My presidential Super Bowl pick

January 26, 2009

by Matt Kane

I’m kind of torn between what team I want to win the Super Bowl Feb. 1. On one hand, I’ve always kind of liked the Pittsburgh Steelers, and I still think they have the best uniforms in football. On the other hand, I love pulling for an underdog team, and the Arizona Cardinals are that underdog.

I was never a big fan of the Cardinals, whatever city they were playing in, but I do kind of like Kurt Warner. Then again, I do own a Steelers “Terrible Towel.”

I guess the only thing to do is just watch the game, and naturally I will begin cheering for one of the teams. That doesn’t mean I will automatically begin pulling for whichever team is leading on the scoreboard. What happens is I usually catch myself pumping a fist when a big play happens, and then I know which team I want to win.

As for which team I think is going to win, I have no idea, so I did some research and am going with a democratic approach. I am tying in my pick to win the Super Bowl with the event that changed the country last Tuesday — the inauguration of President Barack Obama.

Actually, my Super Bowl pick has to do with the inauguration of all 11 presidents who have been sworn in since the Super Bowl debuted in 1971.

The first year an inauguration coincided with a Super Bowl (AFC against NFC) was 1973. On Jan. 14, the Miami Dolphins finished their perfect season with a 14-7 win over the Washington Redskins, and six days later Richard M. Nixon was sworn in to his second term as president.

Of course, Nixon didn’t last too long in the Oval Office that term, and Gerald R. Ford took the oath Aug. 9, 1974.

The Super Bowl of 1974 was played Jan. 13, 1974, between the Dolphins and Minnesota Vikings. I’m sure you know the outcome, but in case you forgot the score, the Dolphins won 24-7. (The Super Bowl following Ford’s inauguration happened Jan. 13, 1975, when the Pittsburgh Steelers defeated the Vikings 16-6 at Tulane Stadium in New Orleans.)

Going by the actual calendar year, Super Bowls were played prior to presidential inaugurations in the eras of presidents Nixon, Ford and Jimmy Carter.

The first calendar year an inauguration preceded a Super Bowl was 1981. On Jan. 20, Ronald Reagan was sworn in as the 40th president. On Jan. 25 of that year, the Oakland Raiders defeated the Philadelphia Eagles 27-10 in the Super Bowl at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans.

In 1985, the presidential inauguration and the Super Bowl landed on the same day, Jan. 20. In the morning, Reagan took his second oath of office, and, later that evening, Joe Montana and the San Francisco 49ers defeated Dan Marino and the Dolphins 38-16 at Stanford Stadium.

There’s your presidential inauguration/Super Bowl history lesson. Now, getting back to my Super Bowl prediction.

First, I have to omit the game in 1969 because the Colts and Jets have since become members of the AFC. So, in the 10 inauguration years a Super Bowl between AFC and NFC teams has been played, the AFC team has won six Super Bowls, and the NFC has won four. By the numbers, this tells me the AFC does better in inauguration years. But maybe Sunday, the 12th year, the Cardinals will bring the NFC one game closer to the AFC.

Maybe, but I don’t think so. I think the Cardinals’ wings will get clipped by the Steelers defense, and Pittsburgh will claim its sixth title with a win in Super Bowl XLVI.