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Wall Street's Super Bowl Favorite: Go Pack!

Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers
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Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers

While it may break the football hearts of hometown fans at the market exchanges in Chicago and New York, history shows that investors will be better off if the Pittsburgh Steelers and Green Bay Packers play in the Super Bowl.

Sorry, Bears and Jets fans, but in the combined 11 NFL championship games in which either the Steelers (6-1) or Packers (3-1) have played, the Standard & Poor’s 500 has never turned in a losing year.

While neither the Bears nor Jets have near the Super history of their respective opponents in Sunday’s conference title games, the market performance during the years either of the teams went on to the big game was spotty.

According to research from Capital IQ, when the Steelers play the S&P usually gains 25 percent. In the Packers’ four Super Bowl trips, the market usually posts subsequent gains of 24 percent. (OK sports fans, stop hyperventilating. This is all in good fun. Everyone knows the Super Bowl can’t predict the stock market. Right?)

Conversely, in the long-suffering Jets’ only Super Bowl appearance, in 1969 when quarterback Joe Namath boldly and correctly guaranteed a win over Johnny Unitas’ Colts, the market didn’t respond in kind. Instead, the S&P 500 lost 8.4 percent. Hear that, Mark Sanchez?

For Da Bears, the Monsters of the Midway’s two Super Bowl appearances actually have netted gains, but tepid by comparison: The team’s victory in Super Bowl XX – under Coach Ditka – preceded a market gain of 19 percent, while the Super Bowl XLI loss to Peyton Manning’s Colts was ahead of a 6 percent gain. In all, decent numbers but not exactly the type that would make George “Papa Bear” Halas proud.

So if you haven’t had enough, Capital IQ took this nifty little research a few steps further.

This year’s playoff configuration has one big plus on its side: Whenever a former title winner plays in the Super Bowl, the market gains an average of 13 percent. Each of the remaining teams has at least one Super Bowl win to its credit.

Working against the market is when games are played in Dallas (an average 8 percent loss) and indoors (Dallas has a retractable roof) when the market usually returns only 3 percent.

The market also likes high-scoring games. When the combined final score exceeds 45 points, the S&P usually gains 17 percent, while under that total yields a 5 percent gain.

Finally, the market acts better after an NFC team wins, with a gain of 15 percent, against a 7 percent rise when the AFC wins. Curiously, the market’s best year—a 38 percent gain in 1995 —and its worst year—a 37 percent loss in 2008—came after an NFC victory.

So if you’re keeping score at home, here’s the market play (and it pains me as a lifelong Vikings fan to have to say this): The Packers and the over.

Sorry Rex Ryan, but to paraphrase former Giant coach Bill Parcells: You are what your S&P return says you are.

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