Every sports team”s main goal is to be the best and to try to win a championships. Some win it all, some fall short, and some are the New York Jets. But for some franchises, winning a championship isn”t always up to them. Some sports franchises are believed to be cursed. A strange occurrence happened to the team or the city, and they are doomed to never win a championship. When a city or a team recognizes these curses and tries to reverse them, it sometimes works out for them. However, it mostly just fails miserably.
1. The Curse Of The Colonel
When the Hanshin Tigers won the 1985 Japan Championship Series, celebrating fans in Osaka grabbed a statue of Colonel Sanders from a Kentucky Fried Chicken and threw it off a bridge into a canal. Over the next 17 years, the Tigers finished last in their league 10 times, inspiring a rumor that the team would never win another championship until the Colonels statue was recovered. The Tigers won League Championships in 2003 and 2005, only to lose the Japan Series. Before too much blame is given to the Colonel, it should be noted that the Tigers had previously gone 21 years between League Championships (1964-85) without any known curse affecting them. The statue was recently discovered on March 10, 2009, by a construction crew building a new boardwalk.
2. The Curse Of Marty McSorley
In 1992, Montreal Canadiens defenseman Marty McSorley was accused of having an illegally curved hockey stick while in the game. The refs inspected his stick during the Stanley Cup matchup and deemed his stick to be illegally curved. McSorley was penalized, and the L.A. Kings went on to score several goals while he was in the penalty box. The Kings would go on to beat the Canadiens in that Stanley Cup. Since then, no Canadian team has won a Stanley Cup.
3. The Curse Of The Billy Goat
William Sianis, owner of the Billy Goat Bar, brought his pet goat to Wrigley Field to watch game four of the 1945 World Series. During the 7th inning, Chicago Cubs owner Philip Wrigley personally had Sianis and the goat ejected because of complaints from other fans about the smell. A furious Sianis reportedly declared, Them Cubs, they arent gonna win no more. The Cubs proceeded to drop the next three games to lose the Series to the Detroit Tigers, prompting Sianis to send Wrigley a telegram asking Who smells now? The Cubs have not made it to a World Series since. Several attempts have been made to break the curse, ranging from Sianis nephew Billy bringing a goat onto the field, to fans hanging a butchered goat from the statue of Harry Caray in Chicago. According to Sam Sianis, Williams nephew-in-law, the curse can only be lifted by the Cubs organization showing a genuine fondness for goats. They need to allow them into Wrigley Field because they truly want to and not simply for publicity.
4. The Coogan”s Bluff Curse
The Giants left the Polo Grounds at Coogans Bluff in New York City for San Francisco in 1957. Betrayed fans reportedly hexed the team so it would never win a World Series away from New York. The Giants hadn”t won the Series since 1954, despite National League pennants in 1962, 1989, and 2002 until their most recent victories in 2010, 2012, and 2014.
5. The Curse Of Bobby Lane
Quarterback Bobby Layne led the Detroit Lions to three NFL Championships (1952, 1953, 1957). Despite this, the Lions, thinking he was past his prime, traded him to the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1958. As Layne left, he reportedly declared that Detroit would not win for 50 years. Over those 50 years, the Lions had the worst winning percentage of any NFL team, and had a single post-season victory (1991). On the 50th anniversary of the trade, the curse went out with a bang as the Lions became the first NFL team to go 0-16.
6. The Curse Of Billy Penn
Philadelphia had a policy of not allowing buildings higher than the statue of city founder William Penn. This ended in 1987 with the completion of One Liberty Place, which is nearly 400 feet taller than City Hall. Penn apparently responded to his demotion by cursing Phillys pro sports teams. Over the next 20 years, the Flyers lost the Stanley Cup twice (1987, 1997), the Phillies lost the World Series (1993), the 76ers lost the NBA Finals (2001) and the Eagles lost the Super Bowl (2004). In 2007, when the Comcast Center became Philadelphias tallest building, workers tried to break the curse by attaching a figurine of Penn to the final beam. It worked, as the Phillies won the World Series next year.
7. The Sports Illustrated Cover Jinx
According to legend, the athletes appearing on the cover of Sports Illustrated go on to experience bad luck. SIs first cover subject, baseball player Eddie Mathews, was also the first victim of the jinx, suffering a hand injury one week later that forced him to miss seven games. Over the years, the jinx has produced losses, when the 1987 baseball preview featured the Indians with the declaration “Believe it! Cleveland is the best team in the American League, “only for the team to lose 101 games and finish dead last. The curse also brought injuries, when golfer Jim Venturi was named 1964s Sportsman of the Year, only to spend the next season battling carpal tunnel syndrome. Even scarier is the death foreshadowed by the magazine, when Pat OConnor, pictured on the 1958 Indianapolis 500 preview issue, was killed in a fifteen car pile-up on the last lap.
8. The Curse Of The Bambino
Probably the most famous sports cure, the Curse of the Bambino involves the Red Sox selling Babe Ruth to the Yankees in 1920. Before that trade, the Sox had won 5 championships, while the Yankees had none. Since then, then Yankees had won 26 championships and the Red Sox had won none until 2004, where the curse was finally reversed and the Sox claimed their first championship in over 80 years.
9. The Socceroos Witch Doctor Curse
According the autobiography of player Johnny Warren, during the 1970 World Cup qualifiers, Australias Socceroos hired a witch doctor to curse their opponents. Australia proceeded to beat Rhodesia, 3-1. However, when the players were unable to come up with the 1000 pound fee demanded by the witch doctor, he reversed the curse onto the Socceroos, who lost their next match to Israel, partly because three players fell ill during the match. In 2004, Australian comedian/filmmaker John Safran read Warrens book and traveled to Africa to reverse the curse. He found that the original witch doctor was dead, but hired a second one who performed a rite in which he killed a chicken and splattered the blood over Saffran. The Socceroos not only qualified for the 2006 World Cup, they advanced to the second round, the best result they ever had.
10. The Madden Curse
Since 1999, the cover of the Madden NFL video game has featured a top player, many of whom have suffered injuries or setbacks. For example, Michael Vick appeared on the cover of Madden NFL 2004 and suffered a leg injury that sidelined him for most of the 2003 season. When Donovan McNabb was chosen for the Madden 2006 cover, he declared I dont believe in the curse at all. He suffered a hernia in the first game of the 2005 season, missing the last seven games of the season due to surgery. In 2006, Shaun Alexander, the previous seasons MVP, was featured on Madden NFL 2007 and sustained a foot injury that caused him to miss six starts. When EA Sports announced that LaDainian Tomlinson would be on the 2008 cover, superstitious fans created the website SaveLTfromMadden.com to urge him to reconsider. Tomlinson eventually declined the offer, but said it was over his payment, not concerns about the curse. His replacement, Vince Young, went on to have one of the worst years of his career and is no longer in football. Regardless of who graces the cover, the results are never good for that player the next year or even the next several years.
If your sports team or your favorite player is involved with any of these curses, I wish you luck. Reversing these curses is an arduous task. Many people and teams never come back from them.