From last Sunday's Tendown, just so I can give it a separate post - it's 44 Super Bowls vs. 44 Presidents!
I had the idea to organize the Tendown around Super Bowl MVPs v. Presidents matchups (because Obama is the 44th President and this is the 44th Super Bowl)
And then, Friday night, I found this. Son of a bitch. I should have planned better for this. Go there, it's where you want to go. He beat me to it. Grrrrrrr. But I decided to plow my way through it anyway. Because even though I'm teaching 8 courses, trying to sell my house, buy a car and coordinate moving two households into one - I feel a need to bury myself in more work. Least you can do is read it. (Dude got a book deal; my list is better.)
Here's how I'd analyze the 44 matchups, I'll note where my outcome is different than the one given on that dude's site, to which you should still go. Grrr....
1. Washington v. SB1 Pack v. Chiefs - Winner: Washington
-Both more important for where they stood historically than for their content - but Washington wins because SB1 was not recognized at the time as of real moment; it wasn't seen by the men involved as the embarking of a cataclysmic event - but the origin of the United States was not like that; those involved saw themselves as doing great things - things of moment - things of import. The stakes weren't just high in retrospect like SB1; they were high at the time. Washington wins. Plus, he would tie his men to a tree and beat them when they threatened to desert during the War, and I'm pretty sure Lombardi did the same thing to Paul Hornung. Washington wins. Presidents 1-0
2. Adams v. SB2 Pack v. Raiders - Winner: SB2 (the site picked Adams)
-SB2 was a dog game, but it continued to establish the greatness of the dynastic Packers (and Oakland was a sneaky all time great SB loser) Adams was a failed Presidency; he supported the Alien and Sedition Acts which made it a crime to criticize, well, Adams (freedom of speech, despite looking nice in the Bill of Rights, wasn't enforced the way we think of it until the 20th century; think of all the supression of corporate ideas which must have occurred before then) and was the only President in the first 5 not to win election to a second term. SB2 wins. Tied.
3. Jefferson v. SB3 Jets v. Colts - Winner: SB3 (the site picked Jefferson)
-Incredibly difficult, just incredibly difficult. The Louisiana Purchase transformed the nature of the country, both in size and in the use of government in that fashion (Marbury v. Madison also takes place during the Jefferson Administration - but that really worked in opposition to Jeffersonian beliefs) but the Embargo Acts were a pretty good fail; if I was evaluating the totality of Jefferson's career, he'd blow by Joe Willie based on the Declaration of Independence and the articulation of the separation of church and state (and dude created his own Bible by ripping apart all of the elements of magic, as Jesus as mortal philosopher was the only element he could sign off on). But SB3 transformed the Super Bowl - the AFL win turned it from what was basically just a souped up world title game into the Super Bowl; further, Namath's guarantee and the firestorm it creates is not only the template for the modern day Super Bowl hype week, but also ushers in the modern athlete into professional football, and the modern athlete v. the establishment is the throughline of my entire sports narrative. Jefferson finished 7th on the CSPAN ranking of Presidents, but, oh man...SB3 wins. Super Bowls 2-1
4. Madison v. SB4: Chiefs v. Vikes -Winner Madison (site picked the game)
-Another hard call, SB4 is a forgettable game outside of Kansas City and most of Madison's accomplishments are pre-Administration, as the primary architect of the Constitution. But he served two terms and while the War of 1812 ended in a draw - it did lead to the first peace with England in 40 years, peace that remains today. Let's go Madison in a nailbiter over the mic'd up Stram. Tied.
