We’ve reached the point of the long, painful offseason at which we reach for tenuous connections between visiting dignitaries and sports success.
But, this stands out.
Mass Media E-Marketing Analytics put together this study – because all studies surrounding sports get instant publicity for [insert otherwise boring group] – about sports success for cities that host the Pope. The results pretty much make things a lock:
In addition to the ten championships in the year following a Papal visit, four additional teams won Championships two years following a visit from his Holiness. The Islanders and 49ers repeated in 1981 and 1989, respectively. In 1989, the Oakland A’s and the Detroit Pistons finally closed the deal with championships after losses in the World Series and the NBA Finals in 1988. Ironically, in 1988 those two teams lost to Los Angeles teams, a city the Pope also visited in 1987.
In the ten Pope visits to the U.S., 15 teams from host cities made it to the Championship Game the following year. In visits to 17 host cities with at least one major sports team, those cities saw 17 divisional champions. Along with divisional championships, those 17 cities saw 28 teams earn a playoff berth the season following a Pope’s visit.
Of course, an interesting wrinkle here is that none of the 10 teams that went on to win it all – or the others who saw success – cut Tim Tebow just a month before the Pontiff’s arrival. Not sure how that factors in to the holy moly. And it’s also worth noting that the Pope will be stopping by D.C. and New York this time around… but there’s no way the Mets pull it off, right?
H/T to reader Chris