Skip to content

Chuck Backs Chuck: Schumer Shows Si Zoo's Groundhog Beats "World Famous" Punxsutawney Phil 6 Out Of Every 10 Years

Statistics don't lie: Staten Island Chuck predicts end of winter right about 90% of the time while Punxsutawney Phil gets it right only about 30% of the time

Schumer: SI could see millions of dollars in tourism revenue if Punxsutawney Phil did the honorable thing and ceded groundhog crown to Staten Island Chuck

After a week of warm weather and spring showers throughout the Northeast, US Senator Chuck Schumer today declared that the war of the competing Groundhog Day groundhogs is over, because the Staten Island groundhog has beaten his betterknown Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania cousin in a landslide. Armed with data showing Staten Island Chuck's vastly superior record predicting the end of winter, Schumer today wrote to the Mayor of Punxsutawney Pennsylvania, asking him to relinquish his town's groundhog crown to the borough of Staten Island and to Staten Island Chuck.

"This isn't about whether Punxsutawney Phil sees his own shadow anymore, it's about whether he should be overshadowed by Staten Island's clearly superior groundhog," Schumer wrote today in a letter to the Mayor of Punxsutawney Pennsylvania. "It's like baseball the statistics don't lie, and the bottom line is that Punxsutawney Phil outpredicts Staten Island Chuck about as often as the Pirates beat the Yankees in the World Series."

Year after year, a groundhog named Phil comes out of his hole in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania about 80 miles from Pittsburgh and, in the spotlight glare of the national media, predicts whether or not there will be another six weeks of winter. Usually he is wrong. This year, the Pennsylvania groundhog saw his shadow and predicted another 6 weeks of winter, just 3 weeks before spring sprung in the northeast.

Schumer noted that not only has it been warm in New York all week with temperatures hitting the mid60s with occasional spring showers, it has also been warm with spring showers in Punxsutawney Pennsylvania, with a high of 62.

Punxsutawney Phil's accuracy ratings vary from source to source, but experts agree he gets it right about 3 of every 10 years. In a 2003 profile, the Chicago Tribune found Punxsutawney Phil is correct 39 percent of the time. In 2002, the Raleigh News and Observer placed the success rate at 25% and the St. Louis PostDispatch said it was 36%. And according to the book Extraordinary Origins of Everyday Things, Phil's accuracy observed over a 60year period is a disappointing 28 percent.

In contrast, data from the Staten Island Zoo, where Staten Island Chuck lives, show that his predictions are correct 87% of the time and obviously he was right again this year. With Staten Island Chuck predicting correctly approximately 9 out of 10 years and Punxsutawney Phil only getting it right 3 out of 10 years, the majority of the time 6 out of 10 years Chuck is right and Phil is wrong.

While Schumer admitted that his letter to Punxsutawney Mayor James Wehrle was meant as a lighthearted jibe, Groundhog Day is big business for the town with the nation's lead groundhog. As seen in the Bill Murray move "Groundhog Day," hundreds of tourists and members of the media visit the area for February 2, pumping millions of dollars into the local economy.

"If he can't read his shadow right, it's time for Punxsutawney Phil to read the writing on the wall and pass the torch and the spotlight to Staten Island Chuck," Schumer said.