Sunday, January 30, 2011

Dressing for the Super Bowl

Over the next week leading up to the Super Bowl the football pundits will come forth with their theories about whether they think the Packers or the Steelers will win the big game, which they'll base on factors like how Packers' quarterback Aaron Rodger will fare against the Steelers' top-ranked defense, or whether Steelers' QB Ben Roethlisberger will be able to scramble out of tackles and make enough crucial plays to bring Pittsburgh its third title in six seasons.
Their arguments will be based on which team's coaches and players rise to the occasion.

Hey, they have to come up with something to say to fill all that airtime. However, victory won't so much be a matter of what the players do but of what the players wear.

Specifically, it will come down to this: Whichever team wears their white road jerseys will raise the Lombardi Trophy when the game is over.

How can I surmise the situation with such certainty based solely on sartorial circumstances? Simple: It's the pattern. Let's review recent Super Bowl victors:
Super Bowl 44: Saints (NFC)
Super Bowl 43: Steelers (AFC)
Super Bowl 42: Giants (NFC)
Super Bowl 41: Colts (AFC)
Super Bowl 40: Steelers (AFC)
Super Bowl 39: Patriots (AFC)

Notice something? The last six victors of the Super Bowl have worn their road white jerseys. That is an irrefutable fact. (The last time a team won in their home dark home jersey was the Patriots the year before.)

For those who don't follow football, the way the "home" and "road" teams for the Super Bowl (which is held in a neutral site) is that the conferences flip-flop who is designated as which each year; so the AFC representative is the home team one year, then the NFC representative is the home team the next, and so on.

As none of the teams who've won in these last six seasons wear white for their home uniform, the fact that the white-wearing team has won six in a row would suggest that the conferences have been trading championships each year, but those of you who know which teams are in which conference will notice that the Steelers victory between the Patriots and Colts puts the AFC with three in a row. The streak continued because in that year the Steelers were designated as the home team but chose to wear white instead. Why? They had to win all their playoff games that year on the road, so they had a streak of winning in white that they prudently continued when they had the choice. (Granted, some egregiously bad calls by the officials against the Seahawks helped them as well.) Without that the pattern would not be in effect—but it's also possible that had they worn black jerseys the team in Seattle would have gotten rings instead.

This year is the NFC's turn to be home team, which means that Green Bay will wear their home green jerseys. However, just like that 2005 Steelers team, they won all their playoff games on the road, so they're on a streak of winning in white. They could choose to continue wearing the white jerseys, and use the Steelers' superstition against them.

However, as of this post, the Packers plan to wear green, as seen in the photo at the top of the post (on the right).

So it appears the Steelers, clad in their white jerseys, will get their sixth championship.

Unless it's time for the pattern to shift and the dark-jersey team is due, in which case the Packers will raise the trophy named for their former coach.

Okay, now you think I'm waffling, so I'll tell you the sure bet, the one that guarantees victory (and will even cover the point spread): Put your money behind the team wearing yellow pants*.

Go team!


* Or, for fans of the teams, we can call them "gold" pants, even though that's the sort of distinction made only by people who are secretly ashamed of the color yellow (and makes it difficult to distinguish the color worn by the Packers and Steelers from the color worn by the 49ers and Saints).


All images are copyright NFL or their owners.


So, what do you think?