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Lindley Estes is a business writer for The Free Lance-Star and This blog is on Fredericksburg-area business. Send an e-mail to Lindley Estes.

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Sell your stocks if the Patriots win!

Could the outcome of Sunday’s NFL Super Bowl determine how the U.S. stock market fares this year? Those who believe in the so-called "Super Bowl Predictor" think it could. The predictor was detailed in an article in today’s Wall Street Journal. In 33 of the Super Bowl’s 41 years, the Super Bowl Predictor has correctly determined whether the Dow Jones Industrial Average would have an up or down year. That’s an enviable 81 percent success rate. The predictor says the Dow goes up in years when an original NFL team wins the big game. Otherwise, it drops.

It’s a little confusing to keep track of, because three original NFL teams joined the American Football Conference when the AFL and NFL merged in 1970. Two of those teams — the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore (now Indianapolis) Colts — have won Super Bowls. The main flaw in this system is obvious, as the WSJ points out. The original NFL teams have dominated the AFL teams for most of the league’s history (although the New England Patriots are changing that). The stock market has gone up in about four out of five years, hence the predictor’s success rate.

If you still believe in the system, and you’re an investor who likes to see the market go up, you should be rooting for the New York Giants on Sunday. They’re an original NFL team, while the Pats hail from the original AFL. With the Patriots heavily favored and the Dow down big so far this year, looks like it could be 34 of 42 for the Super Bowl Predictor.