Updated for 2018’s Super Bowl LII
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: It’s a tie. In the past 26 Super Bowls, the team with more Eagle Scouts in its home city won 13 times and lost 13 times.
That makes Super Bowl LII in Minnesota super important; it will tip the scales in one direction or another.
As with any math problem, now we must show our work.
How it was done
We looked at the past 26 Super Bowls — from Super Bowl XXVI in 1992 to Super Bowl LI in 2017.
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.
All tied after 26
In head-to-head matchups, the Super Bowl winner came from the city with more Eagle Scouts 13 of the 26 times. It’s a tie.
The winner of 2017’s Super Bowl LI, the New England Patriots, tied things up with their overtime win against the Atlanta Falcons. New England’s Spirit of Adventure Council had fewer Eagle Scouts in 2017 than the Atlanta Area Council.
Super Bowl LII
So how do things look for Sunday’s Super Bowl LII, which determines the champion from the 2017 season?
Well, the Patriots’ Spirit of Adventure Council had 328 Eagles in 2017, while the Eagles’ Cradle of Liberty Council had 322.
A difference of six Eagle Scouts? That’s really close!
If the Patriots win, the record of the team with more Eagle Scouts improves to 14-13. If the Eagles win, it’ll fall to 13-14.
So if you haven’t yet picked your team for Sunday’s game, there’s one piece of evidence for you to consider.
New note for 2018:
As many commenters have pointed out, BSA local council boundaries don’t always perfectly align with a team’s home region.
So consider this just a fun way to look at the Super Bowl and Scouting and not a surefire way to predict the game!
The raw data
Number in bold is higher number of Eagle Scouts that year
|Super Bowl||Winner||Number of Eagles||Opponent||Number of Eagles|
|LI||New England Patriots||328||Atlanta Falcons||676|
|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.