game, the Republican wins the White House. Otherwise, the Democrat wins. 12/13
Romney wins. The Jets beat the Dolphins in overtime on Sept. 23.
The Lions Rule: If Detroit's opponent is charged with at least 20 percent more penalties than Detroit in the last home game before the election, the Republican wins. Otherwise, the Democrat wins. 13/13
Obama wins. Detroit was slapped with five penalties to the Seahawks' two on Oct. 28
The Packers Rule: If Green Bay throws more than one interception per 20 pass attempts in its last game before the election, the Republican wins. Otherwise, the Democrat wins. 13/13
This year: vs. Arizona on Nov. 4
The Panthers Rule: If Carolina does not fumble in its third home game, the incumbent party wins the White House. Otherwise, the out-of-power party wins. 4/4
Romney wins. The Panthers fumbled once against Chicago on Oct. 7
The Patriots Rule: If New England commits fewer turnovers than its opponent in its first away game, the out-of-power party wins the White House. Otherwise, the incumbent party wins. 12/13
Romney wins. The Patriots committed zero turnovers to the Titans' two on Sept. 9.
The Raiders Rule: If Oakland does not advance at least 358 yards in its fourth home game, the Democrat wins. Otherwise, the Republican wins. 13/13
Obama wins--barely! Oakland posted 351 total yards against Jacksonville on Oct. 21
The Rams Rule: If St. Louis averages at least one fumble per eight first downs in its first game, the Democrat wins. Fewer than that, the Republican wins. 13/13
Obama wins. The Rams fumbled twice and achieved only 14 first downs against Detroit on Sept. 9.
The Ravens Rule: If Baltimore wins its third-to-last away game before the election, the Republican wins. Otherwise, the Democrat wins. 4/4
Romney wins. The Ravens beat the Chiefs 9-6 on Oct. 7
The Saints Rule: If New Orleans tallies more first downs than its opponent in the team's fourth away game, the out-of-power party wins the White House. Otherwise the incumbent party wins. 11/11
Obama wins. The Saints posted 14 first downs to Denver's 29 on Oct. 28
The Seahawks Rule: If Seattle gets at least 18 first downs in its third-to-last game before the election, the incumbent party wins. Otherwise, the out-of-power party wins. 9/9
Romney wins. Seattle had 13 first downs at San Francisco on Oct. 18
The Steelers Rule: If Pittsburgh rushes for more yards than it passes in the Steelers' first home game, the Democrat wins. Otherwise, the Republican wins. 15/17
Romney wins. The Steelers advanced 66 yards on the ground and 265 in the air en route to defeating the Jets on Sept. 16.
The Texans Rule: If the Houston Texans win their second away game, the Republican wins the White House. Otherwise, the Democrat wins. 2/2
Romney wins. Houston defeated Denver 31-25 on Sept. 23.
The Titans Rule: If Tennessee fumbles at least twice in its second away game, the incumbent party wins the White House. Otherwise, the out-of-power party wins. 13/13
Obama wins. Tennessee fumbled twice at Houston on Sept. 30.
The Vikings Rule: If Minnesota scores five or fewer points for every turnover the Vikings' opponent commits in the team's third home game, the incumbent party holds the White House. Otherwise, the out-of-power party wins. 11/12
Romney wins. The Viking scored 30 points on two turnovers by Tennessee on Oct. 7
View Comments (487)