5. Monroe v. SB5: Colts v. Cowboys -Winner: Monroe
-SB5 was probably the worst of the SBs, low scoring and plagued by turnovers, just a sloppy, feckless game - Monroe wasn't lots better, the Monroe Doctrine is jingoistic and would be used as pretext for American intervention in Latin America later in the century, the Missouri Compromise came in 1820 which was patchwork on the fundamental structural flaw in the country, the cancer of slavery. But 11 turnovers! 11 turnovers is an epic fail, no one would call an 11 turnover game the Era of Good Feelings. So it's an easy win for Monroe. 3-2
6. JQ Adams v. SB6: Cowboys v. Doplphins - Winner: SB 6 (site picked Adams)
-Largely harmless, Adams and his dad are the only one term Presidents in the first 7; his Administration's a fail - SB6 is just for Cowboy fans, I've got Staubach's performance as the 18th best by a QB in SB history and that provides the edge for the game. JQA did say that the historian must know no country, and I use that as part of my "it's not my job to stand here and chant U-S-A for the next 3 months of your lives" history professor rap - but he wasn't Roger Staubach. Tied
7. Jackson v. SB7: Dolphins v. Redskins - Winner: Jackson
-Jackson was a populist, his Administration the origin of the modern Democratic Party - and that cuts both ways; his supporters included non-property owners, as the American political system began to be opened up to those beyond the wealthiest - but with that populism came a campaign predicated on anti-intellectualism, came Indian Removal, came the defiance of Worcester v. Georgia when the Supreme Court restricted Georgia's power to have jurisdiction over tribal lands and Jackson supported Georgia's refusal to follow that decision. But he was able to back South Carolina down in the Nullification Crisis and fought the Bank of the United States explicitly due to its concentrating wealth in too many hands. SB7 had Garo Yepremian throwing that pass. Now, we'd think that, as the culmination of the perfect Dolphins season it would have an epic feel - but the Dolphins opponents that season had a .367 winning percentage and they were not viewed as a monster champion. Jackson is far, far, far from perfect, and if a Native American wanted to gently raise a hand in disagreement I don't want to be at the lectern opposite in the debate over this game - but I'm gonna say he takes it. 4-3.
8. Van Buren v. SB8: Dolphins v. Vikes - Winner SB8 (site picked MVB, this is clear error)
Van Buren got hit with the Panic of '37 and was unable (to be fair, largely for reasons beyond his office) to respond - his Administration was crippled from the outset. Similar to SB2, the game is largely just important for reflecting the dominance of the back-to-back champions. I've got Griese's game here as the 28th best in SB QB history (passer rating of 110.1) and that beats MVB, who CSPAN ranks as the 31st best President ever. Tied
9. Harrison v. SB9: Steelers v. Vikes - Winner SB9
Harrison served a dozen days and died. SB9 went the full 60 minutes and a couple of the Steelers steroid laden offensive lineman are still with us. That's enough. Super Bowls 5-4
10. Tyler v. SB10: Steelers v. Cowboys - Winner SB10
Tyler was the first Manifest Destiny President; states rights - pro-slavery, let's take Texas from Mexico and make it a slave state to increase the power of the slaveholding south. He's a full on bad president, without redemption. CSPAN has him 35th. SB X was the first Steeler/Cowboy game with Swann making those catches. I've got Bradshaw's game as the 15th best QB performance in SB history, and this was the Steelers best team of their dynasty. This one's an absolute blowout. Super Bowls 6-4
11. Polk v. SB11: Raiders v. Vikes - Winner SB 11 (site went Polk, and for the same reasons I pick against him)
Polk invaded Mexico. We started the Mexican American War solely for expansionist reasons, to kill Mexicans and take their stuff. Manifest Destiny was the politics of the day and Polk ran with it - he also nearly caused a war with England when we fought over Oregon's borders with Canada. We forced a sale from Mexico of half a million square miles of territory and the only reason we didn't take all of Mexico was a desire not to incorporate their population into our country. The Raiders won SB11. Only guy who got hurt there was Tarkenton. The only Spot Resolutions requested were to determine If Old Man Willie Brown stepped out of bounds on that pick. No points for imperialism at The Blog of Revelation. Super Bowls 7-4.
12. Taylor v. SB12: Cowboys v. Broncos - Winner SB12 (site went Taylor)
Taylor got run over by Henry Clay in the slave debate; he was opposed to the Compromise of 1850 which included vigorous Fugitive Slave Act enforcement, which is a point in his favor, but he didn't have the political strength to stop it. The Broncos got run over by a similarly evil force - the Dallas Cowboys. You'd want either side to put up a better fight - but Taylor's fight killed him and Craig Morton went on to live a fruitful and productive life. I'll take the game and now it's Super Bowls 8-4 and the Presidency is in a good sized early second quarter hole.
