Super Bowl Maybes Much of what I talk about in Seeds has to do with decision making. One of the most important aspects of the decision making process involves the gathering of information. If you fail to invite cognitive strain at the moment you come into contact with new information, your brain will automatically convert it into belief. Future decisions will rely upon it without questioning its validity. When you make choices based on intuition or gut feel, this is the type of data it will be based upon. Even a thoughtful analysis will accept this information without question. That is why diligence and a healthy dose of skepticism is required in those moments when we come upon new information.
One of those moments occurred last night, when the NFL claimed that its organization is so powerful and its impact on society so far reaching that it even affects birth rates. The commercials they ran were called Super Bowl Babies, and the text stated, “Data suggests 9 months after a Super Bowl victory, winning cities see a rise in births.” You might think it’s a contention hardly worth expending mental effort on, but make no mistake, the message had a purpose. It was consistent with the message woven throughout the day’s festivities. The message is that NFL football is big. Really big! Any city that has an opportunity to host a team, would do well to heed this message, and take advantage of the opportunity. At least that’s what they want you to believe. In a year when several teams are wrangling for new deals from their host cities, it’s a timely message indeed.
But is it true? In the following charts, I show November birth rates between 2001 and 2014, with Super Bowl Championship years highlighted in green. Truth is, not only are Super Bowl victory years not upside outliers, most of them fall below the average and median of the 14 years. 2015 data is not yet available. (Click Here to zoom in on the Chart)
About the Author For nearly thirty years, Stephen Duneier has applied cognitive science to institutional investment management. The result has been career best returns for experienced portfolio managers who have adopted his methods, the turnaround of numerous global trading businesses, the development of an award-winning $1.25 billion dollar hedge fund and 20.3% average annualized returns as a global macro portfolio manager.
As a speaker, Stephen has delivered informative and inspirational talks to audiences around the world for more than 20 years on topics including global macro economic themes, how cognitive science can improve performance and the keys to living a more deliberate life. Each is delivered via highly entertaining stories that inevitably lead to further conversation, and ultimately, better results.
Stephen Duneier was formerly Global Head of Currency Option Trading at Bank of America and Managing Director of Emerging Markets at AIG International. His artwork has been featured in international publications and on television programs around the world, and is represented by the world renowned gallery, Sullivan Goss. He received his master's degree in finance and economics from New York University's Stern School of Business.
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