Will Redskins Rule again determine outcome of presidential election?


Robert Griffin III never knew he had so much power. (Associated Press)

The Washington Redskins on Sunday take on the Carolina Panthers in a must-win game as they try to inch closer to .500 rather than fall to 3-6 and virtually out of playoff contention.

But, the fate of the free world also is riding on Washington’s outcome. If history holds true, a Redskins victory would mean another four years for President Obama. A Redskins loss would mean a victory for Mitt Romney.

You may have heard of this. It’s called the Redskins Rule.

Since 1940 — when the Redskins moved to D.C. — the team’s outcome in its final game before the presidential election has predicted which party would win the White House each time but once.

When the Redskins win their game before the election, the incumbent party wins the presidential vote. If the Redskins lose, the non-incumbent wins.

The only exception was in 2004, when Washington fell to Green Bay, but George W. Bush still went on to win the election over John Kerry.

Here’s a rundown of the Redskins Rule games since 1940:

  • 1940 – Redskins 37, Steelers 10 – Roosevelt (D) defeats Willkie.
  • 1944 – Redskins 14, Rams 10 – Roosevelt defeats Dewey.
  • 1948 – Redskins 59, Boston Yanks 21 – Truman (D) defeats Dewey.
  • 1952 – Steelers 24, Redskins 23 – Eisenhower (R) defeats Stevenson.
  • 1956 – Redskins 20, Browns 9 – Eisenhower defeats Stevenson.
  • 1960 – Browns 31, Redskins 10 – Kennedy (D) defeats Nixon.
  • 1964 – Redskins 27, Bears 20 – Johnson (D) defeats Goldwater.
  • 1968 – Giants 13, Redskins 10 – Nixon (R) defeats Humphrey.
  • 1972 – Redskins 24, Cowboys 20 – Nixon defeats McGovern.
  • 1976 – Cowboys 20, Redskins 7 – Carter (D) defeats Ford.
  • 1980 – Vikings 39, Redskins 14 – Reagan (R) defeats Carter.
  • 1984 – Redskins 27, Falcons 14 – Reagan defeats Mondale.
  • 1988 – Redskins 27, Saints 24 – Bush defeats Dukakis.
  • 1992 – Giants 24, Redskins 7 – Clinton (D) defeats Bush.
  • 1996 – Redskins 31, Colts 16 – Clinton defeats Dole.
  • 2000 – Titans 27, Redskins 21 – Bush (R) defeats Gore.
  • 2004 – Packers 28, Redskins 13 – Bush defeats Kerry, ending the streak.
  • 2008 – Steelers 23, Redskins 6 – Obama (D) defeats McCain, restoring the Redskins Rule.
  • 2012 – Redskins vs. Panthers – Obama vs. Romney – TBD
Mike Jones covers the Washington Redskins for The Washington Post. When not writing about a Redskins development of some kind – which is rare – he can be found screaming and cheering at one of his kids’ softball, baseball, soccer or basketball games.

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Mark Maske · November 2, 2012

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