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Senate ready for some football; adjourns Sunday without reaching fiscal cliff deal

Today's fiscal cliff talks deadline: Kickoff of Cowboys-Redskins NFL game

Talks reportedly are continuing on Capitol Hill this Sunday, Dec. 30, as lawmakers struggle to find a way keep us from falling off the fiscal cliff in less than 48 hours.

Today, however, there is a firm deadline for the talk participants to take a break, if not conclude.

It's 8:20 p.m. Eastern, 7:20 p.m. Central.

That's kickoff time at FedEx Field in Landover, Md., for the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins game.

Cowboys vs redskins helmets

Political pundits put the chance of a fiscal cliff deal being reached before Jan. 1, 2013, at 50-50.

That's almost the same as the computer simulation predictions for tonight's big NFL game. The Redskins are a slight 51 percent favorite to win tonight's game, which will determine not only playoff fates of several teams but also the NFC East championship.

That's a title the Redskins haven't held since 1999. The 'Boys last division title was in 2009.

The long-time NFL rivals have met 105 times over 52 years, including two NFC championship games.

But the two teams have met only once before in the final week with playoff implications for both teams. Dallas beat Washington 35-to-34 on Dec. 16, 1979, rallying from 13 points down in the fourth quarter with two touchdown passes from Roger Staubach.

In that game, the Cowboys finished 11-5 and won the NFC East. The Redskins dropped to 10-6 and stayed home. That will be the reverse case this year if the 'Skins win.

I know there's the Redskins Rule when it comes to predicting presidential election results. A Washington football victory in the game just before the vote is supposed to mean a win for the party in power.

That's held true in 17 of 19 presidential elections since 1937, the year the team moved from Boston to the nation's capital. But the rule didn't hold in 2008 or this year, when the Redskins' loss to the Carolina Panthers indicated Mitt Romney would be moving into the White House.

I wonder if tonight's game will offer any clues as to how the fiscal cliff talks are going.

It does seem fitting that the Cowboys are in such a big game involving Washington at such a crucial time for American fiscal policy.

The 'Boys tend to screw around for 59 minutes of each game before making any offensive progress, much like Congress and its continual penchant for waiting until the last minute to score any legislative or political points.

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