Experts Weigh in on The Simpsons‘ Impressive Record of Predicting the Super Bowl

When it comes to predicting the champions of the Super Bowl, one cultural behemoth has had surprising clairvoyance: The Simpsons.

As Super Bowl LIII approaches, it’s worth revisiting just how the show managed to do it. The Simpsons may not have predicted the 2019 Super Bowl, in which the Los Angeles Rams face off against the New England Patriots in Atlanta, Ga. But in previous years, Lisa Simpson proved to be an eight-year-old who knew a winning team when she saw one. She was right three years in a row back in the ’90s. And if you throw in one very memorable 2017 halftime show starring a flying Lady Gaga, you could say the show has been right about the Super Bowl a total of four times.

The Simpsons’ Predictions of Real-Life Events

If you’ve seen America’s longest-running primetime television show during the last three decades, you may have observed that some of The Simpsons’ plots have eventually played out in real life. Though it’s best known for its satirical comic sensibility, loads of the show’s fantasy outcomes have actually happened with startling accuracy, to the delight of fans. Among them: FIFA’s 2015 corruption, America’s 2018 Winter Olympics curling victory, and more than 15 other events.

So how did the show’s writers dream up all these future scenarios without a time machine?

“Are we supposed to believe the script writers have special powers?” asks statistician Sir David Spiegelhalter, a professor at the Statistical Laboratory at the Center for Mathematical Sciences at the University of Cambridge. “These coincidences reflect their creative imagination and luck.”

Spiegelhalter says that with a show that has run for this long, the hunches that miss likely far outweigh the ones that hit.

“The crucial issue about assessing coincidences that hit the target is to know how many shots have been taken. It’s like watching YouTube videos of holes-in-one. They’re amazing, but we don’t have to watch the zillions of shots that didn’t go in,” he says. After all, the show is television’s longest-running scripted show ever.

But something else could have been at work, says John Ortved the author of The Simpsons: An Uncensored, Unauthorized History: expertise.

During The Simpsons’ Super Bowl predictions winning streak from 1992-1994, the writers room was full of well-informed sports fans, with “a lot of Harvard guys” in the mix, says Ortved. “They weren’t dumb. And they liked to gamble, following their boss, Sam Simon,” he tells TIME.

Ortved says these “educated guesses” are inevitable. “It would be weird if there wasn’t some crossover,” he says.

With that in mind, let’s take a look back at a timeline of all the accurate Simpsons Super Bowl predictions, ahead of Super Bowl LIII.

The Simpsons’ 1992 Super Bowl Prediction

The victorious three-year-run of The Simpsons’ Super Bowl predictions all started on Jan 23, 1992, with the “Lisa the Greek” episode.

In the episode, budding sports prophet Lisa and her dad Homer team up for some good old sports gambling. The bet: if the Washington Redskins become the Super Bowl champions in Super Bowl XXVI, then she’ll still love Homer. But if the game goes the other way, she won’t. No pressure.

The Winner of Super Bowl XXVI:

Three days later, it happens. Lucky for the world’s most famous toon family, the Redskins best the Bills, 37-24, and the father and daughter go hiking together.

Gin Ellis—NFLThe Simpsons predicted this Super Bowl again. In this picture, quarterback Mark Rypien #11 of the Washington Redskins drops back to pass against the Buffalo Bills in Super Bowl XXVI at the Metrodome on January 26, 1992 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Gin Ellis/Getty Images)

The Simpsons’ 1993 Super Bowl Prediction

The Simpsons’ Super Bowl episode gets a refresher the following year with some redubbing. This time, Lisa says the Dallas Cowboys will beat the Buffalo Bills in Super Bowl XXVII.

Simpsons predict the Super Bowl in 1993
Sporting News Archive—Sporting News via Getty ImagesPasadena, CA, USA; Dallas Cowboys MICHAEL IRVIN celebrates after a touchdown against Buffalo Bills on Jan. 31, 1993 in Super Bowl 27 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA. (Photo by Rich Pilling/Sporting News via Getty Images)

The Winner of Super Bowl XXVII:

Lisa calls it again. The Dallas Cowboys defeat the Buffalo Bills with a score of 30-13. Well done, Michael Irvin and Emmitt Smith.

The Simpsons’ 1994 Super Bowl Prediction

The show re-airs the same episode with all new voiceovers to make it current. This time, Lisa predicts that the Dallas Cowboys will triumph again to surpass the Buffalo Bills.

Simpsons Super Bowl Predictions
TIMOTHY CLARY—AFP/Getty ImagesThe Simpsons predict Super Bowl again in 1994. Here, the Buffalo Bills running back Thurman Thomas (C) eludes Dallas Cowboys defenders during Super Bowl XXVIII. (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)

The Winner of Super Bowl XXVIII:

Right on target, once again. By halftime, the Bills led 13-6, but they couldn’t hold onto their lead, and the Dallas Cowboys beat the Buffalo Bills again, 30-13. The Bills put up a good fight but went winless at four of their consecutive Super Bowl appearances.

The Simpsons’ Super Bowl Halftime Show Prediction

One prediction that was a little more visual than factual was an episode foretelling the 2017 Super Bowl halftime show. Years before Lady Gaga ever took flight attached to a harness in a glittering Versace ensemble and matching boots, The Simpsons imagined a very similar grand entrance at a smaller venue: a Springfield concert, in the 2012 episode “Lisa Goes Gaga.”

