Friday, October 29, 2004

One Good Shot Syndrome

Three eventful weeks have gone by since the last West Coast Offensive column. During that time, the Packers lost the next game, dropping to 1-4.This had many of us convinced that yet another (maybe the last) Brett Favre season would be squandered. It also sent many casual Packer fans off to find other hobbies for the rest of the football season.

Occasional golfers are probably familiar with the "one good shot" syndrome.They don't play often enough to keep their game in tune. So when they do play, things can go pretty badly. The front nine is miserable. The back nine is not much better. Then, on maybe the 17th tee, the occasional golfer hits one just right. Straight down the fairway. A beautiful shot. And that one good shot is enough to convince the golfer not to give up on the game.

These last two weeks have been like that for Packer fans. Oh, sure, I am going to watch all the games anyway. My NFL Sunday Ticket package is paid up for the whole season. But, let's face it. Sundays would be a lot less fun now if the Packers were at 1-6, instead of 3-4. They have climbed just close enough to being back in the race that each game seems to matter again.For a while, anyway.

And that brings us to this week's game at the Washington Redskins. A game that brings together Packer football and the Presidential election. For it turns out that there are many factors that historically have been good predictors of the Presidential election. The candidate whose Halloween mask sells best usually wins (Bush, in this case). The candidate who wins in various national school polls usually wins (Bush again). And there is a very interesting indicator relating to the Redskins' last home game before the election. This has been reported in a number of venues, but here is how it was described by Gregg Easterbrook,'s Tuesday Morning Quarterback:

"As many readers, including Dan Danka of Pittsburgh, have pointed out,forget the polls and focus groups, the Washington Redskins reliably predict elections. For each presidential contest going back to 1940 -- the first presidential year the Redskins performed in Washington -- if in their final home game before the voting the Skins win, then the party in power keeps the White House; if the Skins lose, the party out of power takes the White House. This Sunday, Green Bay plays at Washington in the Redskins' final home appearance before the election. So if the Packers win, John Kerry will be the next president, while if the Redskins win, George W. Bush will be re-elected. How fitting the Packers should draw this assignment -- they're from a swing state, Wisconsin! TMQ has learned, on an exclusive basis, that the Democratic National Committee has been funneling donations to the Green Bay salary cap, while the Pentagon has secretly equipped Redskins quarterbacks with GPS-guided footballs. Remember, this is a Tuesday Morning Quarterback exclusive."

So, what is a Packer fan to do? Here is my advice. To John Kerry fans, you have no problem. Go out and root for the Packers on Sunday, and then root for Mr. Lambert Field on Tuesday. To fans of George Bush, you know as well as I do that this is one of those weird coincidences. It is, in short, junk science. So root for the Packers on Sunday and do not worry about the outcome of the election.

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