While the vast majority of "normal" sports fans are busy placing bets, planning parties, and stocking up on snacks for this Sunday's Super Bowl, this sports fan turned political science major has been having a little fun of his own.
Day in and day out, the nature of my collegiate studies forces me to view the world through a political lens.
So when a friend asked me today which team I thought will win the Super Bowl—not which team I want to win because I am the type to always cheer for the underdog—rather than analyze the actual situation at hand like a normal person would do, my mind began wondering what political history had to say.
This curiosity got the best of me and I hopped on-line and pulled up lists of champions from the four major professional sports leagues—the NBA, MLB, NFL, and NHL—and electoral vote maps from the last 20 years.
Using the Presidential election results from 1988, 1992, 1996, 2000, and 2004, I went through each league and recorded whether its champion had come from a state that had most recently voted Republican or Democratic.
The results, while in no way scientific or meaningful, are worthy of eliciting another unforgettable scream from Howard Dean.
In the last 20 years, there have been 74 championships won in the four major professional sports by teams located in the United States. Of those 74, 45 of them have been won by teams located in so called blue-states while only 29 champions have been crowned from red-states.
The numbers relating specifically to the NFL are slightly more favorable to the Republican voting states, who trail 11 to nine. But that doesn't necessarily mean that things are looking up for our Cardinal friends.
Of the last five Super Bowls held immediately following a Presidential election, three have been won by franchises in states that voted for the winning candidate. This does not bode well for the constituents of a certain Sen. John McCain.
In fairness to our Republican voting friends, Ross Perot's candidacy in 1992 threw a wrench into the gears. So maybe we should just look at the three elections since.
Of the last three Super Bowls contested immediately following a Presidential election (1997, 2001, 2005), the champion has come from a state that voted Democrat all three times.
No, political history does not seem to be in favor of the Arizona Cardinals.
But fear not Cardinal fans, according to President Obama: "Change has come to America." Come Monday, we will know if the Cardinals were indeed able to change the trends or whether the Steelers have notched yet another victory for the blue-states.
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