The 2017 Super Bowl Halftime Show Starring Lady Gaga:

Around five years later, it certainly looked a lot like that Simpsons episode when Gaga descended on Houston’s NRG Stadium for the 2017 Super Bowl Halftime show. Minus the pyrotechnic top the show imagined, the aesthetics were familiar: the harness, the silver outfit, the fact that she was airborne and the drones that hung in the air.

The Mother Monster The Simpsons imagined and The Mother Monster for real weren’t exactly identical, but that didn’t stop fans from noticing.

Ortved says the prediction is not so surprising, after all. “It doesn’t take Tiresias to guess that Gaga, one of the biggest music stars, might play a Super Bowl halftime show. And then look at the things that ended up being similar: she descended from the air, she sat at a piano, she had choreographed dance moves. All those things make complete sense,” Ortved says.

Simpsons Predict Lady Gaga Halftime Show
Singer Lady Gaga performs during the halftime show of Super Bowl LI at NGR Stadium in Houston, Texas, on February 5, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Timothy A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)

If you’re planning to place a bet on the 2019 Super Bowl, it might be wise to call a Simpsons writer first.

Entertainment – TIME


Nielsen backs up Netflix’s big ‘Bird Box’ viewer claims with seriously impressive data


It looks like Bird Box is the massive hit that Netflix says it is.

Nielsen, which measures viewer ratings of television shows and now some streaming services, backed up Netflix’s bold claims about Bird Box‘s popularity, Variety reported Tuesday. Within the first seven days of its release on Netflix, Nielsen reports that it was watched by 26 million viewers in the U.S. alone.

Netflix reported that in that seven day span, Bird Box had been viewed by 45 million accounts around the globe. Unfortunately Nielsen only looks at U.S. data for Netflix, so we can’t fully confirm Netflix’s claim, but it doesn’t seem unreasonable given the U.S. numbers. Read more…

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Places that are much less impressive in real life


When it comes to finding your next holiday destination, you often look online to find the best attractions that country or city has to offer. When you type in the city name, your search will probably come up with some of the most famous, or some of the most iconic places in that area. And that’s what you want, right? You want to see the best of the best. But sometimes, the places that make an area famous are much less impressive in real life….

Hollywood’s Walk of Fame

Ahhhh, Hollywood. Where all of your favorite celebrities walk the streets, and you bump into your favorite singer while buying your morning coffee. Sounds great. Unfortunately, this rarely ever happens. Most visitors who travel to Hollywood always want to see one thing before they leave – the Hollywood Walk of Fame. This walkway is one of the only places in the world where the best names from stage and screen come together, and it’s iconic. But is it really that impressive in real life? The simple answer is no. This 1.3-mile walkway will definitely tire you out, and for what? The celebrities don’t stand by their stars waiting for tourists to pass by. In reality, it really is just a bunch of stones.


Stonehenge in Wiltshire, England is genuinely one of the most breathtaking historical monuments when you see it on television, or when someone takes an incredible picture at dawn. And it’s true. The whole concept behind Stonehenge is extraordinary, with scientists believing the 6 ft and 25-ton stones to have been placed there by hand around 3000 BC. However, there are still so many questions surrounding the heritage site, that researchers are still baffled by the use and the construction of Stonehenge. It is definitely a must-see at some point in your life, but don’t rush. As much as the site is beautiful, it has become a tourist trap. Nowadays, tourists have to stay put on a designated walkway (that is not at all close) around the stones – that’s if you can move through the crowds of people that rock up each day.

Four Corners Monument

The Four Corners Monument marks the intersections between four states – New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona, and Utah and is the only place in the United States that offers this intersection. So it must feel pretty awesome to stand in four states at once, right? Well, for about two seconds it does. The Four Corners Monument is in the middle of the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe Reservation, and as you can guess from the name, it’s not exactly next to your local Mcdonald’s. Instead, it is in the middle of nowhere. The monument is around 30 miles away from anything else significant, and you’ll feel pretty silly once you turn up to a parking lot (where the monument is located), wait in line to take a picture with your feet on the monument, only to realize historians had made a mistake and that the actual intersection is around 1,807 feet west of the fake intersection.

Statue of the Little Mermaid

The Statue of the Little Mermaid is one of the most iconic monuments in Copenhagen, and people travel from across the world to view the statue based on the famous Hans Christian Anderson fairytale. The Mermaid sculpture, which was unveiled in 1913, sits on top of a rock by the water along the Langelinie Promenade, and it really is quite spectacular to look at – especially if you’ve seen the photos. However, save your money and avoid visiting it, because it isn’t even the original sculpture! The original monument was damaged so many times by vandals and political activists that the sculpture was replaced by a replica many years ago. As if that wasn’t enough to dissuade people, you’ll have to fight your way through hoards of people to get a good look-see.


When you think of Paris, you think of the Eiffel Tower, the River Seine, the Louvre and all things beautiful. Including the Champs-Élysées. As the most famous street and road in Paris, thousands of tourists flock to this 1.2-mile long street to check out the theaters, the cafés, the beautiful gardens, the impressive monuments and the pièce de résistance at the end… the Arc de Triomphe. Ahhhh, it must be so quiet and majestic, right? Wrong. As one of the busiest roads in Paris, Champs-Élysées is full of cars and traffic at all hours of the day – and they even drive straight through the Arc de Triomphe! If you wanted to get stuck in a traffic jam, you could have stayed at home.

So next time you’re tempted to check out some of these places, think about all of the other people who have the same idea as you. Instead, try and find some more unusual and less famous alternatives.


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