The Giants and Patriots didn’t disappoint on Sunday during Super Bowl XLVI, giving the second thrilling, down-to-the-wire game in four years. It has long been said that football is a microcosm of life. So for the observant investor, it wouldn’t be surprising at all to see some of the biggest storylines that affected both Wall Street and the economy to play out on the sports biggest stage. And even if there wasn’t a direct connection, it sure would add more enjoyment to the game’s replay value if there was. Heck, even Clint Eastwood made a comparison. Without further ado, here’s a recap of the action with an eye for equities.
Early Gaffe Puts Pats Behind
The only other time the first scoring play of the Super Bowl was a safety was when a fumbled hand-off in Super Bowl IX forced legendary Vikings quarterback Fran Tarkenton to jump on a ball in his own end zone. While this year’s safety also involved a hall of fame quarterback [presumably], it came via a penalty after Tom Brady threw a ball deep downfield to no one and got flagged for intentional grounding in the end zone, an automatic safety.
That intentional grounding was not unlike the bankruptcy of AMR Corp. (AMR), the parent company that owns American Airlines, which had to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Nov. 29th of last year. American Airlines was already down almost 80 percent on the year, with excessive labor costs and the rising price of fuel hitting the airline hard. However, the share price has doubled since the sell-off surrounding the bankruptcy amid beliefs that American could become profitable after trimming costs and renegotiating labor contracts as well as rumors that US Airways (LCC) could be interested in purchasing American.
Pats Storm Back
Despite falling behind 9-0 after a 2-yard TD pass from Eli Manning to Victor Cruz, the Patriots rallied hard, scoring 17 straight points to cease the lead early in the second half. The Pats certainly started the second half off great before ultimately losing a handle on the game. Not unlike Netflix (NFLX), which was riding high in June of last year before a series of well-documented missteps led to a massive sell-0ff of the company’s shares. Like the Patriots, Netflix could be a once-mighty performer that’s starting to show its age. Verizon (VZ) announced plans today to partner with Coinstar’s (CSTR) Redbox to create a streaming video service to rival Netflix. This represents another competitor entering the marketplace even as Netflix is watching costs for its new content soar.
Dropped Pass Proves Costly
One of the most discussed plays of the game last night was a costly drop on a potential first-down pass by the Patriots’ usually sure-handed Wes Welker. Welker may be getting too much blame given that he was wide open and Brady threw above and behind him, but the harsh nature of the public eye is such that Welker will likely bear the brunt of the blame. Of course, when discussing costly drops, Welker’s pales in comparison to what happened to Google (GOOG) in January. A disappointing earnings report meant that the internet giant took a hit and share fell over 10 percent in January. That’s a resulting loss of almost $22 billion is the company’s market cap. With Facebook, Google’s biggest competitor for internet dominance, recently filing for its much ballyhooed IPO, the Mountain View, CA company can’t be happy about the slip.
Eli Manning Delivers Another Brilliant Play
Of course, the other talked-about play was the brilliant pass and catch between Eli Manning and Mario Manningham on the Giants’ final drive of the game. Eli delivered a perfectly thrown pass to the sidelines where Manningham made an incredible catch to move the Giants 38 yards down the field on a drive that would ultimately produce the game-winning score. It was a superb catch at just the right time. However, any investor who caught Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (GMCR) after the huge sell-off following last November’s earnings miss is likely pretty pleased with themselves as well. Green Mountain had been a serious battleground stock for month afters Greenlight Capital’s (GLRE) David Einhorn publicly declared a short on the stock and claimed the company was making accounting errors. When a quarterly report showed earnings to be off, Green Mountain shares plummeted. However, since that fateful day, the company is up almost 70 percent, with a 30 percent boost coming in January after a solid quarterly earnings report.
You could say that Green Mountain were real underdogs going into January. Not unlike the scrappy 9-7 Giants at the start of the playoffs. But that, of course, would be reversing the direction of the similes/metaphors.
What were your favorite Super Bowl/financial news connections from Sunday’s big game?