10 Sports Curses That Will Make You Believe in Fate

A skeptic will point out that a curse is the
result of poor decisions or odd coincidences. But that’s little consolation to hardcore
fans, and the long strings of bad luck associated with some of these anomalies will make even
the most doubtful people raise an eyebrow. 10. The Curse of William Penn Until 1987, the tallest structure in Philadelphia
was the statue of William Penn atop city hall, at 548 feet. This allowed for plenty of buildings around
30 stories, but city leaders felt they needed a signature skyscraper. So they made plans to build Liberty Place,
a complex of two skyscrapers nearly 1000 feet high. Philadelphia had long been known as a great
sports town. It’s one of the cities with at least one
team in each of the four major leagues, the NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB. In 1974 and 1975 the Flyers won back-to-back
Stanley Cups. In 1980 the Phillies won the World Series. And in 1983 the 76ers won the NBA championship. There was plenty to celebrate. But in 1984, when the decision was made to
build Liberty Place, success dried up quickly. There wouldn’t be another championship in
the city until the Phillies won the World Series in 2008 — a drought of 25 years,
the longest ever for a city with a team in each major league. The curse didn’t simply go away — 2008
was also the year the Comcast Center was completed, a skyscraper that surpassed One Liberty Place
as the tallest building in Philadelphia. At the top of the building they placed a miniature
statue of William Penn identical to the one on City Hall, once again putting him at the
highest point in the city. The moral? Never mess with a Quaker. 9. Chunky Soup Curse Soup isn’t considered a particularly manly
meal. Campbell’s sought more male customers by
creating its line of Chunky Soups, and who better to endorse these manly soups than pro
football players? The first incident was in the late ’90s,
when Denver’s Terrell Davis, who led Denver to back-to-back Super Bowl wins, suffered
repeated knee injuries, cutting his career to a very impressive but very short four years. Victor Cruz, Todd Heap and Larry Johnson all
suffered a similar fate shortly after their endorsement. The curse wasn’t limited to on-field injuries. Reggie White, one of the most dominant and
respected defensive linemen in NFL history, died of heart problems in 2004 at the age
of 43. He had started endorsed Chunky Soup in 1997,
shortly before his career ended as well. And just a few months after becoming the youngest
starting quarterback to win a Super Bowl, Ben Roethlisberger was involved in a motorcycle
accident. He recovered from his injuries, but was described
as extremely lucky since he went through another car’s windshield and wasn’t wearing a
helmet. The saddest story is about Brian Urlacher’s
mother. Most commercials featured the players and
their mother who prepared the meal for them, in a humorous “even big guys need their
mommas” kind of way. Brian’s mother appeared with him in one
ad, then died a few years later at only 51. 8. The Cleveland Curse When the river flowing through your city catches
on fire, you know things just aren’t right. Cleveland is a great sports town with very
loyal fans who have had nothing to celebrate for generations. They have, however, suffered through many
terrible seasons, gut wrenching losses, departures of star players, and even the departure of
the teams themselves. Their beloved Browns have the notoriety of
being the only team which has never been to or hosted the Super Bowl. Most of their seasons have been bad, but in
the mid-80s they twice came within moments of making it to the Super Bowl, only to be
denied by John Elway’s 98 yard drive and Kevin Mack’s goal line fumble. Then in 1995, despite having a loyal fan base,
owner Art Modell moved the team to Baltimore, a city which itself lost their beloved team
12 years before. The NFL quickly recognized that Cleveland
was a valuable market and their fans had been royally screwed, so they were awarded an expansion
franchise after just three seasons. Wiping the slate clean hasn’t helped the
new incarnation of the Browns, which has also suffered limited success. The Indians are one of the oldest teams in
baseball but have only managed to win two World Series, and none since 1948. In the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s they were
perennial losers best known for the debacle of 10 cent beer night. After building a new stadium they saw a resurgence
in the ’90s and twice made it to the World Series. But in 1995 they lost to the Atlanta Braves,
a team which went to five World Series in the ’90s and lost four of them. Then in 1997 they lost to the Florida Marlins,
a team which has about four fans. The Cavaliers have been at the bottom of the
NBA for most of their existence. However, in the late ’80s and early ’90s
they had some good teams that were twice eliminated by Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls in the
playoffs by heartbreaking buzzer beaters. In 2003 they drafted local superstar LeBron
James and had some good seasons, including two trips to the NBA Finals, but he departed
for Miami when he became a free agent and won two championships there. LeBron did return to Cleveland after four
seasons, so at least there’s hope. Cleveland was also home to the NHL’s Cleveland
Barons. Despite being a northern city with a large
hockey community, they were denied an expansion franchise three times. Finally in 1976, the California Golden Seals
relocated to Cleveland, but brought their troubles with them and lasted only two seasons
before having the notoriety of being the last team in one of the four major leagues to fold. 7. Madden Curse Madden NFL has been one of the most popular
video games since the early ’90s. The first few versions featured its legendary
