Who's likely to win the Super Bowl on Sunday? That's easy if you follow the jobless rate. The jobless rate? Oh, yes.
You see, the outplacement firm RiseSmart says that the team whose metropolitan area boasts the lower unemployment rate during the previous calendar year has won 20 of the last 25 Super Bowls.
For the past three years, RiseSmart has analyzed U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics to come up with past winners and now possible future champions. They say that a case can be made that a fan base with lower unemployment is more likely to attend games, buy team gear, celebrate at sports bars and cheer their team on to victory. (Read more: For Super Bowl Ads, It's Go Viral or Go Home)
At the other end, an area that's struggling with high unemployment might have subtle but "insidious effects on a team's morale."
"Economic prosperity is pretty much tied to the success of teams in the Super Bowl and a good predictor of who will win," said Sanjay Sathe, CEO of RiseSmart.
So, between Baltimore and San Francisco, who had the better employment rate through 2012 and who will likely win the Super Bowl?
Sorry 49er fans, it's Baltimore at 7.2 percent compared to 8.2 percent for San Francisco.
Of course there is hope. Three times New York had a higher unemployment rate and yet the Giants won the Super Bowl in 2012, 2008 and 1991. The other two teams that beat the unemployment odds were Pittsburgh when the Steelers defeated the Seattle Seahawks in 2006 and the St Louis Rams in 2000 when they beat the Tennessee Titans.
But when it comes to a winning game plan, if NFL fans want their team to win the big game 2014, start getting each other jobs now.