Getting ready for the big game on Sunday may involve party-planning, cooking, or just getting pumped up to root for your team. Some enjoy filling up on all the facts and stats about the teams they can, but there’s even more to know about the Super Bowl than you thought. Check out these 5 political factors involved in the year’s most-watched game.
1. Both of the team owners are political contributors
NFL team owners tend to be some of the richest people in the country. Both New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and Seattle Seahawks owner Paul Allen put that money to use by contributing to political campaigns. According to OpenSecrets.org, Seattle Seahawks owner and Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen has given $36,000 in contributions since 2009 — all to Democratic causes.
Meanwhile, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft is one of the top 10 NFL-related political donors, and the one to give to most to Democrats by far. He’s given $33,600 in political contributions since 2009, and only $4,800 of that went to Republicans.
2. Democrats think the Patriots are guilty in Deflategate
According to Public Policy Polling, Democrats are more likely than Republicans to say that the Patriots are guilty of purposefully under-inflating footballs used in the AFC Championship Game against the Indianapolis Colts — the event now known as Deflategate. Republicans are more even on whether the Patriots are responsible (36/33), while Democrats are pretty overwhelmingly convinced, a 23-point margin finds the Patriots guilty (46/23). Related or not, the pollster also says that Americans support the Seahawks 36/29 over the Patriots in the upcoming Super Bowl game.
3. Teams from politically moderate states are more successful
According to The Washington Post, NFL teams that have fan bases with moderate purple state politics tend to beat teams with either strongly red state or blue state fan base politics. If this trend is an accurate indication of success, the odds are in Seattle’s favor.
Data collected by marketing firm Scarborough Research and analyzed by Republican strategists Will Feltus and Melissa Sharp suggests that Seahawks fans are slightly more Republican, while Patriots fans are heavily more likely to be Democratic voters. Seattle’s fanbase is therefore more representative of a moderate “purple” state, while Patriots fans (primarily in New England) would make up a blue state.
4. Did Vladimir Putin steal a Patriots’ Super Bowl ring?
There are disparate stories floating around about what really happened, but when New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft met Russian President Vladimir Putin at a gathering of business and political leaders at Konstantinovsky Palace in June 2005, Kraft showed one of his rings from winning the Super Bowl to Putin, who wound up leaving with it.
Initially Kraft has released a statement saying that he’d decided to give Putin the ring as a gift, but has since changed his story to say that Putin pocketed it and walked off, according to the New York Post. Putin’s office denies that theft. “What Mr. Kraft is saying now is weird,” Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told CNN. “I was standing 20 centimeters away from him and Mr. Putin and saw and heard how Mr. Kraft gave this ring as a gift.”
5. Russell Wilson is only the second African-American quarterback to win a Super Bowl
Until the Seahawks triumphed last year, former Redskins player Doug Williams was the only African-American quarterback to win the Super Bowl. Russell Wilson is the second African-American to take home the championship. Will he be the first one to do it twice?