Forget win-loss records, quarterback ratings and total yardage tallies: the winner of Sunday’s Super Bowl XLV showdown can be predicted most accurately by analyzing the prevailing commercial real estate climate in the opposing teams’ hometowns.
According to a historical analysis of recent Super Bowls by the Chicago-based commercial real estate services firm Jones Lang LaSalle, teams based in cities with a higher percentage of vacant office space have won the Lombardi Trophy nearly two-thirds of the time since 2000.
For instance, in 2006, office vacancy rates stood at 15.9 percent in Pittsburgh and only 10.5 percent in Seattle as the Steelers outscored the Seahawks 21-10 in Super Bowl XL. The same held true in 2005 when New England (18.9 percent vacancy rate in Boston) bested Philadelphia (16.1 percent) and also in 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001 and 2000.
While the last four Super Bowls have been more difficult to predict, Jones Lang LaSalle’s executive chairman, the two-time Super Bowl champion Roger Staubach, says he is confident that the theory will prove true once again this weekend.
“As a student of both football and commercial real estate, I can tell you that this vacancy rate hypothesis is absolutely the real deal,” Staubach says. “When it comes to picking a winner, you can throw everything else out the window.”
So what about this year’s matchup? As of Jan. 1, the office vacancy rate in Pittsburgh held steady at 12.1 percent (one of the lowest rates in any city around the country) while Green Bay reported vacancy of 18.9 percent, pointing to the likelihood of the first Packers Super Bowl title since 1997.
“You can mark my word: the Packers will prevail,” says Staubach, who led his Dallas Cowboy teams to victories in Super Bowl VI and Super Bowl XII.
He also denied that his endorsement of this year’s prediction was at all related to the fact that he lost two Super Bowls (X and XIII) at the hands of the Steelers in the 1970s.
“I have nothing but the utmost respect and admiration for the Steelers and the city of Pittsburgh,” he said. “But the numbers don’t lie. The Lombardi Trophy is going back to TitleTown USA.”