13. Fillmore v. SB13: Steelers v. Cowboys - Winner SB13
Fillmore, like Taylor before him, was impotent in trying to navigate all sides of the slave issue; SB13 was a terrific game, Bradshaw's performance was the 8th best by a SB QB (and Staubach was 23rd, he and Bradshaw both had QB ratings over 100 and was the second best QB'd game in SB history). An all-time great game and another blowout for the game. Super Bowls 9-4
14. Pierce v. SB14: Steelers v. Rams - Winner SB14
Pierce signed the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which furthered our march to war and spent his term trying to get Cuba from Spain to serve as a slave colony. As the country was being torn apart by slavery the American presidency furthered that tearing with their explicitly expansionist policies. CSPAN has him 40th. The Steelers concluded their empire building by taking out the upstart Rams. Super Bowls 10-4
15. Buchanan v. SB15: Raiders v. Eagles - Winner SB15 (the site picked Buchanan)
Dred Scott was decided in Buchanan's term, and it was a decision he played a role in generating, as he believed it would give him political cover in the slavery debate. He was also after whom the school in Welcome Back Kotter was named. For that, CSPAN has him ranked last and Epstein's mother wrote a note to get him excused from class. Plunkett had the 5th best QB'd SB ever here, he had a rating of 145 with 12+yards/attempt. The Raiders upset the Eagles nearly three decades ago - but there's no upset here. Super Bowls 11-4
16. Lincoln v. SB16: Niners v. Bengals - Winner: Lincoln
Aw, hell. This game is no fun anymore. Look, Lincoln suspended habeas corpus, which is wrong - and was moved by circumstance into the equal rights position he wound up taking. But, you know, considering the context of the surrounding Presidents, the guy that saved the Union and ended slavery is ranked first by CSPAN for a reason. 16 is my Niners; it's the Goal Line Stand! Our first ever title - my first title in anything ever. This is the toughest matchup since #3, but, with malice toward none and chairty to all, I turn to the better angels of my nature and pick Abe. I'm sorry. I don't like making this pick. I want to stop writing now. Super Bowls 11-5
17. Johnson v. SB17: Redksins v. Dolphins - Winner SB17
I hate SB 17. The strike was that year, and I was coming off my Niners winning the year before (and the other Bay Area team, who I also rooted for, winning the year before that - I even liked the Steelers in the late 70s when picking between Steelers and Cowboys which it felt like all mankind was required to do from my elementary school perspective, so for me the Super Bowl was just nothing but cream cheese) and I just disliked the whole Thiesmann/Riggins/Hogs thing. But Johnson got impeached and while it was political, his lack of interest in the moral force of Reconstruction set the template for the next 70 years of Presidential disinterest in racial issues. Hey, slavery was over - what else do you want from us? If you wanted to identify with America, why do you decide to be Black? Johnson was a disaster. Super Bowls 12-5
18. Grant v. SB18: Raiders v. Redksins - Winner SB18 (site went Grant - this has to be a hidden anti-Raider bias, much like the Hall of Fame)
Grant's Administration was the forerunner for the corrupt Presidency with numerous scandals; there's been an upward revision of Grant's effectiveness in recent scholarship (getting us through the Panic of '73, maintaining Reconstruction) - but SB18 is Marcus Allen slicing through the Redskins defense. Close your eyes, you can see it right now. Hells yeah. For a Trojan fan with a secondary attachment to the Raiders, Marcus Allen was my favorite non-Niner ever; I rooted for him from the time he was Charles White's blocking back. And my Niners got screwed in the NFC Championship on a phantom pass interference call. And I didn't like the Redskins. And I won a ton of cash taking the Raiders plus 3, like 20 bucks, my biggest score ever as a 13 year old sports fan. Sure, Grant won the Civil War - but that was a previous season and we're about the here and now. Super Bowls 13-5.
