Month 1 -- 2016 Presidential Power Rankings as NFL Teams
It's going to be a historic battle for the presidency, just as it is every year for the Lombardi Trophy. I've Power Ranked the declared and undeclared candidates and given them a spirit NFL team. Assume there are no conferences. Will the politicians keep the same spirit team by Month 2? Who will run away with this thing? In this, our Month 1 Power Ranking, it is clear as day.
1. Hilary Clinton (New England Patriots) Former First Lady, Former U.S. Senator, NY, Former Secretary of State
The Dynasty. The Power Couple (Tom and Bill, Hilary and Bill). The Scandals. The Success. This one is just too easy.
2. Jeb Bush (Green Bay Packers) Former Governor of Florida
There's a dynasty here that stretches generations. The way back Bart Starr and GHWB were hard nosed, old-fashioned politicians. The Brett Favre and GWB era was characterized by moments of brilliance surrounded by terrible, terrible decision-making. The Aaron Rodgers and Jeb Bush period is a smarter, more efficient breed of Bush that is going to make a real run at this thing.
3. Scott Walker (Seattle Seahawks) Governor of Wisconsin
He's got it all. The charisma, the good looks, the fundraising. This is a solid candidate if you are a conservative. If you're a conservative, he does everything right, just like Russell Wilson. He just needs to execute and not throw a pick on the last play of the Super Bowl.
4. Ted Cruz (Dallas Cowboys) U.S. Senator, TX
Cruz has the skill. He has the money. He has everything he needs to become the Republican nominee. But just like the Cowboys, despite everything, we just don't have faith he can get it done on the biggest stage with all eyes on him. This could be the year.
5. Rand Paul (Indianapolis Colts) U.S. Senator, KY
Andrew Luck is trying to fill Peyton's long shadow. Rand is trying to live up to the cult following his father built. He has the message and the ability to inspire the Republicans, but does he have the rest of the pieces? Like the Colts, he will be there nearly until the end, but not have the full team to get to the big game.
6. Michael Bloomberg (Arizona Cardinals) Former Mayor of NYC, Founder of Bloomberg
He isn't a declared candidate, but if he does run, he is a serious force to contend with. He will be exceptionally well-fundraised and have the best play-calling in the game. Just like the Cardinals, it comes down to spirit. Can Bloomberg inspire? Can the Cardinals keep their QB healthy?
The Dark Horses
7. Bernie Sanders (Detroit Lions) U.S. Senator, Vermont
Just like the Lions, if everything is clicking, Bernie can beat literally any team in the league. The problem is, what's the likelihood of that? But, he goes for the big play every time and for that, we love watching him.
8. Marco Rubio (Kansas City Chiefs) U.S. Senator, FL
He is excellent with X's and O's. He does everything right. But, something is missing. For some reason, it just isn't there. He calls the right play at the wrong time, classic Marco, classic Andy Reid. But, maybe this is the year? Probably not.
9. Rick Perry (Pittsburgh Steelers) Former Governor of Texas
He's done some stupid stuff (like the Steelers letting Dick Lebeau go), but he is a solid candidate. He is going to raise big time money and have big Tex behind him. People would be fools to ever count out Rick Perry or the Steelers.
The Last Leg, Hail Mary, Long Shots
10. Joe Biden (Denver Broncos) Former U.S. Senator, DE, Vice President of the United States
On paper, old Joe Biden had it all. During the regular season, he was always the sharpest guy in Washington. And then, during the playoffs, he choked almost every time. JB could make one more run at this thing just like PM, but the tank is probably empty.
11. Donald Trump (Philadelphia Eagles) Rich Person
Like the Eagles, Trump does things in a nonconventional way. No one really likes what he's up to, but everyone is reallllllly curious to see how it will work out. Just like the Eagles who cut players that don't buy in 100 percent, Trump loves firing people.
12. Martin O'Malley (Baltimore Ravens) Former Governor of Maryland
Just like his home team, O'Malley is going to need a break to go his way, like the Ravens used to win the Super Bowl a few years ago. Award for most likely VP candidate? He's got that locked up.
The Familiar Losers
13. Rick Santorum (Cincinnati Bengals) Former U.S. Senator, PA
He has all the talent to be in the top tier, but we can always count on him to blow it when it really matters. Sound familiar, Andy Dalton fans?
14. Mike Huckabee (Carolina Panthers) Former Governor of Arkansas
He's got the inspirational ability (the QB), just nothing else on offense that can get it done. It seems like every year he's floating around the fringes, but can never break through.
The Have No Shot and are Just Playing for Draft Picks (Cabinet Positions)
15. Linsdsey Graham (NY Jets) U.S. Senator, SC
Parts of this campaign are promising, and like the Jets, this campaign is half-way decent. The Jets have a good defense, and Graham is a powerful conservative senator. But to win the big game, you need a great QB and neither the Jets nor Graham have the special stuff.
16. Jim Webb (Tampa Bay Bucs) Former U.S. Senator, VA
There's something here. Maybe, just maybe... no, it won't happen.
17. Carly Fiorina (Oakland Raiders) Former CEO of HP
Carly Fiorina isn't a real candidate, just like the Raiders aren't a real contender. Carr could be a Pro Bowl player this year, just like Fiorina could become the darling of the Republican Party if literally everything goes right. Realistically, it is safe to say neither the team nor the candidate will be doing anything but occasionally making a highlight reel.
18. George Pataki (Washington Redskins) Former Governor of New York
Maybe if RG3 actually plays well, the Redskins will have a good year. Maybe if Howard Stern endorses him (like he did in 1994 to win him the Governorship of NY) he will win the presidency. There is a tremendous amount of maybe around Pataki and no one really expects him to compete.
19. Bobby Jindal (NY Giants) Governor of Louisiana
Bobby was looking great just a few years ago, but he just can't get out of his own way with all the gaffes. Similar to his spirit QB, Eli Manning who seems to throw an interception every time we think he might get back on track.
20. Ben Carson (San Francisco 49ers) Retired Neurosurgeon
The uniform looks great, but then we remember that this campaign is rudderless, just like its spirit team. People are abandoning ship.
21. John Kasich (Jacksonville Jaguars) Governor of Ohio
Go ahead, name five players on the Jaguars. You can't. Just like no one can name anything that John Kasich has done that is relevant to 2016. Just like the Jaguars who are very conscious of the budget even playing 'home games' in London, Kasich is equally obsessed with the budget. Also, similar to the Jaguars he has very few fans.
22. Chris Christie (Cleveland Browns)
It all looked so good for a few weeks last year. And then, it all fell apart. The harder they fight, the further they sink. Scandal, loud mouthed behavior, epic collapse in 12 months... forget the Browns, Chris Christie and Johnny Football should link up.
Updated Rankings coming next month. What will the new categories be? Will Spirit teams be stolen? It's early, but the summer time scramble is upon us.