2010 Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers made a statement Sunday with a win over 2011 Heisman winner Robert Griffin III and the Washington Redskins, ending a five-game losing streak with Newton quieting growing skepticisms about his abilities as a player and leader. The win may also have broader implications off-the-field. The ‘Redskins Rule’ is a trend at the crossroads of politics and sports wherein since 1937, the year the NFL’s Redskins moved to Washington D.C., the result of the Redskins game the Sunday before the presidential election has correlated with the results for the incumbent party candidate in 17 of the last 18 elections. In 2008, the Redskins lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers before the election, and the White House incumbent party candidate John McCain lost in the general election to Barack Obama. In 1940, the Redskins beat the Pittsburgh Steelers and incumbent President Franklin D. Roosevelt was reelected. Only in 2004 did the Redskins game result not match the fate for the incumbent party candidate, as the Redskins lost to the Packers but incumbent President George W. Bush beat John Kerry. Supporters of the rule note though that in 2000, Gore won the popular vote, so the trend may still be undefeated if you consider Democrats not Republicans as the incumbent party in 2004.
Given Sunday’s 21-13 Redskins loss to the Panthers, incumbent President Barack Obama should lose to Mitt Romney if the ‘Redskins Rule’ holds true. POLITICO’s Dylan Byers also notes that the GOP has another trend advantage, in that Republican candidates have won in all six previous presidential elections held on November 6.