namesake coach and broadcaster John Madden on the cover. Then in 1999 they began putting a top player
on the cover, an honor akin to being on the Wheaties box. Garrison Hearst appeared on the 1999 cover
and promptly broke his ankle, forcing him to miss most of two seasons. Donovan McNabb, Shaun Alexander and Troy Polamalu
all suffered similar fates after appearing on the cover. Dorsey Levens appeared on the 2000 cover,
and saw his production drop off sharply and his Green Bay Packers have their worst season
in a decade. Marshall Faulk and Vince Young and their teams
saw similar fates. Michael Vick appeared on the 2004 cover and
not only went on to have his worst season, but would be convicted of leading a dog fighting
ring and spend two years in prison. Next was Ray Lewis, who also would have a
poor season and be tied to a murder after the 2000 Super Bowl. 6. Curse of Chicago Chicago is a great sports town with loyal
and patient fans, mainly because they have to be. Each of their five major sports teams is among
the oldest in their league, and collectively most of their seasons have been bad. The White Sox went from 1917 to 2005 without
winning the World Series. They brought their curse on themselves with
the infamous Black Sox scandal, when eight members of the team conspired with gamblers
to throw the 1919 World Series. Each player was banned from the game for life,
and it took the team 88 years to recover. The Bears won eight NFL championships between
1921 and 1963, but that was before the Super Bowl — the NFL was a relatively minor league. The 1985 Bears won the Super Bowl and are
considered one of the greatest teams of all time, but the curse of the Honey Bears ended
their opportunity for being a dynasty. The Honey Bears were their cheerleading squad
until 1985, when team owner Virginia Halas McCaskey disbanded them. The Bears haven’t won a Super Bowl since. The Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup in 2010
and 2013. Before that they managed to win only three,
and all when there were only six teams in the league. The Bulls have avoided any curse, mainly by
getting to draft Michael Jordan as the third pick in the 1984 draft. Let’s just say that worked out nicely. But the Cubs are the mother of all cursed
teams. They won the World Series in 1907 and 1908,
before they even started playing in Wrigley Field, and haven’t won another since. They haven’t even been to the World Series
since the curse of the Billy goat in 1945. That was when local bar owner Billy Sianis
brought his goat mascot to game four of the World Series and was promptly ordered to leave. Sianis declared that the Cubs will “win
no more” before exiting the stadium. The Cubs went on to lose the game and the
series, and haven’t been back since. 5. Curse of the Super Bowl Host In most sports championships are hosted by
the participating teams, but the Super Bowl is held at a predetermined location. All but nine, and every one since 1993, has
been held at the home stadium of an NFL team. But despite over 40 Super Bowls being in NFL
stadiums, the host team has never actually played in the game. The NFL doesn’t want fans who pay thousands
of dollars to come to the game to be cold, so all but five Super Bowls have been in warm
weather climates. Four of the five times they’ve been in cold
weather cities, the game was played in a dome. So frequent Super Bowl teams, like Pittsburgh,
Green Bay, New England, and Denver, have been excluded. Miami and New Orleans are tied for hosting
the most Super Bowls, with 10 each. However, the Miami Dolphins have only been
to the game three times, and not since 1985. The Saints have been once, in 2010, when the
game was in Miami. Every other city to have hosted more than
once has never seen their team play in the big game more than once. Now, even if every team were to get an opportunity
to host, the simple probability of making it to the Super Bowl is 1 in 16, so while
it’s a little odd that no team has made the game it’s not improbable. The real curse is that the host team has had
a long tradition of having a terrible season the year they host. Only a handful have even made the playoffs,
and almost all have made a quick exit. In 2012, Indianapolis was the host city. The Colts had made the playoffs the previous
10 seasons, including two trips to the Super Bowl. However, the year they hosted their superstar
quarterback Peyton Manning was out for the season with a neck injury, and the team went
2-14 for the worst record in the league. New Orleans hosted in 2013. The Saints had won the Super Bowl in 2010. But right before the season began they were
implicated in “Bountygate,” where it was revealed their coaching staff had offered
bounties to injure opponents. The result was that their head coach, Sean
Payton, was suspended for the season. Despite having many players from the Super
Bowl championship team still on the roster the Saints finished 7-9 and out of the playoffs. 4. The Andretti Curse The Andretti family is one of the most famous
in auto racing history. Since the 1960s, three generations have attained
success at the top level of racing. Yet all three generations have had notoriously
bad luck at the most famous race of all, the Indianapolis 500. At age 29 Mario Andretti won the 1969 Indy
500, and many felt he was destined to win many more. But throughout the ’70s he suffered a long
string of mediocre and forgettable races. In 1981 he finished second to Bobby Unser
and was later declared the winner when it was determined Unser had passed under a yellow
flag and should’ve been penalized a lap. However, three months later Unser’s win
was reinstated on appeal. The next year another driver crashed into
him before the race even started. In 1985, while leading the race, he was passed
by Danny Sullivan, who promptly spun out but miraculously regained control and passed him
again to win. In 1987 he led 170 of the first 177 laps before
