Subscribe NowJoin over 30,000 other Vintage Value investors today!

The Super Bowl Stock Market Indicator

This post is sponsored by Amazon. Get your Super Bowl LI fan gear now!
Super Bowl Indicator LI - Vintage Value InvestingI hope everyone’s excited for Super Bowl 51 this Sunday!

What’s that? You don’t like football?

Well you better watch anyways, because the winner of the Super Bowl will determine if stocks are heading up or down in 2017.

Are you an Atlanta Falcons fan? You might want to start buying stocks.

New England Patriots fan? Better start selling.

The Super Bowl Indicator

Okay, so the winner of the Super Bowl won’t really have any effect on stocks – but there is a very interesting phenomenon going on (even if it is random).

It’s called the Super Bowl Indicator:

  • A win by an original National Football League team—from the days when there was an NFL and an American Football League, before the 1966 merger pact—means the market will be up for the year.
  • A win by a descendant of the AFL sends the market down.
  • Teams created since the merger count for their conference, National or American.

This means that a fifth Super Bowl victory by Tom Brady, Bill Belichick, and company on Sunday would send the stock market into negative territory for the rest of the year. However, if Matty Ice and the high-flying Falcons’ offense come through to win Atlanta’s first ever Super Bowl, then the stock market will rise by the end of the year.

Incredibly, the Super Bowl Indicator has had an 80% success rate, correctly predicting the direction of the Dow Jones Industrial Average’s movement in 40 of 50 Super Bowl years.

The Indicator had a 7 year streak going until last year, when the Denver Broncos dominated the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50. And before the Dot Com craze of 1998-2001 (during which the Indicator went 0-4), the Indicator had been accurate 90% of the time!

Super Bowl Indicator History 2017 - Vintage Value Investing
Click image to enlarge.
The last time the Super Bowl Indicator failed before 2016 was in 2008, when the New York Giants (NFC division) won the Super Bowl (which meant stocks should’ve gone up for the year). Of course, 2008 marked the start of the Great Recession, with the stock market suffering one of the largest downturns since the Great Depression.

(Can you really fault the Super Bowl Indicator though? 2008 was the year of the famous David Tyree Helmet Catch – which has become one of the most iconic plays in Super Bowl history and set up the New York Giants for the game-winning TD with 35 seconds left to seal the upset victory.)

The Super Bowl Indicator was popularized by Wall Street analyst Robert H. Stovall, who credits the original idea for the indicator to a NY Times sportswriter, Leonard Koppett, who discovered the correlation back in 1978.

Stovall, now 90, is the first to admit that “There is no intellectual backing for this sort of thing except that it works.”

Obviously he’s right. The Super Bowl Indicator is actually a great example of correlation without causation, also known as a spurious relationship.

Super Bowl LI: The New England Bears vs. The Atlanta Bulls

But correlation without causation doesn’t mean we can’t have fun with the Super Bowl Indicator.

With the DJIA essentially flat for the year so far, I’m guessing that Super Bowl LI is gonna be a close one!

What do you think?!

  • ralph

    You have made my day! Thanks again

  • Anonymous

    I am extremely impressed with your writing skills and also with the layout on your blog. Keep up the excellent quality writing!