As crazy as it sounds, ESPN and other sports outlets have been reporting that tonight's Monday Night Football game between the Washington Redskins and Pittsburgh Steelers could determine the outcome of tomorrow's election.
Since the 1940 Presidential Election, if the Redskins win their last game before the election, the party that won the popular vote last election wins the current one. If the Redskins lose, then the party that lost the popular vote wins the election.
Tonight the Redskins (6-2) host the Pittsburgh Steelers (5-2). In the 2004 Election, the Republican Incumbent George W. Bush won the popular vote. Therefore, McCain Supporters will be cheering for the Redskins and Obama Supporters the Steelers.
The Redskins are 10-8 in those games, but have lost three of the last four. The last time the Redskins won was in 1996, with a 31-16 victory over the Indianapolis Colts. Bill Clinton was reelected president.
For the conspiracy minded, this might cause one to recall a classic episode of The X-Files television series entitled "Musings of a Cigarette Smoking Man". Aired during the series' fourth season, the secret government villain known as the Cigarette-Smoking Man is revealed to hold a Christmas Eve 1991 meeting during which such topics as which team would win the Super Bowl are to be decided:
LYDON: I'm working on next month's Oscar nominations. Any preference?
CIGARETTE-SMOKING MAN: I couldn't care less. What I don't want to see is the Bills winning the Super Bowl. As long as I'm alive, that doesn't happen.
JONES: That'll be tough, sir. Buffalo wants it bad.
CIGARETTE-SMOKING MAN: So did the Soviets in '80.
JONES: What're you saying? You rigged the Olympic hockey game?
CIGARETTE-SMOKING MAN: What's the matter? Don't you believe in miracles?
LYDON: The boss gave the Russian goaltender a pre-game good luck pat on the back... unseen novocaine needle on a bogus wedding ring. Goalie's a little slow on the stick side... four-three, home team.
It all sounds quite far-fetched of course until one considers this streak involving Redskins games in election years (cue X-Files theme music.)
ESPN is also scheduled to air interviews with both John McCain and Barack Obama at halftime of the game, conducted by ESPN's Chris Berman...