Super Bowl outcome's association with cardiovascular death

Clin Res Cardiol. 2013 Nov;102(11):807-11. doi: 10.1007/s00392-013-0593-y. Epub 2013 Aug 27.


Background: A previous analysis from Los Angeles showed that death rates increased among hometown fans after losing the Super Bowl in 1980 and decreased after a win in 1984. Data are unavailable in the era of drug-eluting stents, dual antiplatelet therapy, statins, and modern medical therapy.

Methods: Two high drama and intense Super Bowls were analyzed: NYC beat New England (Massachusetts) in 2008 and Pittsburgh defeated Arizona in 2009. Daily death certificate data were obtained. The case period included eight consecutive days beginning Super Bowl day. The control period included eight consecutive days beginning Super Bowl day in non-case period Super Bowls from 2005 to 2009.

Results: After Massachusetts' defeat, circulatory deaths increased by 20 % (p = 0.0004) and ischemic heart disease deaths increased by 24 % (p = 0.01) in Massachusetts. After Pittsburgh's victory circulatory deaths decreased by 25 % (p = 0.046), ischemic heart disease deaths decreased by 31 % (p = 0.03), and myocardial infarction deaths decreased by 46 % (p = 0.01) in Pittsburgh. Cardiovascular death rates did not change in Arizona (all p > 0.19). Massachusetts and Pittsburgh show stronger support for their home teams compared with Arizona.

Conclusions: A Super Bowl with high drama/intensity can be associated with changes in cardiovascular death rates among a fan base with a strong attachment to the team even in the contemporary era. An increase in death rates can be associated with a loss and a decrease in death rates can be associated with a win.

MeSH terms

  • Arizona / epidemiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / mortality*
  • Cause of Death
  • Death Certificates
  • Football*
  • Humans
  • Massachusetts / epidemiology
  • Myocardial Infarction / epidemiology
  • Myocardial Infarction / mortality*
  • Myocardial Ischemia / epidemiology
  • Myocardial Ischemia / mortality*
  • Pennsylvania / epidemiology
  • Stress, Psychological / epidemiology
  • Stress, Psychological / mortality