Discard your theories about talent, size, speed, strength or depth. Here's a hypothesis that tops 'em all...and it's foolproof.
You see, sports fans, winning football games isn't about home-field advantage or weather conditions or how teams have fared against each other in the past. It's the schedule that counts.
Not just any schedule, mind you. There needs to be a unique array of contests, one where the majority of games occur on the same day as pro wrestling pay-per-view events.
Surprised? Don't be. Football has sent such stars as Kevin Greene, Lawrence Taylor and Reggie Smith to thrill wrestling spectators. It was only a matter of time before wrestling began to exert a similar influence on football.
As evidence, view Exhibit A: the New England Patriots, owners of a 9-6 record. As B.U. football commentator Peter Winson has astutely noted, the Pats are 6-0 when they play on the same night as a pay-per-view and are 3-6 otherwise.
"I started thinking about this after the Pittsburgh loss a 24-21 debacle against Kordell and Co. on Saturday," Winson explained. "I realized that I saw three wrestling pay-per-views for three different organizations in three straight weeks, and I was like, 'Wow, the Patriots won [on all three nights].'"
Intrigued, Winson broadened his analysis, and discovered a pattern of perfection that featured other strange connections.
The trend began in October, when the Patriots dismantled the Colts on the same night as In Your House Ground Zero--strangely enough Indy had zero wins at this time.
Next up was the much-ballyhooed Tuna Bowl between the Pats and the Jets. Guided by Bill Parcells, the Jets forced New England into overtime. Time will never tell whether the ensuing 27-24 Patriot victory was ensured by an Adam Vinatieri field goal or the WCW Fall Brawl War Games match.
On Nov. 9, the day of the Survivor Series, the Patriots entered their game against the Bills on a three-game skid. But Buffalo proved to be the perfect balm, and New England survived, 31-10.
The string of three straight pay-per-views and an equal number of New England wins began on Nov. 23. On the night of pro wrestling's World War III, the Patriots with-stood an aerial bombardment by Dan Marino and secured a 27-24 victory.
Extreme Championship Wrestling called Nov. 30 a November to Remember, but neither the league nor the Patriots had reason to celebrate. The Patriots seethed after a lackluster 20-17 win over the Colts, and ECW endured a disappointing round of matches. Still the correlation held firm.
One week later, though. New England captured its biggest triumph of the season--a 26-20 showstopper against Jacksonville. The Patriots did the unthinkable, upsetting the Jaguars on their home turf. But perhaps a little luck, in the form of In Your House Degeneration X, aided Pete Caroll's squad. Oh, and did we mention that Drew Bledsoe, tired of the Gen-X label he received after his plunge at the Paradise, redeemed himself against the Jags?
Other factors support Winson's theory as well. New England lost Monday night matchups to Denver and Green Bay, both of which occurred after pay-per-views. Winson insists that had the Pats played both teams on Sunday, the Patriots would have added two more victories.
Unfortunately, New England will have to pull off a miracle in Miami on its own. No pay-per-view--and thus no wrestling karma--occurs that night. Should the Patriots win, though, mesmerizing possibilities would develop.
The next pay-per-view is the Starrcade on Dec. 28, which could push the Patriots further into the playoffs. And while there is no pay-per-view to accompany the AFC Championship, NWO Souled Out will air on the night of the Super Bowl.
Could the Patriots repeat as AFC champs and redeem their conference? New Englanders would find that just too...sweeeeeeet.