19. Hayes v. SB19: Niners v. Dolphins - Winner SB19
The biggest mismatch yet. Hayes was nicknamed Rutherfraud as his election was part of a deal to end Reconstruction which began the period of segregation in the south (which Tom Tancredo apparently laments the passing of, given his stated wish for the return of literacy tests) and SB19 is my favorite SB ever. It's like picking among your children (I assume) trying to pick which of the 5 Niner SB is my favorite - but there was a lot of Marino press in the run up to this one, Joe slid in the mind of the mainstream sports media into second place - and it was so much fun to win going away a game that everyone said would be a nailbiter. Also, pregame included OJ Simpson predicting a surprise bustout performance from Roger Craig - and its that on the nose prognostication for which the Juice is now best known. Probably my age at the time (14) plays the biggest determining factor in this - but this is probably the Niner team to which I had the most emotional attachment. Incredibly underappreciated historically - I have this team second among all SB teams in NFL history and Joe's game here the 4th best performance. Super Bowls 14-5
20. Garfield v. SB20 - Bears v. Pats - Winner: SB20 (site picked Garfield)
Garfield was the second President assassinated in office. And he loved lasagne. The Bears are my pick as the greatest NFL team of all time, and that seems to be consensus (or at least plural) opinion; this game was, well, you know what the game was - but I thought the criticism of Super Bowls as bad games in this stretch was always error, that we were seeing some historic teams (back to back, the Niners and Bears went 18-1, I think they're the two best football teams ever) and watching the Bears be historic far outstrips Garfield's six months in office. And this Bear team taught us that runnin' the ball is like makin' romance. This isn't close. Super Bowls 15-5.
21. Arthur v. SB21- NYG v. Broncos - Winner: Arthur (site picked the game, but screw that noise, Paco)
Okay - Phil Simms was 22 of 25, and I have that as the third best SB QB performance ever, and it's Elway's first SB, so that's something too. And CSPAN has Arthur rated 32nd - but here again is where context matters - the Giants were a clear step backward from the all time great teams the previous two seasons - whereas in this Presidential desert, each one more pointless than the previous - here's Arthur backing the passing of the Pendleton Act, working to lower the tariff and modernizing the navy. He isn't ending Reconstruction or getting impeached or getting shot or enjoying the fruits of the Gilded Age - he signed the Pendleton Act! And dig the crazy facial hair! It's Arthur! Like Dudley Moore! Who didn't love them some Dudley Moore! If there's any man who wants to demean the memory of the late, great Dudley Moore I'd like to see him have the guts to stand in front of me and say it! Super Bowls 15-6
22. Cleveland v. SB22 - Redskins v. Broncos - Winner: SB
Cleveland had a largely pointless first term, Haymarket Square was 1886; we're in the Gilded Age and there's growing worker resentment of the exploitation by the monied classes and Cleveland's pro-business but largely staying out of the way. Meanwhile, its the football game that suddenly gets progressive as Doug Williams wins the MVP and the Redskins for all I know still might be scoring in that second quarter. A blowout. 16-6, Super Bowls.
23. BHarrison v. SB23 - Niners v. Bengals - Winner - SB
The only single second, in all of the Niners five Super Bowls, where I didn't think we were going to win was when the Bengals ran that kick back. We had not played well, Steve Wallace got knocked out in the first series and our offensive rhythm was never replaced. But you know what happened; Jerry had 200+ yards receiving and JT caught the game winner just before the gun. My single favorite SB moment. Harrison signed the Sherman Act, which he supported - theoretically it could have been used to bust up trusts - instead it wound up as an anti-union act in practice; it wasn't until the passage of the Clayton Act that Congress was able to really get serious about regulating business. 'Member Jerry on that last drive? Just carving the Bengal secondary up? Bill's last game - Bill's last game! Niners. Goddamn right. 17-6
24. Cleveland, Part 2 v. SB 24 Niners v. Broncos - Winner - SB (site picked Cleveland)
Cleveland stood full on with the dying Gilded Age, he responded to the Panic of '93 (which closed 600 banks, we had 20% unemployment, there were marches on Washington) by breaking the Pullman Strike, ordering troops to Chicago and locking up Eugue Debs. It was a battle between exactly the type of laissez faire that Fox News says if we try to move away from we're socialist - and workers trying to assert their human rights. There's nothing about laissez faire required by democracy - too many Americans think of business and the military as the securers of their freedom and prosperity - but a hundred twenty years ago, in the factories, in the streets, in the fields - Americans stood up to the machine. Many of them got squashed, squashed by Cleveland here, but they paved the way for change. Speaking of squashed...55 TO 10!! SUCK ON IT BRONCOS! SUCK ON IT!! The most dominant performance in SB history, maybe the most dominant team sport championship performance in the past half century. Against Grover Cleveland? Please. SB 18-6.
