Business & Tech


The Super Bowl Patriots are stock market bears

Kansas City, MO - 1/20/2019 - (overtime) New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) celebrate the overtime win over the Kansas City Chiefs. The Kansas City Chiefs host the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship game at Arrowhead stadium. - (Barry Chin/Globe Staff), Section: Sports, Reporter: James M. McBride, Topic: 21Patriots-Chiefs, LOID: 8.5.157043654.
Barry Chin/Globe Staff
New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady celebrated the overtime win over the Kansas City Chiefs.

When Tom Brady and Bill Belichick go to the Super Bowl, it’s good for business all around Patriots Nation.

Pats jerseys, hats, and hoodies fly off the shelves at Marshalls and Modell’s. Fans scramble to book airline tickets and hotel rooms. It’s a veritable Cinco de Mayo for sales of corn chips, salsa, and avocados. Domino’s and Pizza Hut order all hands on deck. It’s New Year’s Eve redux for liquor stores. Best Buy and sports bookies get busy. Even the Globe sees an uptick in readership and advertising.

But what about after the final whistle has blown, all the champagne has been sprayed, and one star of the game is off to Disney World? Is there any lasting impact from all that economic energy? Should our first order of business on Monday morning be to call our broker?


Let’s go to the stats. (For simplicity, I have limited our analysis to the start of the modern Patriots Super Bowl era in 2002.)

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Since Tom Terrific won his first ring, 17 title games have gone into the books. Over those years, the Standard & Poor’s 500 index, a broad measure of the biggest US stocks, went on to finish the year with an average annual return (including dividends) of 8.31 percent.

That’s darn good considering the stretch includes two bear market years: 2002 (down 22 percent) and 2008 (down 37 percent). If over the course of our savings careers we could reliably book gains of 8 percent, we could walk off the 401(k) field with our heads held high.

How about the eight years when the Pats appeared in the big game? Did the market get any special pop from the Dynasty?

Unfortunately, it was just the opposite.


The average return of the S&P 500 in the eight years the Pats have competed is a negative 1.14 percent. It didn’t help that Belichick’s boys made the Super Bowl in the years of the dot-com bust and financial crisis bear markets.

In the five years that the Pats won, the average gain is slightly better, at 3.29 percent. In the three years that the team came up short, the index did the same, losing an average of 8.54 percent.

So what’s the bottom line of this incredibly sophisticated and foolproof statistical analysis?

Come Feb. 1, load up on all your favorite snacks. Have some friends over. Root your heart out. Don’t drink and drive. And if you are compelled to have some money on the line, stick with your bookie. As for stocks, maybe move some money into cash.

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Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated the average return for the S&P 500 over the eight years in which the Patriots have appeared in the Super Bowl. It is negative 1.14 percent.