Strange Super Bowl Iowa Caucus Coincidence
By Bob Calhoun
The results of Monday's Iowa Caucuses may have shocked political
pundits and observers, but they could have been accurately
predicted by watching the weekend's NFL playoff games. Only
a day before the Iowa Caucus it was determined that the New
England Patriots would face the Carolina Panthers in this
year's Super Bowl. The following day on Monday Senator John
Kerry of Massachusetts (where the Patriots play) and John
Edwards of North Carolina took first and second place respectively
in a big upset over former front runners Howard Dean and Dick
Things get stranger still when you realize that the Super
Bowl this year is being played in Houston, Texas at a stadium
named after a corporate energy giant. What could possibly
be more representative of G. W. Bush than that?
While it is easy to dismiss such a seemingly cosmic confluence
as the mere work of coincidence, it wasn't that long ago that
the New England Patriots were seen by many to represent our
national zeitgeist. It was February 3, 2002 in the Super Bowl
that followed the terrorist attacks of 9/11 that those plucky
Pats beat the heavily favored St. Louis Rams by a field goal
in the last ten seconds of the game.
At the time, Americans of all political persuasions still
displayed the Stars and Stripes in their front yards in a
show of unity. We had been through a staggering tragedy and
were displaying our patriotism like never before. An upset
win by a team called, well, the Patriots that sported red,
white and blue in their logos took on an epic significance
that couldn't have been any more symbolic if it had been scripted
by Hulk Hogan. The football franchise had achieved a national
moment of healing, brought to you by the NFL and Pepsi.
New England quarterback Tom Brady doesn't have the war-weary
eyes of Senate veteran John Kerry (in fact Brady barely looks
over 20 years old), but he has won that prized Super Bowl
ring once before so he has an edge in experience over his
Carolina counterpart Jake Delhomme. The Carolina Panthers
were an NFL expansion team that played its inaugural game
in 1995, while John Edwards is a first time Senator who was
elected in 1998. For both Senator Edwards and his Carolina
Panthers, lack of time on the playing field is most often
cited as the reason that they can't both go all the way, but
they have gotten this far.
Carolina's January 18th win over the Philadelphia Eagles
was just as big an upset as Edwards' second place finish in
Iowa over Howard Dean and Dick Gephardt. While Dean may feel
as wounded as injured Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb, he
will compete in upcoming primaries, while McNabb has to wait
for his ribs to heal and next season. Sadly, there will be
no next season for Gephardt. There is no way to forecast Governor
Dean's political future because, well, Vermont doesn't have
a football team.
It remains to be seen if the team that takes the Super Bowl
on February 1 will mirror the Democrat who goes against Bush
in November, but I will offer you the following bit of political
crystal ball gazing through the world of sports: if New England
wins the Super Bowl, and Kerry wins his party's nomination,
and then the beloved Bos Sox break the curse of the Bambino
and win the World Series, then George Bush and his gazillion
dollar war chest are going down.
There are a lot of ifs there to be sure, but if all of those
events should occur this year, then all of the Karl Roves
in the world won't be able to help W get re-elected. You can
bet on that at the sports book in Vegas.
Bob Calhoun is a freelance writer who specializes in strange
sports stories and odd cultural confluences.