If you believe in history and strange, possibly-but-possibly-not-meaningless patterns, the most reliable predictor of presidential elections is the outcome of the Redskins' final home game before an election.
When the Redskins win their last home game before a presidential election, the incumbent party holds on to control of the White House. When the Redskins lose their last home game before the election, the out-of-power party takes over. Works every time, all the way back to the franchise's first game in Washington in 1937.
"My favorite thing about the Redskins Rule is that the Redskins aren't permanently assigned to a political party," Elias Sports Bureau's Steve Hirdt said. "They're shifting fortunes."
Then, there's this: "As it currently stands, the Redskins Rule has been a more reliable indication than the popular vote itself," Hirdt said.
It's true. The popular vote is 16-for-17 and the Redskins Rule is 17-for-17, if you're talking about "The 2.0 version," as Hirdt calls it.
Oh, right. Forgot to mention that the Redskins Rule was amended after 2004's deciding game, when the Redskins lost to the Packers, 28-14, which meant that a John Kerry presidency was imminent.
"After that, we had to go back and see what the Redskins Rule really meant," Hirdt said. And so, as it were, he "re-stated" the Rule: If the Redskins win their last home game prior to a presidential election, then the party that won the popular vote in the previous election would win the White House, and vice versa. Since the popular vote went to Al Gore in 2000, the Rule made sense again...
So if you are wondering why Obama is hanging out with Steeler's Coach Mike Tomlin and waving a Steelers' Terrible Towel, now you know...