Top Nine Best Sports Curses
By Lou DiPietro
Halloween season brings about thoughts of many things: ghosts and goblins, cool costumes, all the chocolate you can eat…and, of course, the subject of witchcraft. The sports world for one certainly believes in superstitions and curses, and in compiling the list of famous athletic hexes below, we think our toil and trouble has produced a countdown even the most dubious residents of Salem, Mass. would find satisfactory.
THE CURSE OF CLEVELAND
"The Catch," "The Drive," "The Shot," and even "The Decision" are all bad memories for snake-bitten fans in Cleveland, who haven't seen a championship since the Browns won the NFL Title in 1964. We, on the other hand, choose to blame Cleveland's follies on someone stealing Jobu's rum.
THE CURSE OF BOBBY LAYNE
When the Lions traded Bobby Layne to Pittsburgh in 1958, the disgruntled QB reportedly said the Lions would "not win for 50 years." He was right, as over the next half-century, Detroit roared its way to the worst winning percentage in the NFL -- and in 2008, they became the first NFL team to finish 0-16.
THE AUGUSTA PAR 3 CURSE
Perhaps it's more coincidence than curse, but no man that has ever won the pre-Masters Par 3 exhibition at Augusta National has ever gone on to win the Green Jacket later that weekend. Perhaps a little prayer at "Amen Corner" might help next year, boys?
THE ANDRETTI CURSE
Talk about laying a brick: Since Mario Andretti won the Indianapolis 500 in 1969, the Andretti Family is 0-for-67 in starts at the Brickyard…and on the two occasions a driver running a car owned by Andretti Racing actually won at Indy, said driver defected to Ganassi Racing the following season.
THE CURSE OF WILLIAM PENN
Legend in Philadelphia had it that no building should be built taller than the William Penn statue atop City Hall, and after that was violated in 1987, the head Quaker's curse saw Philly go title-free for two decades…until a Penn figurine was attached to the final beam of the Comcast Center in 2007.
THE SI COVER JINX
As it goes, bad things happen to athletes shortly after they appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated…and while it may just be a case of confirmation bias, a study done back in 2003 showed that more than 37 percent of SI's cover subjects had "fallen victim" to it.
FRED MERKLE AND THE CURSE OF THE BILLY GOAT
The poor Chicago Cubs haven't won a World Series since Merkle's…um, gaffe (Google it) let them reach the Fall Classic in 1908, and they haven't even been back since Billy Sianis and his goat were exiled from Wrigley Field during the 1945 World Series. Insert your own baaaaaaa-d joke here.
THE MADDEN CURSE
We spotlighted the hex that has fallen on many of those who've been the face of the Madden video game franchise in a previous Niner, and this year, cover boy Calvin Johnson has just 592 yards and all of one touchdown through Week 7. On the bright side, at least he hasn't spiked himself.
THE CURSE OF THE BAMBINO
Of course it's number one, and if you're a Yankees fan, you know that while the Red Sox finally broke it in 2004, the bad news for them is that any "reverse hex" the '04 Sox may have placed on the Yankees lasted all of five years…which, to be fair, is still four more than Boston's last manager.