25. McKinley v. SB25 - NYG v. Bills - Winner - McKinley (site went SB, as will everyone else but me)
This is my least favorite Super Bowl; I really thought up until the second the NFC Title game ended that the Niners were about to win their 3rd straight - and it felt like a death, Joe got knocked out, effectively ending his Niner career - Roger fumbled - effectively ending his Niner career - it happened so lightning fast that it was the most devastating football loss of my life; I don't think there's a close second (and the Raiders lost to Buffalo like 49-3 earlier in the day). And it was Gulf War SB - so there was the Whitney Houston National Anthem and all the flag waving - and I was (correctly, 'cause we're still goddamn there) completely opposed to that war - seeing it as expansionist...sort of like the Spanish American War when McKinley invaded Cuba on behalf of United Fruit. McKinley's no prize, he conflated god and war just like the Super Bowl did, but I didn't have to watch McKinley alone on my couch for 3 hours on a Sunday night my junior year of undergrad. Hated it. Plus, Glee is set at William McKinley High in Lima, Ohio, which is the town where I did my law school clerkship. SB up 18-7
26. TRoosevelt v. SB26 - Redskins v. Bills - Winner - Roosevelt
Teddy's overrated. He was expansionist, he busted up fewer trusts than Taft, he permitted the growth of US Steel, and his understanding of conservation of land was more about land use than it was land preservation. He's 4th on the CSPAN list and would be lower on mine - but he supported the Hepburn Act and in his second term (the way Presidents sometimes do) more loudly proclaimed the need to reign in business; it's a mistake to think of President TR as really "progressive" (losing candidate TR came back later as the furthest left on the general election ballot) but in context, he was still Teddy Roosevelt. And Mark Rypien beat the Bills in 26, so it's not much of a game. 2 straight for the Presidents and its 18-8.
27. Taft v. SB27 - Cowboys v. Bills - Winner: Taft (I've forgotten, I assume the site picked the game)
3 straight for the Presidents - Taft's a little underrated, he broke up more trusts than did Roosevelt, but not nearly as much as the now growing progressive movement wanted him to break - but too much for the pro-business crowd. Whether it was Payne-Aldrich (pro business) or Mann-Elkins (pro regulation) Taft took political hits as he tried to navigate the issue. But he supported the 8 hour day, worked for laws regulating the railroads, and supported what would become the graduated income tax. The game's just another Buffalo loss. It's Taft and it's not that close. 18-9
28. Wilson v. SB28 - Cowboys v. Bills - Winner: Wilson
Wilson's as overrated as TR; racist, more pro business than Taft (and more than the version of Teddy who ran against Wilson in 1912, calling for sweeping regulation of business) - that was the tenor of the election of 1912 - which one of the 3 candidates could put forth a more progressive platform; that's how the US responded to the excesses of the first Gilded Age - the economic collapse of 2009 could well have been viewed as the end of the second Gilded Age - but there is no progressive movement - there has been a massive, unprecedented, really, wealth transfer to the banks - there's been a huge corporate crackdown that seems to have stopped real health reform - the oligarchy has its own tv news network that has served to create a new Know-Nothingism for a new millennium. In many ways - the future looked brighter in 1912 than it will look in 2012. We got the Federal Reserve and the Clayton Act, the Farm Loan Act - Brandeis on the Supreme Court - workman's comp, child labor laws, and Wilson supported women's suffrage. WWI is a black mark (funny how things move; Wilson's become a piñata for conservatives, but it used to just be the lefties like me who criticized our involvement in WWI) but he's only up against the 4th straight Buffalo loss, each one uglier than the previous. Easy win for the Presidents and now its 18-10. 4 straight.
29. Harding v. SB29 - Niners v. Chargers - Winner: SB
-Harding ranked 38th in the CSPAN poll; there's no one who doesn't consider his Presidency a disaster. Meanwhile, I attended pregame festivities in Miami, winning a trivia contest and getting to call "the Catch" in an NFL Films booth - my Niners were favored by 18.5 - I gave the points, gave 2 and a half touchdowns in the Super Bowl - did it heavily and did it without breaking a sweat and covered. I think the Niners will win again one day, but 15 years later this marked the end of the dynasty. 19-10.
