Look out, Wall Street: Tom Brady and the New England Patriots have spoken, and their Super Bowl victory on Sunday may portend a down year for the market.
That’s according to the Super Bowl Indicator, a fun but completely unscientific predictor that says stocks will fall if a team from the original American Football League, or its AFC descendants, wins the Super Bowl. If a team from the original National Football League — the leagues merged in 1970 — wins, the market rises. Expansion teams created after the merger get counted for whichever conference they’re in, the NFC or AFC.
This year, the Patriots represented the AFC, and the Falcons the NFC. The Patriots won Sunday’s big game, 34-28, in overtime.
Over the Super Bowl’s history, the indicator has been right 40 out of 50 years — a whopping 80% success rate. It’s lagged a bit of late, though. Since 2000, the indicator has been right 12 out of 17 years — a 70 percent success rate. After being correct seven years in a row, 2016 defied the prognostication — the AFC’s Denver Broncos won the Super Bowl, but the stock markets posted yearly gains.
The Dow Jones industrial average was rooting for a win from the Atlanta Falcons — the index has gained an average of 11.4% when an NFC team wins, compared to averaging a 0.85% loss in years the NFC loses.
“There is no intellectual backing for this sort of thing, except that it works,” Wall Street analyst Robert H. Stovall told the Wall Street Journal in 2016.