9 Unbelievable Sports Curses
According to this list, it’s just not possible for a sports figure or team to suck. Their must be supernatural powers at play, conspiring to keep the Padres from winning the world series, or deciding that, for no reason, the NY Rangers have suffered enough, granting them a Stanley Cup after 54 years. The big takeaway here is that the sports Gods are amazingly fickle, so just don’t make any sudden movements, and don’t ever, EVER do anything bad, and you might avoid a curse. Also, don’t appear on the cover of anything.
BONUS – Curse of the Billy Goat
There has to be a reason that the Cubs haven’t been to the World Series since 1945. It couldn’t just be that their fans unconditionally love their scrappy underdog team, allowing management to just coast on sell-outs while not hurting their pocketbooks. The story goes that in 1945, the owner of the Billy Goat Tavern, Billy Sianis, brought his pet goat to Wrigley Field during the World Series, only to be kicked out after fans complained of the goat-like smell coming from goat.
Naturally, Sianis responded by saying, “Them Cubs, they aren’t gonna win no more.’ I find this very hard to believe, if only because this weird goat-dragging bar owner would definitely say “ain’t” instead of “aren’t” in my mind. That’s my rationale why this is totally bogus. That said, the Cubs haven’t won the series in over 100 years, so tread lightly around men with goats. That’s good advice regardless of curses.
9. Madden Cover Jinx
This should be old hat by now. In case it’s not, the story goes that whoever ends up on the cover of the Madden football video game (generally after having an outstanding year the year before) will suffer injury the following season. Culpepper, George, Faulk, Vick, and Lewis all suffered horrible career downturns and/or injury after gracing the cover. What does it mean? Probably nothing, but it makes for a fun story, no?
8. The Curse of the Bambino
When your team, located in a baseball Mecca of sorts, fails to win the World Series from 1918 to 2004, you have to blame something, right? Well, Red Sox fans took to chalking up their bad luck to a curse that was bestowed by…someone after Boston management sold Babe Ruth to the rival New York Yankees in the offseason. Of course, something must have brought peace back to the supernatural world. Maybe those spirits sought therapy or something, cause they allowed the Sox to win it in 2004 in terrific fashion, then again in 2007. I wonder what could have happened to placate those ghosts?
7. The San Diego Curse
San Diego is currently suffering the longest drought of any US city with at least two sports franchises, having not enjoyed a championship since 1963. That year the Chargers won the AFL championship. Since then….nada. Rather than chalk this up to a statistical anomaly, both fans and critics alike have assigned a curse to the down that, in Spanish, translates roughly to “The Whale’s Vagina.”
What caused the curse? That’s the problem. There isn’t a decent reason. Some are willing to say it was in 1970 when the Chargers traded WR Lance Alworth to the Cowboys. LAME. I don’t know who Lance Alworth is, so unless he was the son of some shaman or witch doctor, we’ll attribute this curse to fans just making a mountain out of a molehill.
6. Curse of Billy Penn
The curse of Billy Penn claims that after a skyscraper was built that was taller than the height of the William Penn statue on top of city hall in 1987, the Phillies stopped winning. This seems pretty specious. Is the ghost of William Penn really so insecure that he would punish a city (and for a mere 21 years)? Either way, order was restored when a construction crew put tiny William Penn figure atop the now-tallest-buildingin Philly, the Comcast Center, in 2007. A little over a year later, the Phillies won the World Series.
Leave it to Philadelphia fans to think that a 21-year drought represents a curse. There’s no way that it could simply be chalked up to “your teams sucked.”
5. The Sports Illustrated Curse
Appear on the cover of SI at your own peril. The legend goes that anyone showing up on the cover will suffer some horrible injustice or misfortune in their career soon after their appearance. Of course, the fact that someone graces the cover of SI might just mean that you did something amazing, so anything you do after that might appear to be a substantial downgrade. Michael Jordan appeared on the cover 49 times, and his career turned out okay. And Vince Young was on the cover two times during Texas’ national championship run. However, Young did fall victim to the Madden curse two years later. Why is he susceptible to one curse and not the other? I say we remove his brain and study it in the name of science.
4. Bobby Layne’s Curse on Detroit
In 1958, QB Bobby Layne was traded from Detroit to Pittsburgh against his wishes, so he did what any well-adjusted person would do – he put a curse on the Lions, saying that they wouldn’t win a championship for 50 years. Of course, it’s been 50 years and the Lions haven’t done much recently. So the story checks out. In spite of having the whitest name in the history of mankind, Bobby Layne is, in addition to being a dead quarterback, also a master of the black arts. Don’t cross him.
3. The Curse of Colonel Sanders
This one is so awesomely ridiculous that I’m just going to choose to believe it. The Japanese baseball team the Hanshin Tigers have suffered a curse since 1985. Why? Because Colonel Sanders, the fried chicken guy, put a curse on them. Always considered the underdogs, the Tigers won the championship and celebrated by tossing a statue of the Colonel off of a bridge. (Awesome way to celebrate, btw) The team the suffered an 18-year losing streak that had them place last or second-to-last every season. The Colonel statue was found in 2009 at the bottom of the river, but if someone tossed my likeness underwater for 24 years, I wouldn’t be too quick to forgive. Don’t eff with the Colonel.
2. The Curse of Coogan’s Bluff
When the Giants took off from NYC to San Fran in 1957, New York fans at the Polo Grounds insisted that the team would never score a World Series title away from New York. And it worked. Until last year, when the Giants took the Rangers to win it all. So that was a cute little story while it lasted. Coogan’s Bluff was the part of Harlem where the Polo Grounds were located, which makes for a nice name for the curse, but that’s about it. Curse over, for some reason.
1. The Curse of 1940
This “curse” is by far the lamest notion conceived on this list, and as such, gets number one billing. Essentially, the Curse of 1940 was “The New York Rangers hockey team hasn’t won a Stanley Cup since 1940. They must be cursed.” That’s it. Of course, that means that everyone that believed in this curse had to reverse-engineer an explanation as to why the curse took place. My favorite: In 1940, the mortgage on Madison Square Garden was paid off, leading to management burning the mortgage notice inside the Stanley Cup. Fans decided that this action desecrated the Cup, leading to the hockey Gods screwing over the Rangers until their win in 1994. Why did they win in 1994 if they were cursed? Uh. Magic.
What? It’s as good a reason as any other one you’ll hear.