Obama, Romney eye ‘Skins/Panthers game closely

Howard Balzer

November 02, 2012 at 3:36 pm.

If RGIII and the Redskins win, that could mean more good times ahead for President Obama. (Paul Frederiksen-US PRESSWIRE)

Incumbent President Barack Obama might be a Chicago Bears fan, but in 2008 he had to be a Washington Redskins fan — and he sure will be Sunday when the Redskins host the Carolina Panthers. On the flip side, Mitt Romney will be rooting strongly for the Panthers.

Why is that the case? Because in 17 of the 18 presidential elections since the Redskins moved to Washington in 1937, a Redskins win in their final home game before the election resulted in a win for the incumbent party. A Redskins loss resulted in a win for the challenging party.

In 2008, the Redskins lost to the Steelers. The only anomaly was in 2004 when the Redskins lost to the Packers, but incumbent George W. Bush defeated Sen. John Kerry.

Notably, Steve Hirdt of the Elias Sports Bureau and Director of Information for Monday Night Football has an explanation for that one game. It was Hirdt who discovered what he dubbed the “Redskins Rule” in 2000 when he was doing research prior to the Redskins’ final home game before the election, which was a Monday night game against the Tennessee Titans.

So, Steve, what is it about the 2004 election that actually falls in line? Said Hirdt, “I went back and studied the ‘Redskins Rule’ data and what happened in 2004 was explained in 2000. Because Al Gore actually won the popular vote in 2000, but lost in the Electoral College, it reversed the polarity of the subsequent election. The opposite of the usual ‘Redskins Rule’ was true.

“Redskins Rule 2.0 established that when the popular vote winner does not win the election, the impact of the Redskins game on the subsequent presidential election gets flipped. So, with that, the Redskins’ loss in 2004 signaled that the incumbent would remain in the White House.”

Whether anyone accepts Redskins Rule 2.0 as legitimate or not, the reality is that 17 of 18 is still phenomenal.

As Hirdt said, “Everybody likes coincidences and streaks, especially in the sports world. It’s been fun to talk about and I’m glad I found it.”

Silence, Steve

Steve Spurrier should know better. After all, he coached in the NFL and played in the NFL, so he should know what an enormous leap it is from the colleges to the pros.

He also tried to win in the NFL with Danny Wuerffel at quarterback, which was an unmitigated disaster.

But there was Spurrier as a guest on The Dan Patrick Show sounding like a typical caller to a sports-talk show or an uninformed host that every now and then throws out the outrageous suggestion that the best college football teams could beat the worst that the NFL has to offer in a given year.

Talking about SEC rival Alabama, Spurrier said, “Alabama, gosh, they look like they could beat a couple of those NFL teams that I’ve watched on Sundays. I think a lot of the oddsmakers out there, that usually know what’s going on, I’d guess Alabama would be favored by a little bit.”

It’s amazing that Spurrier would even mentions oddsmakers, considering the great love that the NCAA has for what goes in Las Vegas. But to actually believe Alabama would be favored? Please. Maybe Spurrier, instead of his players, should be drug-tested because there must be some foreign substance affecting his brain.

The reality is that as good as the best college team is, and as many players as they might send to the NFL, the large majority of the roster will never even have an NFL tryout, much less play in the league.

Could an Alabama hang with an NFL team for a quarter or so? Maybe. But as the game advanced, it would be no contest and utter destruction for a group of 18-to-22 year olds going against numerous men that have been in the NFL for years.

It was left to Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll to make a fool of Spurrier, specifying that the obvious difference would be in the offensive and defensive lines.

Said Carroll, who of course had numerous successful years at Southern Cal, “I was confronted with that (claim) at times (at Southern Cal) and the falsehood is to think that that could ever take place. It ain’t even close. It’s not even close. Alabama’s got a great team and Nick (Alabama coach Nick Saban) is a fantastic coach, but when you match up the interior lines against regular NFL teams on either side of the ball, it wouldn’t even be close.

“Most of his guys are going to play in the NFL. Our guys were all winding up having a chance to play (in the NFL), but at the time when you find them when they’re still in college, they’re not ready for it in my opinion. I used to say that. Don’t kid yourself. There ain’t no way. That’s how I think it would happen. It’s not the receivers. It’s not the running backs. It’s what would happen up front that would be tremendously shocking to a college team.”

So, we’ll let that notion be put aside. That is, until someone else tries to make anyone believe it would be possible.

Philly Fanatics

Yes, the passion of the Philadelphia sports fan is well known. Just as it is for many of the crazed fans that made the East Coast their home.

The problem is when that passion crosses the line into vulgarity and classless behavior. It’s always only a few, but even one is too many. Of course, when we see some of the depravity that exists in “human beings,” maybe it’s no surprise that some people’s very existence is tied to the success of the teams they want to win.

Eagles defensive end Jason Babin experienced the worst of the worst during the team’s Oct. 28 game against Atlanta, and he spoke about it to rporters.

Said Babin, “During the game there was a good section of fans chanting some of the most vile things I’ve ever heard. Not just at a football game, but in life, in general. Talking about attacking coach (Andy Reid), talking about people’s wives and kids and chanting them. And I just thought there was no place for that in the NFL, none whatsoever.

“Just some of the foul things people were saying. Yeah, I’m gonna be protective of coach Reid, Coach Wash (defensive line coach Jim Washburn) and my teammates. It was upsetting that a few bad apples were chanting that kind of stuff, but what are you going to do?”

Babin was so shocked by what was said, he couldn’t even bring himself to repeat it.

He concluded, “If I could say just one of the things they were chanting, it’s way past bad, it’s foul. I’ve never heard … listen, I don’t want to even repeat what I heard, it was that bad. And I’ve got a pretty high threshold for adult jokes, to give you an idea of what they’re saying.”

The Right Way

During Denver’s Week 8 win over New Orleans, Broncos’ receiver Demaryius Thomas scored a touchdown and was prepared to do an orchestrated celebration with receiver Eric Decker. Thomas handed the ball to Decker, who planned to toss it to Thomas, who would then “dunk” it over the crossbar.

However, veteran receiver Brandon Stokley “intercepted the pass,” preventing a probable penalty and fines.

Said Stokley, “I guess they figured it out at halftime that if somebody scored, they were going to throw an alley-oop to each other. I was real tired, so I was kind of slow getting over there. I saw it unfolding, and being the older guy in the room, I had to put a stop to it.”

A few years ago, Stokley halted then-Broncos receiver Brandon Marshall from doing something orchestrated and after the recent play, Stokley said Marshall texted him and said he was “a celebration killer.” Said Stokley, “I’ve got to do what I’ve got to do.”

Said Decker, “It’s always good to have a daddy — a savvy veteran — on your team.”

The Quote

After New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees was named in a survey as the second-most liked player in the NFL, he mentioned why he thinks he finished behind Pittsburgh safety Troy Polamalu (63 to 62 percent appeal rating). Said Brees, “Because I don’t have that beautiful head of hair.”