Really, aside from those interviews that Stuart Scott and Bob Ley did with Barack Obama and John McCain, repectively and respectfully, earlier this year, they’ve tried their hardest to stay out of influencing who’ll be the newbie in the White House come January.
And the fact they’ve picked a Washington Redskins home game to cover on the Monday before the biggest presidental election in decades was sheer coincidence.
Two points to ponder, provided by the crack ESPN PR crew (mostly Bill Hofheimer):
==Steve Hirdt of Elias Sports Bureau and a longtime member of the “Monday Night Football” production crew introduced the “Redskins Rule” during the Titans-Redskins MNF game on ABC Sports on October 30, 2000.
The Rule has remarkably predicted the results of U.S. presidential election — 17 times in the 17 elections since the Redskins played their first game in DC in 1937 (having moved from Boston). Nothing else out there is as perfect.
The Rule states: If the Redskins win their last home game prior to a U.S. presidential election, then the party that won the popular vote in the previous election will win the White House in the upcoming election. Conversly, if the Redskins lose their last home game before the election, the party that lost the popular vote in the previous election will win the White House.
Obama is then pulling for the Pittsburgh Steelers to win Monday. McCain has become a Redskins fan.
==In the summer of 2004, the Illinois senate race was up in the air.
The Republicans searched for a candidate to face a then-unknown Democrat state senator named Barack Obama. Legendary Chicago Bears coach and current ESPN NFL analyst Mike Ditka was the choice of the Illinois Republicans. Ditka seriously considered the offer. Ultimately decided to remain a football analyst.
On Sunday’s “NFL Countdown” (8 to 10 a.m.), reporter Greg Garber will explore what if Ditka ran against Obama in 2004? How would history be different? Could 2008 could have ended up the crowning moment for…..President Ditka.
UPDATE THURSDAY AM:
This just in from ESPN:
==Chris Berman will do a one-on-one interview with both Obama and McCain on Monday that will air at halftime.
They’ll do the interviews on tape, “pending last-minute schedule changes, via satellite” with Berman in Bristol, Conn. They’ll air at about 7:15 p.m.
==Also, ESPN says its networks on Tuesday nigth will alter the “bottom line” scroll with updated election results as reported by ABC News. So next to “NBA” or “NHL,” look for a trivialized logo that says “ELECTION” to give you the final scoreboard on Obama vs. McCain.