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Does the number of Eagle Scouts in a team’s home city predict the winner of the Super Bowl?

The question is tantalizing for fans of Scouting and sports: Is there a correlation between the number of Eagle Scouts in a team’s home city and that team’s odds of winning the Super Bowl?

The short answer? Yes, the team with more Eagle Scouts in its hometown is more likely to win the Super Bowl than the team with fewer Eagle Scouts.

As with any math problem, now we must show our work.

How it was done

We looked at the past 25 Super Bowls — from Super Bowl XXVI in 1992 to Super Bowl 50 in 2016.

For each Super Bowl, we tallied the number of Eagle Scouts from each team’s home city during the year of the season.

Take Super Bowl XXX as an example. That 1996 game, which determined the champion of the 1995 season, matched the Dallas Cowboys against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

In 1995, the Dallas-based Circle Ten Council had 400 Eagle Scouts, while the Pittsburgh-based Laurel Highlands Council (then called the Greater Pittsburgh Council) had 257. The Cowboys’ home council had more Eagle Scouts, and the Cowboys won the game, 27-17. Score one for the Eagle Scouts.

A winning record

The average number of Eagle Scouts per year for the 25 winning teams was 340.2. The average number for the 25 losing teams was 325.7.

That’s another win for Eagle Scouts.

In head-to-head matchups, the Super Bowl winner came from the city with more Eagle Scouts 13 of the 25 times.

In other words, the team with more Eagle Scouts has a 13-12 record in the past 25 years. Close, but still a winning record for Eagle Scouts.

Super Bowl LI

So how do things look for Sunday’s Super Bowl LI, which determines the champion from the 2016 season?

Well, the Patriots’ Spirit of Adventure Council had 284 Eagles in 2016, while the Falcons’ Atlanta Area Council had 714 Eagle Scouts last year.

If the Falcons win, the record of the team with more Eagle Scouts improves to 14-12. If the Patriots win, we’ll be tied at 13.

So if you haven’t yet picked your team for Sunday’s game, there’s one piece of evidence for you to consider.

The data

Number in bold is higher number of Eagle Scouts that year

Super Bowl Winner Number of Eagles Opponent Number of Eagles
L Denver Broncos 488 Carolina Panthers 244
XLIX New England Patriots 281 Seattle Seahawks 436
XLVIII Seattle Seahawks 486 Denver Broncos 525
XLVII Baltimore Ravens 523 San Francisco 49ers 220
XLVI New York Giants 161 New England Patriots 294
XLV Green Bay Packers 313 Pittsburgh Steelers 488
XLIV New Orleans Saints 96 Indianapolis Colts 358
XLIII Pittsburgh Steelers 465 Arizona Cardinals 1,168
XLII New York Giants 148 New England Patriots 304
XLI Indianapolis Colts 376 Chicago Bears 378
XL Pittsburgh Steelers 403 Seattle Seahawks 416
XXXIX New England Patriots 283 Philadelphia Eagles 286
XXXVIII New England Patriots 258 Carolina Panthers 160
XXXVII Tampa Bay Buccaneers 281 Oakland Raiders 170
XXXVI New England Patriots 232 St. Louis Rams 450
XXXV Baltimore Ravens 318 New York Giants 291
XXXIV St. Louis Rams 470 Tennessee Titans 282
XXXIII Denver Broncos 390 Atlanta Falcons 325
XXXII Denver Broncos 332 Green Bay Packers 246
XXXI Green Bay Packers 242 New England Patriots 215
XXX Dallas Cowboys 400 Pittsburgh Steelers 257
XXIX San Francisco 49ers 172 San Diego Chargers 297
XXVIII Dallas Cowboys 423 Buffalo Bills 116
XXVII Dallas Cowboys 432 Buffalo Bills 103
XXVI Washington Redskins 532 Buffalo Bills 113

Hat tip: Thanks to John Churchill and Nathan Johnson for pulling together this info.

Does the number of Eagle Scouts in a team’s home city predict the winner of the Super Bowl?

Post expires on Sunday March 5th, 2017

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