What’s better than playoff sports?
Entire cities coalesce in support of a common team. The buzz is different, the air is pure and the excitement is palpable. Fans get closer to the individual players, the team, and their fellow fans.
Total strangers are united by their devotion to a single goal. Everyone, even the fair-weather fan, wants in on the action. And when fair-weather fans start multiplying in numbers, politicians are the last to follow, figuring they can endear themselves to voters in perhaps the easiest of ways: watching sports. That’s why, when playoff time comes around, politicians lavish their attention on the sports world. And what better way to demonstrate your interest with a good old friendly wager? It shows you’re backing the team and that you’re one with the people. Genius.
For decades, politicians have been making cordial, meaningless bets on playoff series with their counterparts in other cities. It started with signature foods—pastrami sandwiches in New York, clam chowder from Boston. Since then, it's expanded from the realm of food and politics into more sophisticated realms, like art and late-night comedy.
Here are 11 of our favorites: