The Super Bowl and economic superstition

Well, now, this is a problem. If you’re a New England Patriots fan with money in the stock market, you have to decide which is more important: another Super Bowl trophy or the ability to retire.

The Boston Globe takes apart a superstition — that the market and economy do better when the NFC wins a Super Bowl — and finds that it’s true. Sort of:


Since the first Super Bowl in 1967, this superstition has held true 80 percent of the time (36 for 45); prior to 1997, the indicator was correct 28 times in 31 years, including going 12 for 13 between 1984 and 1996. Lucky for investors, in 40-plus years of Super Bowls, AFC teams that were not originally part of the NFL have won just a dozen times.

Still, whether or not a Patriots win historically hurts the economy is debatable. Of the six seasons the Pats have made it to the Super Bowl, the theory has held true four times; Brady & Co. beat Carolina in 2004, a bull year, and lost to the Giants in 2008, the third-worst year on record. In the four years where the Super Bowl indicator has held up, New England is 2-2, and stocks have gained a net total of 27.8 percent. But if you count all six Super Bowl seasons, stocks have lost a net total of 7.94 percent.

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