The Redskins Rule and the Election

Redskins quarterback Sammy Baugh in 1937. (Source: Library of Congress)
Redskins quarterback Sammy Baugh in 1937. (Source: Library of Congress)

Well, the Redskins may have trouble winning football games these days, but they have proven quite effective at predicting presidential elections over the years. Since the team moved to Washington in 1937 there have been 18 presidential elections. In 17 of those, the so-called "Redskins Rule" has held up:

If the Redskins win their last home game before the election, the incumbent's party will win the election and keep the White House. If the Redskins lose, the challenging party's candidate will win the election.

The only exception was 2004. That year the 'Skins lost to the Green Bay Packers, 28-14, on Halloween but, two days later, incumbent President George W. Bush still managed to defeat challenger John Kerry.

So, what does this mean about this year's election? Perhaps nothing -- we're talking about a somewhat ridiculous association between the fortunes of a football team and the election to decide the leader of the free world, after all. Then again, the Redskins lost to the Carolina Panthers yesterday at Fed Ex Field. So, maybe President Obama should be at least a little bit worried.

Last Updated: 
October 15, 2020