Paul the Octopus, the Rocky Marciano of Footy Forecasting, Dead at 2

He was fine when his keepers at the Oberhausen Sea Life Center in Germany checked his tank on Monday night, but Paul the Octopus, who correctly predicted the results of eight straight World Cup matches last summer, including the final, did not make it through to Tuesday morning.

He was two and a half years old.

Foul play is not overtly suspected in the death, but there are reports that Dutch midfielder Nigel De Jong will be questioned.

A spokesperson from the aquarium in western Germany said there are plans to erect a permanent modest shrine to the invertebrate, who made global headlines during the tournament.

Times will have changed by the time the 2014 World Cup rolls around, but we won’t be surprised if a variety of soothsaying animals are trotted out for match-prediction duties for that tournament. They’ll all be Johnny Come Latelys, almost certainly doomed to the same fate as Paul’s already-discredited imitators, such as Mani the Parakeet (Netherlands to win? Pfffffft).

Yes, like Marciano, and the 1972 Miami Dolphins, Paul will stand alone for years to come.


This was our favorite ripple effect of the oracular octopod story: Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad condemning Paul as a symbol of all that is wrong with the Western World.