Last year, I looked at the mythical “Super Bowl Indicator” and tried to predict what NFL playoff team’s victory would be best for the stock market. For those who may have forgotten, the Super Bowl Indicator states that “if an old AFL team wins the Super Bowl, the stock market will decline during that calendar year and if an original NFL team wins, the Dow Jones industrial average will rise“.
Out of the 12 teams in the 2007 playoffs, the Super Bowl featured the worst for the market (the New England Patriots) and the 3rd best (the New York Giants). Unfortunately, the market failed to react to a Giants’ Super Bowl victory as it had in the past. Whereas the market had previously increased an average of 9.5% following a Giants win, in 2008 the market decreased nearly 34%, according to MarketWatch.com.
The disastrous ride of 2008 stock market does not fare well for the Giants, who are one of five teams making a return appearance from last year’s playoffs. Other teams returning to the playoff from last season include the Indianapolis Colts, San Diego Chargers, Tennessee Titans, and Pittsburgh Steelers. New comers to the playoffs include the Atlanta Falcons, Arizona Cardinals, Baltimore Ravens, Miami Dolphins, Philadelphia Eagles, Minnesota Vikings, and Carolina Panthers.
So assuming the Super Bowl Indicator is still a valid way to pick a winner (despite the 2008 failure, the Indicator is still holds a 78% success rate), which team should be the market’s favorite to win the NFL championship?
Not to be trusted: The teams of the old AFL – current AFC
12. Miami Dolphins – The Dolphins are the absolute worst team for the market to cheer for. Following their Super Bowl victories in Jan 1973 and Jan 1974 the stock market fell a whopping 45%. According to Wikipedia, it was “one of the worst stock market downturns in modern history”. Despite Wikipedia’s reasons that the crash was a result of “the collapse of the Bretton Woods system”, the ‘Nixon Shock’, the “United States dollar devaluation”, and the “outbreak of the 1973 oil crisis”, the impact of an original AFC victory must not be underestimated.
11. San Diego Chargers – Although the Chargers have never won a Super Bowl, and have never been the cause of a drop in the stock market, they are an original AFL team and hence should not be rooted for.
10. Tennessee Titans (originally Houston Oilers) – The Titans, like the Chargers and Dolphins, are also an original AFC team. Like the Chargers, the Titans have never won a Super Bowl. Unlike the previous two franchises, however, the Titans shed original identity as the Houston Oilers in 1997. As I mentioned last year, this fact puts them slightly ahead of the Chargers. But not by much.
The new AFC team
9. Baltimore Ravens – The Baltimore Ravens provide an interesting case. In 1995, the Cleveland Browns, an original AFC team, moved from Cleveland to Baltimore and became the Ravens. This should mean the Ravens are an original AFC team. However, due to public outrage, the Ravens do not carry the Browns franchise history, making them an “expansion team”. Unfortunately, their detachment from their AFC roots did not preclude them from negatively affecting the stock market after their 2001 Super Bowl win. According to Wikipedia, the NASDAQ dropped 21.05% in 2001 and the Dow lost 5.35% of its value.
The new NFC team
8. Carolina Panthers – As an NFC team (albeit not an original), the Carolina Panthers get the benefit of the doubt. Although they have not won a Super Bowl, they should be rooted for before any of the AFC teams with similar histories.
Current AFC – Former NFC teams (repeated from last year)
7. Indianapolis (originally Baltimore) Colts – Although originally an NFC team, the Colts’ affiliation to their current conference does put them in bad company. However, they are provided a respite thanks to recent history. Perhaps their realignment after the AFL-NFL merger can explain why 2007 was such an extremely volatile year in the stock market, with numerous triple-digit gains and losses, mortgage industry problems, rising oil prices, and a downtrodden housing market. Despite the inconsistency, the Dow Jones did conclude the year 6.43% higher.
6. Pittsburgh Steelers – Similar to the Colts, the Steelers are also not an original AFL team, having similarly moved from the NFL to the AFC. The franchise’s roots may explain the market’s friendliness to Steelers’ championships. For example, following Steelers’ victories, the market climbed 27% after 1974, 15% after 1975, 4% after 1978, 13% after 1979, and 14% after 2006. Despite these successes and subsequent market performances, as a current AFC team, the Steelers remain a risk.
The original NFL teams
5. New York Giants – As I mentioned, last year the Giants were one of the best teams to root for. The market had increased after their championships in 1986 and 1991. Although two out of three isn’t bad and Giants are an original NFL team, the market’s abysmal 2008 performance brought the Giants overall impact to a negative 14%.
4. Atlanta Falcons – The Falcons enter the 2008 playoffs without a title to their history, even prior to the AFL-NFL merger. Despite their lack of championship pedigree, the Falcons should be rooted for based on their history as an original NFL team.
3. Minnesota Vikings – Like the Falcons, the Vikings have not won an NFL Championship since the 1970 merger. However, they did win their only championship the year before in 1969. Following that season, in 1970, the market increased 5%.
2. Arizona Cardinals – The Arizona Cardinals are also one of a few teams that have not won a Super Bowl. They did however win two championships before the merger, in 1925 and 1947. In the years following Cardinal championships, 1926 and 1948, the market had approximate overall increases.
1. Philadelphia Eagles – Despite zero championships since the AFL-NFL merger, the Philadelphia Eagles won championships in 1948, 1949, and 1960. Following their ’48 title, the market increased 11.2%. The following year, after another Eagles championship, the market climbed 15.4%; and after the Eagles won it all in 1960, the market soared 15.7%.
Although I had to scour the record books, dust off some ancient market results, and consider pre-Super Bowl Indicator data, I did what had to be done to find the best team for the market. In these troubled times, we can not be misled by teams with mediocre market impacts. We need a team with a proven record of positive market influence. That is why I am throwing my support behind the Philadelphia Eagles in their quest for 2008 NFL glory.