The Signal

In Week 3, NFL predicts a lopsided win for Romney

The Signal

The NFL is in sore need of a few recounts after another weekend of on-field farce put on by the replacement referees. But as long as the season goes on, the Signal will tally the games that, according to a rigorous historical study—my own—have been determined to predict the presidential election.

Last week, I posted a rule for every franchise that predicts the winner of the election every four years, or at least nearly so. For example:

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.

Check for yourself if you don't believe me. This was true in 2008, 2004, 2000, 1996, 1992, 1988, 1984, 1980 and 1976—every election since the Buccaneers joined the NFL.

This may all seem like an elaborate exercise in the perils of confounding correlation with causation, and perhaps one that raises concerns about the author's aptitude for time management. But if Mitt Romney wins the election, you will have read it here first. Going in to last weekend's games, Romney led President Barack Obama four games in two. In other words, of the six rules that involve a game in the first two weeks of the season, four point to a Republican victory while two point to a Democratic victory.

Three more rules were up for evaluation on Sunday:

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.
The Jets Rule: If the New York Jets win their second away game, the Republican wins the White House. Otherwise, the Democrat wins.
The Texans Rule: If the Houston Texans win their second away game, the Republican wins the White House. Otherwise, the Democrat wins.

All three point to a Romney victory: Philadelphia never scored a touchdown, and both the Jets and the Texans won. That brings the score, after Week 3, to 7-2 in the former Massachusetts governor's favor.

If Romney wins, credit fate. If he loses, blame the referees.

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