Super Bowl Winners Predict World Series?


Can success on the field to the right, lead to success on the field to the left? Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Is it possible to use the outcome of the Super Bowl to predict the World Series participants? I know it sounds ridiculous. But before you go dismissing the notion, allow me to share some facts with you.

Since 1967 (Super Bowl I), the 1969 New york Mets and New York Jets, the 1979 Pittsburgh Pirates and Pittsburgh Steelers and the 2004 Boston Red Sox and New England Patriots are the only times a city has won the Super Bowl and the World Series in the same year.

But there are other variables at play that may help to predict the 2014 MLB playoffs. Here is what I mean.


1969- The New York Jets win the Super Bowl, the New York Mets win the World Series. To make it even more interesting, the losing teams in each were both from Baltimore (Colts and Orioles respectively).

1971- The Baltimore Colts won the 1971 Super Bowl (the 1970 season). The Baltimore Orioles lost the 1971 World Series.

1975/76- The Pittsburgh Steelers won the Super Bowl (1974 season) in 1975 and the Pirates won the NL East but lost to the Reds in the NLCS in ’75. The Steelers won the Super Bowl again in ’76 (1975 season). The Pirates missed the playoffs that year.

1979/80- It was Pittsburgh again, winning the Super Bowl in 1979 as well as the World Series that year. They followed it up with another Super Bowl win in 1980. But the Pirates missed the playoffs in ’80.

1981- The Philadelphia Eagles lost the 1981 Super Bowl. The Phillies went to the World Series in ’81 and lost.

1983/84- The Dodgers captured the NL West in 1983 but lost the NLCS. The Los Angeles Raiders won the Super Bowl in ’84 (the 1983 season). The Dodgers missed the playoffs in ’84 but were back in ’85.

1986- The Patriots lost the Super Bowl and the Red Sox lost the World Series. (Insert Bill Buckner lost the WS jokes here)

1989- The San Francisco 49’ers won the Super Bowl, the San Francisco Giants lost the World Series and the Niners were back to win the 1990 Super Bowl (’89 season).

1991-1994- The Buffalo Bills lost four straight Super Bowls. In those four years, the Toronto Blue Jays (closest regional baseball team) lost the 1991 ALCS, won the 1992 and 1993 World Series and there was no World Series in 1994 due to the player’s strike.

1996- The Dallas Cowboys won the Super Bowl and the Texas Rangers made the playoffs, winning the AL West.

1999- The Atlanta Falcons lose the Super Bowl, the Atlanta Braves lose the World Series.

2000- The St. Louis Rams win the Super Bowl. The St. Louis Cardinals win the NL Central.

2001- The New York Giants lose the Super Bowl and the New York Yankees lose the World Series.

2002- The Rams lose the Super Bowl and The Cardinals win the NL Central.

2003- The Oakland Raiders lose the Super Bowl and the Oakland Athletics win the AL West.

2004- As I mentioned earlier, the Patriots and Red Sox were both champions this year.

2005- The Patriots won the Super Bowl and the Red Sox won the AL Wild-Card.

2007- The Chicago Bears lose the Super Bowl. The Chicago Cubs win the NL Central.

2008- The Patriots lose the Super Bowl. The Red Sox take the AL Wild-Card.

2012- The New York Football Giants win the Super Bowl. The New York Baseball Yankees win the AL East.

That’s more than 20 examples over the past 45+ years. Not exactly mind-blowing. I’m sure it’s mostly coincidental. But it makes me think.

There seem to be even more recent examples considering ten of the 22 have come in the past 14 years. Does having a Super Bowl title in your city motivate baseball players to perform at the highest level that next year?

Why this happens

I’m sure there is no one particular reason to explain this phenomenon but there may be some plausible hypotheses.

First of all, the buzz surrounding the city of a Super Bowl participant is astonishing. It is electric and contagious. Just look at what has happened in the city of Seattle this week.

There are 12th Man flags popping up EVERYWHERE. There was even a huge one at Safeco Field during Mariners FanFest. And then, the Mariners took out this ad in the Seattle Times.

Could all of the excitement from this season actually influence the Mariners to do whatever it takes to make the postseason and compete for the World Series THIS year?

Not so fast. For one thing, let’s look again at the numbers. How many times did the winning Super Bowl city win the World Series? THREE. But it also so happens that the losing Super Bowl city/area WON the World Series two other times (1992,1993).

Here are the stats:

So as you can see, the winning Super Bowl city has sent a team to the MLB playoffs 12 out of 47 times, while the losing Super Bowl city has had a team go to the MLB playoffs 18 out of 47 times.

Based solely on this data, I give you the odds of the Mariners making the playoffs in 2014 based on who wins Super Bowl 48.

If Denver Wins:

Mariners win World Series- 24-1
Mariners lose World Series- 8-1
Mariners make playoffs- 3-1
Mariners miss playoffs- 3-2

If Seattle Wins:

Mariners win World Series- 16-1
Mariners lose World Series- 24-1
Mariners make playoffs- 4-1
Mariners miss playoffs- 7-5

Given the numbers, is it crazy to want the Seahawks to lose the Super Bowl to give the Mariners a better shot at making the playoffs, despite having better odds of winning it all if the Seahawks win? Of course it’s crazy.