BLOG: Which pro sports team is your candidate?

Posted at 10:04 AM, Feb 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-13 20:52:12-05

Everyone knows sports and politics don't -- and shouldn't -- go together.

Nonetheless, it's striking just how much certain candidates in the race for the 2016 Democratic and Republican presidential nominations resemble certain professional sports clubs.

With that in mind: Here’s a candidate-team matchup for all eight remaining Democratic and GOP candidates, in alphabetical order.

(Please remember: This list is supposed to be fun and not viewed as anything resembling a serious political analysis.)

Jeb Bush: Dallas Cowboys

Despite having an extremely well funded campaign, Jeb hasn’t been able to replicate the success of his brother and father – much like the Cowboys haven’t been able to replicate their golden age despite Jerry Jones’ best efforts.

Like the Cowboys, the Bushes still have plenty of fans across the country – but both entities seem to have become stale brands in desperate need of some revitalization.

Ben Carson: Atlanta Falcons

The Falcons had a strong September and October, opening the 2015 season with a perfect 5-0 record. But when mid-October rolled around, Atlanta began to slide and ultimately missed the playoffs. 

Like the Falcons, Carson peaked too soon: He led in many national and state polls in September and October only to see his support dry up before the primary season began. Carson is still in the race, but expect him to go the way of the Falcons if he doesn’t see his numbers improve quickly.

Hillary Clinton: New England Patriots

The Patriots have become perhaps the most polarizing team in pro sports. Bill Belichick and Tom Brady have created a dynasty in Massachusetts, but they’ve generated a fair amount of controversy (Spygate, Deflategate) while doing so.

Clinton and her ex-president husband can relate. Fairly or unfairly, scandals always seem to be circling overhead -- and yet, they constantly rise above those distractions, and cause nothing but frustration for their critics.

Ted Cruz: Edmonton Oilers

No, we didn't choose a Canadian team because Cruz is from the Great White North; we picked the Oilers because Cruz is a throwback to an era conservatives long for: the 1980s. In fact, earlier this week, conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh said Cruz is the closest thing America has had to Ronald Reagan in a long time.

The tie-in: Wayne Gretzky led the Oilers to four Stanley Cup titles from 1984-88 – but for the most part, the Oilers haven’t been relevant since the Gretzky era. Cruz is trying to revive that 1980s Reagan spirit, much like star rookie Connor McDavid is trying to revive the Oilers' 80s glory.

John Kasich: Buffalo Bills

Kasich spent more time in New Hampshire than any other GOP candidate, only to earn a distant second-place finish in Tuesday’s primary.

Yes, Kasich performed better than many people expected – but much like the Bills, second place is likely going to be as good as it’s going to get for the Ohio governor. Expect Kasich to soon become as relevant to the GOP race as the Bills have been to the postseason during the last 16 years.

Marco Rubio: Phoenix Suns

Every time the Suns seem on the verge of breaking through and winning a championship, some unexpected mishap (Joe Johnson’s injury in 2005, Amar’e Stoudemire’s suspension in 2007) comes along to derail their dreams.

The Suns are a perfect analogy for Rubio, who seemed like he just might run away with the GOP nomination – until an unexpected stumble at last weekend’s debate brought him crashing down to Earth.

Bernie Sanders: Oakland A’s

Despite having one of the lowest payrolls in baseball each year, the A’s find a way to remain relevant nearly every single season. By the same token, Sanders has become (and remained) relevant in the Democratic primary despite a modest bank account.

Supporters of the Vermont senator are proud of the fact that the average donation to his campaign is just $27 – much like A’s fans are proud that their team doesn’t have to spend like the Yankees do in order to remain relevant.

Donald Trump: Seattle Seahawks

Trump continues to say and do one outlandish thing after another. The result: He keeps winning, and his supporters grow more enamored with him with each passing day.

The Seahawks have enjoyed the same phenomenon: The obnoxious behavior from players like Marshawn Lynch, Richard Sherman and even coach Pete Carroll seem only to endear them even more to NFL fans – and all the Seahawks do is continue to win games and prove their critics wrong.