Pittsburgh and Green Bay are two cities with longstanding football traditions set to do battle in Sunday's Super Bowl. Both cities also happen to be in states important to Pres. Obama's reelection prospects in 2012. And in a departure from the previous two Super Bowls, Obama is staying neutral in this year's game.
Super Bowl XLV features two teams from consummate 2012 battleground states, so when looked at strictly though a political lens, Obama's decision to remain neutral makes sense. Wisconsin and Pennsylvania hold 10 and 20 electoral votes respectively in 2012, and Obama won both states in 2008.
Obama said during a recent trip to Pennsylvania that he has "some love" for the Steelers.
Of course, Obama may have his own reasons for staying neutral this year, separate from politics. And winning both states is no guarantee of victory on its own: Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) won both in 2004, but still lost the election.
Last year, Obama appeared partial to the New Orleans Saints against the Indianapolis Colts, due in part to the impact of Hurricane Katrina on New Orleans.
And in 2009, Obama said he was rooting for the Steelers in Super Bowl XLIII, citing his relationship with Steelers owner Dan Rooney, a supporter during the 2008 campaign. Obama later tapped Rooney to be Ambassador to Ireland.
Will we see a last second endorsement of either team from Obama? Probably not, but he has granted Fox News' Bill O'Reilly an interview that will air before the game on Sunday and the topic could come up.
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