The Curse of the 1994 San Diego Chargers which took another ugly turn this week after the death of Junior Seau has now claimed the lives of 8 players from that Super Bowl team. Some relate it to the bigger curse on San Diego sports teams and their inability to win a title. What is certain is that there is no shortage of curses being the explanations of title droughts and deaths in American Sports.
Curse of the Bambino
Funny thing, the Babe Ruth sale from Boston to New York. The Red Sox, until 1918, were five time World Series champions. Selling Ruth to the Yankees changed the fortunes of Baseball, turning the New York Yankees into an empire, becoming the most successful franchise in North American sports. The talk of an actual curse wasn’t a mainstream thing until 1990, when it was published in a book by Dan Shaughnessy. Some say that the Red Sox’ owner using the money from the deal to fund Broadway musicals was the actual cure. The Red Sox ‘broke’ the curse by winning the 2004 World Series.
Curse of 1940
Also called Dutton’s Curse, was an explanation as to why the New York Rangers failed to win the Stanley Cup since 1940, with the curse eventually broken in 1994 after beating the Canucks in the Cup Finals. One of the theories regarding the curse was the burning of mortgage of the thid Madison Square Garden papers inside the cup, desecrating it according to some fans. Another popular theory is connected with Red Dutton who tried to resurrect the New York Americans after World War II but faced strong opposition from the league and the Rangers. Dutton ‘cursed’ the Rangers, claiming they’ll never win the cup as long as he lived. He did in 1987.
The Andretti Curse
Known also as Andretti Luck or The Curse of Andy Granatelli’s kiss, the curse revolves around Mario Andretti’s failure to win the Indianapolis 500 after winning it for the first and last time in 1969. He raced until 1994, while the curse moved on to the rest of the family – Michael, Jeff, John and Marco. Andy Granatelli kissing Andretti after he won the race in ’69 was the beginning of the curse, according to rumors.
Curse of Billy Penn
Each city with a major title drought has its sports curses. In Philly, it was the Billy Penn curse. After the agreement of not building anything that would be taller than Billy Penn’s statue on the top of Philadelphia City Hall. On March 1987, a Skyscraper, One Liberty Place, opened three blocks away.
Not the 76ers, Flyers, Eagles or Phillies, all successful and some champions in the decade before the completion of the skycraper, won a title until the curse was ‘lifted’ by building a taller skyscraper, the Comcast Center, with a small statue of Billy Penn attached to the top. The Phillies won the World Series in 2008.
Curse of Billy the Goat
Some say the curse of the Cubs began with Merkle’s Boner, which led to the Cubs winning their last title in 1908. Still, Billy the Goat makes for a better story – In 1945, Billy Sianis was asked to leave the stadium with his goat because the odor was bothering other fans.
Billy was heard to be muttering – Them Cubs, they aren’t gonna win no more. There are many variations as to what was said, when and how, but the substance, no titles for the Cubs remains the same. When will the curse be lifted? The Curse of the Billy Goat can be dispelled only by the Chicago Cubs organization’s showing a sincere fondness for goats.
Cardinals Football Curse
We go way back to 1925 and the NFL Championship Controversy. The Pottsville Maroons beat the Chicago Cardinals on December 6, coming away with the best record in the NFL, rewarding them with the NFL title. However, NFL Commish Joseph Carr suspended and removed the Maroons from the league after the played an unauthorized exhibition game, ‘violating’ the territorial right of the Frankford Yellow Jackets. The Cardinals went on to win the title, and it is said that until that trophy isn’t returned to Pottsville, the curse will remain.
Curse of Rocky Colavito
The curse that is preventing the Cleveland Indians from winning the World Series and the AL pennant. In 1960, Indians GM Frank Lane traded home run champion Rocky Colavito to the Detroit Tigers for batting champion Harvey Kuenn. Lane managed to trade the entire 40 man roster inherited to him within two years. The Indians haven’t won anything since.
Curse of the Honey Bears
George Halas, former owner of the Chicago Bears, hired a cheerleading group called the Honey Bears in 1977 known as the Honey Bears. After his death, his daughter, Virginia Halas McCaskey didn’t like the idea of the squad but couldn’t get rid of them due to their contract running until 1985. That year the Bears won the Super Bowl in dominating fashion. The Bears haven’t won a title since.
A great honor to be put on the Madden NFL game cover, but also a dangerous honor, which usually leads to injuries and decline in production. Why? No one knows. Just ask Garrison Hearst, Barry Sanders, Dorsey Levens, Eddie George, Marshall Faulk, Michael Vick, Shaun Alexander, Vince Young and others. There is also a well known Sports Illustrated cover jinx. Maybe it has to do with vanity.
Par 3 Curse
The Masters Tournament held annually at the Augusta National Golf Club begins with an informal par 3 competition. No winner of this has ever gone on to win the main tournament the same year.
The Talladega Jinx
If you’ve ever watched some horror movies, you know not to build on an Indian Burial ground, or anything remotely sacred to, well, those who were there before you. The Talladega Superspeed way is said to be cursed by a Native American Shaman, resulting in deaths and other very peculiar occurrences on the track since 1969, most notably Bobby Isaac left his car during the race on lap 90 because of voices he claimed to have heard which told him to park his car and get out.