How the GOP Presidential Race is Like the NFL

Many  people seem perplexed or nervous about the GOP presidential contest. The field is fairly broad and there have already been nearly a dozen debates.

For a few weeks Hermain Cain was up and this week saw the rise of Newt Gingrich. Mitt Romney looks steady but is not pulling away. Michelle Bachmann won the Iowa Straw poll but is now in single digits. Rick Perry catapulted to the front at first, then made some debate mistakes and fell back.

And on and on.

Everywhere I go, people are asking me who I will vote for, and express dismay over the daily changing landscape. To those who are concerned, I have a simple response:

Relax and watch the game.

Politics is like the National Football League. The “regular season” is still going on and we really don’t know who will make the “playoffs.” We also don’t know who will get hot in their playoff run and then go on to the Big Dance.

So do not despair. The game is on, one “team” will rise to the top, and that “team” should go on to beat Team Obama in the “Super Bowl.”

My prediction: GOP 55 – Obama 45.

Here’s why the 2012 Republican presidential race is eerily similar to the NFL.

First of all, let’s examine the dynamics of America’s favorite sport–the NFL.

The beginning of the National Football League season always starts with much speculation and hype. Most fans believe their team is going to do well, and predictions about who will rise are all over the map. Then the regular season begins and the teams start playing. Some do better than expected and others tank. The regular season is there to confirm who  teams that can become play-off contenders.

By the time the playoffs arrive, you have a much better idea of who the superior teams are. They’ve navigated the ups and downs of the long regular season, honed their strengths, worked on their weaknesses, and finished in a position to move on.

After a rugged playoff schedule, only two teams are left standing. They are, at that time, the cream of the crop in the league. In the biggest sporting event in the world, they face off in the Super Bowl–and only one takes home the crown as “World Champion.”

Now let’s transpose that process to the current GOP presidential race.

First of all, a caveat. I will probably disappoint or anger some of you by comparing your favorite team to a current GOP contender. Of course, the comparisons are never perfect, but I’ll try to imaginatively do my best.

Secondly, things change every week as the season progresses. So what is said today may be different at the end of the season. So give me some slack. I’m trying to make a point–and use a little humor to do it.

Mitt Romney is like the New England Patriots. He’s steady and a perennial contender, but he doesn’t appear to be a juggernaut this year. He’s got a good arm like Tom Brady, but he’s not one of the younger “quarterbacks” in the league. He’s got a great “coaching staff” (like Bill Belichick), but there’s questions about whether he can go all the way. No matter how good he is, some people just don’t like “the Patriots.”

Rick Perry is similar to the Houston Texans. They were a favorite to rise in the 2011-2012 season, but lost some games early on and appeared to be going nowhere. But the past few weeks they’ve been winning–and maybe over the long haul they can make it back to the top.

Newt Gingrich is the Pittsburgh Steelers. He has the heritage, the trophies, and probably “knows football” better than anybody else. Deep down many people want to see him win and “kick Obama’s butt” in the presidential debates. But later down the line, he may be on the “defensive” as some past personal mistakes are blown up by the media (Ben Rothlisberger–can you relate?) Of course, good defense wins Super Bowls. (Troy Polamalu-we need you!).

Herman Cain is like the Buffalo Bills. For a few weeks he looked almost unbeatable, but then he began to lose a few games with some “unsportsmanlike conduct” accusations. I believe these charges are all bogus, but the refs still threw the flags. Herman needs to get his act together and go back to the top of his game. Otherwise, it will be a long off-season.

Michelle Bachmann is like the Detroit Lions. She’s a “young team” and started out with a bang. But now she has lost some games and gone back to the middle of the pack. She can win a “wild card” race with a primary triumph in Iowa, but it will not be easy. But don’t count her out yet. She has a “spine made with steel” (maybe she’s really a Steeler).

I think you get the idea, but here are a few more analogies.

  • Jon Huntsman is the Cleveland Browns. His campaign is too “dreary”. He’s not going to win this year.
  • Ron Paul is the Dallas Cowboys. There’s a loyal following, but he always trips up on the big stage due to foreign policy “interceptions” (think Tony Romo’s playoff record.)
  • Rick Santorum is the Oakland Raiders. They’re young and good looking, but even Carson Palmer can’t save them.
  • Tim Pawlenty–oh he’s gone already–just like the Indianapolis Colts. He was 0-8 before things got going.

And unfortunately, there is no “Green Bay Packers” in this year’s GOP race. It might have been Chris Christie, but you never know until they play the game.

So back to the actual race.

It is completely normal that the the GOP contenders are fighting it out now and positions and polling are going back and forth. That’s normal in the regular season. The NFL teams are doing the same. The regular season is necessary to see who has the better package to rise to the top of the heap.

Then the playoffs will begin. The first “game” will be the Iowa caucuses, followed by the new Hampshire and South Carolina primaries. Just like the polls aren’t extremely important now, neither is the regular season except to put certain teams in a position to move on.

The playoffs are the primaries. That’s when people will cast their real votes and we will see who the Grand Old Party believes is their best team. At that point, the better candidates will get on a roll, and as the playoffs end, only one team–one Republican presidential candidate–will win.

That candidate will play Barack Obama in the Super Bowl of Politics.

The eventual GOP nominee will have greatly elevated their game by the end. They will have a clear set of principles that are superior to that of Team Obama. Not matter who they are, they will be a believer in smaller government, lower deficits, no new taxes, sound social policy, and in a word: freedom.

In the “Super Bowl,” Obama will bring his “offense” of Obamacare, bigger government, hostility toward the family and Christianity, and will be on “defense” for a lousy economy that he has failed to improve. His game plan is also very clear. History calls it tyranny.

In that all important final contest, the GOP will win because even though we were blinded by the charisma of Team Obama in 2008, in November of 2012 a majority of the American people will take note that Barack Obama was not really the champion of hope and change that he purported to be.

We thought he was Vince Lombardi and the Pack.

But really, he is more like the Toledo Mud Hens.

Team GOP will win the 2012 Super Bowl Election. The refs for the game will be the mainstream media and they will keep it close by throwing some bogus penalty flags (think Seattle Seahawks versus Pittsburgh Steelers in 2006).

The game will not not be easy, and unlike football, we are not just spectators. We will need to pray desperately, repent of our past wrong choices, and get into the game to help all the best candidates win on a local, state and national level–not just the Super Bowl.

But we will win.

America can’t afford another lock-out.


To read a good article on the Republican candidates by political strategist Dick Morris, please click here.





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