a valve spring gave out, forcing him to drop out of the race on lap 180. Bobby Unser’s son, Al Unser, Sr., would
take the race. Mario’s son Michael began racing in 1984
and had tremendous success everywhere but Indianapolis. In 1991 he finished second after being passed
by Rick Mears with just 12 laps to go. The next year he was leading by more than
a lap with just seven laps to go when his fuel pump failed. This time Al Unser, Jr. would go on to win,
marking the third time that bad Andretti luck led to good Unser luck. Michael’s son Marco began racing in 2006
and was poised to become the first true rookie to win the race in over 40 years, but was
passed with less than 200 yards to go by Sam Hornish Jr. Marco hasn’t come close to winning
since. Since retiring from driving, Michael Andretti
has become a successful team owner and his drivers have won the 500 twice. But both times the drivers, Dan Weldon and
Dario Franchitti, promptly left his team for the rival Ganassi team. Both would go one to win other 500s, although
Dan Weldon was killed in a crash shortly after winning his second 500 and Franchitti was
forced to retire after a serious crash in 2013. 3. The San Diego Curse This is the first world problem version of
a curse. San Diego is home to the NFL’s Chargers
and MLB’s Padres. Both have a relatively short history, with
the Chargers having been founded in 1960 and the Padres in 1969. While both have certainly had their bad seasons,
they’ve generally been fairly successful franchises. But neither has ever won a championship, despite
coming agonizingly close several times. The Chargers made the Super Bowl just once,
in 1995, when they were demolished by the San Francisco 49ers, considered one of the
greatest teams in NFL history. San Diego native Junior Seau played eight
seasons with the Chargers, including the Super Bowl season. He was traded to the Miami Dolphins late in
his career, but was still very popular with San Diego fans. In 2006 he signed with the hated New England
Patriots, and in his first season he led them to a playoff win over the Chargers. After he retired he was forgiven and welcomed
back to San Diego where he lived with his family, but sadly he took his own life in
2012 after dealing with chronic injuries. The Padres have made it to the World Series
twice. But in 1984 were defeated four games to one
by the Detroit Tigers, and in 1998 they were swept by the New York Yankees. Both the ‘84 Tigers and ‘98 Yankees are
considered amongst the best teams in the long history of the sport. In other words, three times teams from San
Diego have managed to get to the championship, only to run into dominant teams which were
heavily favored against anyone they played. San Diego also has the notoriety of twice
losing NBA franchises. The city was awarded an expansion franchise
in 1967, but the Rockets stayed in San Diego for only four seasons before departing for
Houston. Then in 1978 the Buffalo Braves moved to San
Diego, renamed themselves the Clippers, and promptly left for Los Angeles in 1984. There’s no obvious origin for this curse,
although many feel it’s just a fair exchange for San Diego having arguably the best weather
in America. That would explain why their two outdoor teams
are very popular but their indoor teams keep moving away. 2. Sports Illustrated Cover Curse Sports Illustrated is the most famous sports
magazine of all time. Even today, as print journalism fades, it’s
still popular online. However, being on the cover has proven to
be both an honor and a curse. The very first issue featured Eddie Mathews
of the Milwaukee Braves and focused on their nine game winning streak. Immediately after the magazine was published
the Braves lost and Mathews broke his hand. There are dozens of examples of appearing
on the cover only to have the highlighted accomplishment immediately nullified. There have even been five incidents of the
cover star dying in an accident within a few months, or even days, after publication. There are some aversions to the curse, as
the four individuals who’ve been on the cover the most are Michael Jordan, Muhammad
Ali, Tiger Woods and Magic Johnson, four men who’ve had extremely impressive careers. But Jordan’s father was murdered midway
through his career, and he’s been linked to gambling scandals. Ali has Parkinson’s Disease, Tiger Woods
was involved in one of the most public sex scandals of all time and hasn’t been the
same golfer since, and Magic Johnson was forced to retire after contracting HIV. This is such a well known curse that Sports
Illustrated has even acknowledged it by devoting an entire issue to the curse, which featured
a black cat on the cover. Several star players have been hesitant to
be on the cover before big games for fear of what could happen! 1. Curse of the Bambino It’s the most famous sports curse of them
all. Having already won two of the first 10 World
Series, the Red Sox signed a budding young star named George Herman “Babe” Ruth in
1914. The Red Sox would go on to establish themselves
as the dominant team in baseball, winning the World Series in 1915, 1916 and 1918. Then, in 1919, team owner Harold Frazee sold
the Babe to a perennially mediocre team, the New York Yankees, for $100,000 to finance
the play No No Nanette. You’ve seen it right? Exactly. Why no one came up with the phrase “Frazee,
are you crazy?” is a mystery to us. With Babe Ruth the Yankees built the greatest
stadium in the league and won four World Series titles. After Ruth retired the Yankees would win 22
more championships before the Red Sox finally broke the curse by winning in 2004, a span
of 86 years. Rumor has it that during the winter of 2004-2005
there was a higher than average death rate amongst elderly people in New England, who
could finally die happy having seen their beloved Red Sox break
the curse.

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