Politicians answer questions like athletes

Story highlights

  • Politics and pro sports both have seasons, contentious matches, very expensive ads and regularly updated rankings
  • Athletes and politicians are also fundamentally connected in the ways they answer questions without really answering questions

(CNN)Happy Super Bowl from CNN Politics. If you ignore the peak physical condition thing, politicians and athletes have some similar job responsibilities. Politics and pro sports both have seasons, contentious matches, very expensive ads and regularly updated rankings. Every moment is captured on television networks devoted almost entirely to their respective topics.

Athletes and politicians are also fundamentally connected in the ways they answer questions without really answering questions. Take a look:

Sticking to the script

Regardless of the question, politicians sometimes go into an interview determined to stick to their talking points.
Politicians sticking to the script
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This season's candidates might want to try taking a cue from Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch, who only showed up to the Super Bowl's mandatory media day in 2015 so he didn't get fined. It was a talking point to which he stuck with focus that would make any politician envious.
Equally focused was Oklahoma City Thunder player Russell Westbrook, whose answer on game-time execution would sound right at home on the campaign trail.

Fancy footwork

Politicians and athletes also like to use the art of distraction to avoid answering questions. Some of them interrupt interviewers the way presidential candidate Donald Trump does. Others have actually taken a line from the sports world, as White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid. Both men jokingly quoted Washington Nationals player Bryce Harper during bouts with the press.
Politicians get combative
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One distraction that could probably be employed a bit more on the campaign trail is the use of an adorable child. Last year during the NBA's Western Conference finals, Golden State Warriors player Steph Curry brought his daughter Riley to several press conferences. They were, not objectively speaking, some of the greatest press conferences in history. Candidates, take note.

Sudden selective hearing

Sometimes the best way to avoid answering a question is to pretend you didn't hear it. Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and Vice President Joe Biden have elevated it to an art form.
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When it comes to athletes, there's New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski and his method, which involves biceps, but the gold standard is Houston Rockets player James Harden, who exited this interview with style.

Playing dumb

When all else fails, just say something without saying anything that can get you in trouble. President Bill Clinton showed the world how it's done during his impeachment scandal. What is the meaning of the word 'is' anyway?
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During last year's 'Deflategate' scandal, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady appeared at a press conference and nailed it. Beautifully executed.
Enjoy the election year. Enjoy the Super Bowl. Especially enjoy the postgame press conferences.