30. Coolidge v. SB30 - Cowboys v. Steelers - Winner SB
Like Harding before and Hoover after, Coolidge was part of the laissez faire Republican rollback from what was perceived as Progressive Era excess - regulations were vetoed or muted - corporations felt untethered in their speculative investing and lending - and you know what's coming in 1929. Capitalism's best friend is regulation - Fox News doesn't understand that - but the thing that kept the United States from really becoming an actual European style socialist country with a strong and vibrant social welfare program is that regulations were placed on business that were sufficient to pacify the anger that came out of the Gilded Age - and then would come again after the Depression (the Wars helped do both of those things also). Coolidge sucks - and this, the last Dallas win of the era, wasn't a great game - but I liked the number and successfully took the Steelers getting 13.5 which makes it a win for football. 20-10.
31. Hoover v. SB31 - Packers v. Pats - Winner SB
I don't like Brett Favre, as I've written before, but, you know - Hoover's initial response to the Great Depression was that the government had no role to play in assistance, that it was more of a matter for charities. This was error; Keynes would establish a better model for economic understanding, and the United States would never again face the sorts of economic catastrophes which had plagued it since its founding. Sort of like Salk developing a polio vaccine, Keynes kept America out of the iron lung. Thank God we'd never forget those lessons. Nope. Never forget. Nossirree. No chance that would ever happen. SB 21-10
32. FDR v. SB32 - Broncos v. Pack - Winner - FDR
Come on. It's FDR. TVA, NRA, AAA, CCC, WPA, NLRA, Social Security, Eleanor speaking out for women and blacks, a worthwhile war won, of all things. On the other hand - Terrell Davis. 21-11
33. Truman v. SB33 - Broncos v. Falcons - Winner - SB (site went Truman, as will everyone else including me if I keep thinking about it)
This is hard; Truman was, to that date, the best President for Civil Rights other than Lincoln; he desegregated the military and started the Committee for Civil Rights; he helped rebuild Europe and he vetoed the pro business Taft-Hartley but had it overridden - Truman stood against Congress as they attempted tax cuts for the wealthy (taxes were enormously high, but that's what built the country post WW2 - the next time someone talks about the greatest generation coming home from the war and building the country - the answer is they could do that because we used to recognize taxes are how you pay for things). Truman's ranked 5th by the CSPAN poll and understandably so - on the other hand - Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and the start of the Cold War. I went with Jackson despite the Trail of Tears - I went with TR and Wilson and didn't even mention internment with FDR or slavery with all of our founding father presidents, I am looking through the eyes of white western male privilege and don't deny it - but Hiroshima (and especially Nagasaki) is where I'm drawing the moral line. It's got to be someplace. Elway won his second Super Bowl here. I really disliked the game. But its SB 22-11
34. Ike v. SB34 - Rams v. Titans - Winner: Ike (site went the other way)
Great finish, with the Titans comeback on St Louis falling short at the gun. And Ike's got both Korea and Vietnam and was slow to act on Civil Rights. But eventually he helped enforce Brown v. Board of Ed., and he coined the term military industrial complex, which, after hegemony is probably the concept that best explains the modern United States. 22-12
35. JFK v. SB35 - Ravens v. Titans - Winner: Kennedy
Kennedy's 6th by the CSPAN poll and he's overrated - he escalated Vietnam and crawled on Civil Rights until he got near the end - but he didn't act as power looking to suppress the movements below the way Nixon would just a few years later - the civil rights, womens rights, and anti-War movements begin to coalesce at the end - and the most progressive government institution in our history, the Warren Court, really works in full flourish without any JFK interference. And goddamn was that Ravens/Giants game boring. 22-13.
36. LBJ v. SB36 - Pats v. Rams - Winner: LBJ (site mistakenly went the other way)
LBJ's got Vietnam, Vietnam was bad and Vietnam took him down - but he was maybe our best ever domestic President - Civil Rights Act, Voting Rights Act, Great Society, War on Poverty - the high water mark of economic justice in the history of this country occurs under LBJ. Vietnam is bad, and the Pats dynasty starts - but Medicare wins this one easily 22-14.
37. Nixon v. SB 37 - Bucs v. Raiders - Winner: Nixon (What????)
I invested solidly on the Raiders in this game, I made some of it back by a wishful flier on Jerry scoring a TD (which he did, late) but it was the most wrong I had ever been about a title game. Yes- Nixon had Vietnam and he was the authoritarian crackback on all of the progressive movements that I'm in favor of. Oh - and Watergate. Yeah, I know, Nixon's a bad guy. Except he had the EPA, and affirmative action, and didn't look to gut the gains made in the War on Poverty - domestically, we have not had a more progressive President than Richard Nixon since Richard Nixon. Yes, I know, I know - he's Nixon - I agree. But Jerry Rice lost the Super Bowl to a team from Tampa Bay. It's close - but you don't get to kick Dick Nixon around in this one. 22-15.
