Did Washington's win over Dallas predict the 2020 Election result?

According to a long-running "rule", Washington's home win over Dallas in NFL Week 7 means that Donald Trump will win the 2020 U.S. Election. The "Washington Rule" has correctly called 18 of 22 election results but is 1-3 the past four presidential election

Last Updated: Oct 28, 2020 1:40 PM ET
Washington Football Team DL Chase Young
Photo By - USA Today Images

The nation – and the world – are counting down to November 3 and the U.S. Presidential Election. But while the ballots have yet to be counted in this battle between Donald Trump and Joe Biden, the result of the election may have already been decided… by a football game. 

That’s right. When the Washington Football Team defeated the Dallas Cowboys 25-3 last Sunday, they not only snapped a five-game losing skid but handed the presidency back to Trump for another four years, at least according to a long-running election-year trend formerly known as the “Redskins Rule”.

The “Washington Football Team Rule” – as it would be known now – states that when Washington wins its final home game before Election Day, the incumbent party retains office and when it loses, the opposing party will take over the presidency. 

This trend has been around since 1932 and has hit with accuracy in 18 of the subsequent 22 elections, including a perfect 17-0 mark predicting the president from 1936 to 2000. However, the wheels have wobbled in recent years, with the “Washington Rule” going just 1-3 over the past four elections, including Trump’s victory in 2016.

Year Game Result Washington Win/Loss Rule Upheld?
2020 Washington 25 - Dallas 3  Win TBD
2016 Washington 27 - Philadelphia 20 Win No
2012 Washington 13 - Carolina 21 Loss No
2008 Washington 6 - Pittsburgh 23 Loss Yes
2004 Washington 14 - Green Bay 28 Loss No
2000 Washington 21 - Tennessee 27  Loss Yes
1996 Washington 31 - Indianapolis 16 Win Yes
1992 Washington 7 - New York Giants 24 Loss Yes
1988 Washington 27 - New Orleans 24 Win Yes
1984 Washington 27 - Atlanta 14 Win Yes
1980 Washington 14 - Minnesota 39 Loss Yes
1976 Washington 7 - Dallas 20 Loss Yes
1972 Washington 24 - Dallas 20  Win Yes
1968 Washington 10 - New York Giants 13 Loss Yes
1964 Washington 27 - Chicago 20 Win Yes
1960 Washington 10 - Cleveland 31 Loss Yes
1956 Washington 20 - Cleveland 9  Win Yes
1952 Washington 23 - Pittsburgh 24 Loss Yes
1948 Washington 59 - Boston 21 Win Yes
1944 Washington 14 - Cleveland 10 Win Yes
1940 Washington 37 - Pittsburgh 10 Win Yes
1936 Washington 13 - Chicago 10 Win Yes
1932 Washington 19 - Staten Island 6 Win No

The Washington Football Team have a bye his week and play their next game at home against the New York Giants on November 8 – five days after Election Day. That means the Week 7 result versus Dallas is the deciding home game for this rule. 

If you buy into this trend, then the time to bet on Trump is now. The president is set at +163 to win the election, with Biden pegged as a -190 favorite. Early poll projections lean toward the Democrats, but as we saw in 2016, the early projections don’t mean squat. 

Trump entered Election Day 2016 as a +400 underdog versus Hilary Clinton and jumped as high as -10,000 that Tuesday night as the results rolled in across the U.S.

 

Another football matchup with predictive power has been the Alabama-LSU rivalry in the SEC. A Crimson Tide victory signaled an election victory for the Democrats while a Tigers’ win meant the Republicans would take over the Oval Office. 

This rivalry trend had correctly called the winning party for eight straight elections, from 1984 to 2012, however, Trump's 2016 election win bucked this trend with Alabama beating LSU 10-0 on November 5, 2016 – three days ahead of Election Day. 

1984: LSU 16, Alabama 14. Ronald Reagan (R) defeats Walter Mondale (D).
1988: LSU 19, Alabama 18. George H.W. Bush (R) defeats Michael Dukakis (D).
1992: Alabama 31, LSU 11. Bill Clinton (D) defeats George H.W. Bush (R).
1996: Alabama 26, LSU 0. Clinton (D) defeats Bob Dole (R).
2000: LSU 30, Alabama 28. George W. Bush (R) defeats Al Gore (D).
2004: LSU 26, Alabama 10. George W. Bush (R) defeats John Kerry (D).
2008: Alabama 27, LSU 21. Barack Obama (D) defeats John McCain (R).
2012: Alabama 21, LSU 17. Barack Obama (D) defeats Mitt Romney (R).
2016: Alabama 10, LSU 0. Donald Trump (R) defeats Hilary Clinton (D).

This year, Alabama and LSU don’t play until November 14 with the Crimson Tide likely set as sizable road favorites versus the Tigers. So it looks like we're stuck with Washington's victory over "America's Team" to determine America's next president.

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