This coming Tuesday, Americans will go to the polls to decide one of the most hotly contested presidential races in history. After eight years, George W. Bush will move out of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and either John McCain or Barack Obama will back up the Mayflowers.
Now, most of you know from my ASU blog, Pitchfork Nation, that I'm on record as voting for Ric Flair. So, despite my minor in political science from THE Arizona State Univesrity, and the inane amount of CNN that I've been glued to since last February, I'm not the authority to be running to to predict who will win on Tuesday.
Who is, then? Wolf Blitzer? Keith Olbermann? America's Sweetheart Bill O'Reilly?
Nope. Over the years, it's apparently been guys like Joe Theismann, Mark Rypien, Art Monk, John Riggins and Clinton Portis.
You see, over 17 of the past 18 elections, the Washington Redskins have had a knack for showing us who's going to win. The 1936 election in which Franklin D. Roosevelt, a Democrat, defeated Republican candidate Alf Landon (who sounds like more of a furniture salesman than a politician) started a trend that for almost 70 years was frighteningly accurate.
Why is this significant? The Redskins, then a franchise based in Boston, beat the Chicago Cardinals (what a surprise! Our Cardinals, losing a game!) 13-10. Several days later, the incumbent Democrat, FDR, won an easy re-election.
In every election between 1936 and 2000, if the Redskins won their last game before a Presidential election, the incumbent stayed in office. Naturally, if the 'Skins lost, the challenger from the opposite party was headed to the White House. It ended in 2004, when Washington lost to Green Bay (and presumably securing a victory for John Kerry) but the Republicans stayed in office.
It's a Monday night affair for the 'Skins this year as they take on Pittsburgh. If all goes according to overwhelming plan, we'll know who the winner on Tuesday is by about 8:00 PM on Monday night.
Here's a record of the remarkable streak the Redskins put together in election years (blue means the Redskins Rule worked, red means it did not):
1936: Democrat incumbent, Redskins defeat Cardinals 13-10, Democrat reelected
1940: Democrat incumbent, Redskins defeat Pittsburgh 37-10, Democrat reelected
1944: Democrat incumbent, Redskins defeat Cleveland 14-10, Democrat reelected
1948: Democrat incumbent, Redskins defeat Boston 59-21, Democrat reelected
1952: Democrat incumbent, Pittsburgh defeats Redskins 24-23, Republican elected
1956: Republican incumbent, Redskins defeat Cleveland 20-9, Republican reelected
1960: Republican incumbent, Cleveland defeats Redskins 31-10, Democrat elected
1964: Democrat incumbent, Redskins defeat Chicago 27-20, Democrat reelected
1968: Democrat incumbent, NY Giants defeat Redskins 13-10, Republican elected
1972: Republican incumbent, Redskins defeat Dallas 24-20, Republican reelected
1976: Republican incumbent, Dallas defeats Redskins 20-7, Democrat elected
1980: Democrat incumbent, Minnesota defeats Redskins 39-14, Republican elected
1984: Republican incumbent, Redskins defeat Atlanta 27-14, Republican reeelected
1988: Republican incumbent, Redskins defeat New Orleans 27-24, Republican elected
1992: Republican incumbent, NY Giants defeat Redskins 24-7, Democrat elected
1996: Democrat incumbent, Redskins defeat Indianapolis 31-16, Democrat reelected
2000: Democrat incumbent, Tennessee defeats Redskins 27-21, Republican elected
2004: Republican incumbent, Green Bay defeats Redskins 28-14, Republican reelected
So, obviously, it's all up to the 'Skins on Monday night. A win means we'll be seeing some John McCain for the next four years, but a loss to the Steelers means it's four years of Ba-racking and rolling.