38. Ford v. SB38 Pats v. Panthers - Winner: SB
Ford had stagflation - SB38 had Brady and Delhomme throwing the ball all over the damn yard. I have Delhomme's losing performance as the 11th best QB SB game ever. Back and forth and a FG at the gun. Easy win for the game. 23-15
39. Carter v. SB39 Pats v. Eagles - Winner: SB
Carter had the Camp David accords but a lot of dead Indonesians under our propping up Suharto would question his pro-peace bonafides. Things did not go well for Carter. The game was hot - TO on one leg lighting up the Patriots - but it was Brady's best SB (and the last one I got right, taking Philly +7) and an easy win for the game. 24-15.
40. Reagan v. SB40: Steelers v. Seahawks - Winner SB (site disagreed, it's not close)
The death of the United States can be traced back to Reagan - one of the reasons I didn't kill Nixon was because he wasn't Reagan. Deregulation, supply side economics, the embrace of conservative Christianity, the erosion of civil liberties and the social safety net - those are all the elements that have gone into our 3 decade slide. Reagan would be on a very short list for most destructive men in American history. The Super Bowl was probably fixed. 25-15
41. GHW Bush v. SB41: Colts v. Bears - Winner: SB
Bush the first signed the ADA, but he was largely Reagan's third term, all of the harms began 8 years earlier continued under Bush and he also brought us the occupation of the Middle East that has helped bankrupt our country and engendered fanatical anti-American passion among much of the rest of the world. Peyton Manning did not play well in his first shot at a SB, but won over a crummy Chicago squad in a forgettable game. 26-15
42. Clinton v. SB42: NYG v. Pats - Winner SB
Great finish, obviously - and historically important - even with the loss I have this 18-1 Patriot team as the third best in SB history; it's what you want the SB to be - and Clinton was not without some domestic successes - but what he mainly did was complete the rebranding of the Democrats as our second corporate party - it's a mistake to ever look at the Democrats and see fire breathing leftists - but Clinton, with NAFTA, welfare reform, continued deregulation - really just was an effective Republican presidency - the wealthy got crazywealthy under Clinton, he was a businessman's best friend - and while I don't care who blew him, his sex scandal gave the Republicans cover to today's date - if you were to put the top 5 answers on the board and asked a random family playing the Feud, "name a President who lied" - Clinton is probably the top answer on the board. Weapons of Mass Destruction doesn't have the resonance of "I did not have sexual relations with that woman." - even in his second term, a term when historically those predisposed to moving left were able to - Clinton never broke ranks from his monied masters. I'ma registered Democrat, Clinton is, to date, the only successful Democratic President of my lifetime - but he isn't close here. SB 27-15
43. GW Bush v. SB43 Steelers v. Cards - Winner: SB43
A good game - at least from Harrison's hundred yard return on - Warner had the 12th best SB QB performance; we got a late TD pass and much excitement was had. CSPAN has Bush as our 36th best President and he is massively overrated at that number; the only other two term President within 10 slots of him is Nixon at 27th - when you're looking at "worst" you don't just pick WH Harrison who served a dozen days; he wasn't harmful, just irrelevant - I was as good a President as Tippecanoe. Bush is the worst President we've ever had, maybe the worst western leader there's ever been - he isn't competing with Super Bowls, we're entering a universe where he's competing with science fiction villains and characters from Norse mythology. SB 28-15
44. Obama v. SB44: TBD
Gun to my head - there are 6 more years of the Obama Administration and we are far, far from determining his success or failure. The football game was good - special in that it provided more aid to New Orleans that did the previous Administration, Hartley may have had the best game for a placekicker in SB history and I have Brees ranked 12th in All Time SB QB performances. The Saints aren't an all time team, I have them as the 38th best team in SB history - so, there's room for Obama to win the game, but the successes, while real, have been moderate, and the inability, given the numerical advantage, to press for economic justice is a potential deathblow. We'll see in 2 or (I think) 6 years what the final score is.
So, that's every Super Bowl v. Every American President. Unsurprisingly, the less ugly and bloated of the two institutions wins.