The Curse of the 1994 San Diego Chargers

Junior Seau was the most famous member of that San Diego Chargers team in the mid 90’s that shocked everyone by reaching the Super Bowl after the 1994 season, losing to the San Francisco 49ers. He is the 8th member of that 1994 Chargers team to die in the last 18 years.

David Griggs was the first to go. A starter in that Superbowl against the San Francisco 49ers, Griggs died in June, 1995, when his speeding car slid off an expressway ramp and slammed into a large sign pole.

Rodney Culver, a running back who played but didn’t touch the ball during that Super Bowl died almost a year later. He and his wife Karen were on the ValuJet 592 flight from Miami to Atlanta that crashed into the Florida Everglades. All 110 people on board that flight died.

In 1998, linebacker Doug Miller, at the age of 29, was struck by lightning twice while camping in Colorado. There, the ‘curse’ stopped. There was some talk of a curse, with two young men, all in their 20’s, finding their deaths through unnatural causes. The talk of the curse faded into the usual San Diego Sports Teams curse talk. Until 2008.

Curtis Whitley was found by sheriff deputies in his trailer home in Texas, a day after his 39th birthday. He died from a drug overdose. Six months later Chris Mims was found dead in his Chicago apartment, most likely due to cardiac arrest. He weight 456 lbs at the time of death. He weighed around 280-290 during his playing days.

Shawn Lee died on February 2011. He died from cardiac arrest resulting from double pneumonia. He was suffering from Diabetes during the time of his death, weighing over 300 pounds.

On December 8, 2011, Lewis Bush died from a heart attack. Five months later and Junior Seau, the most memorable and recognizable player from that Chargers team, was found dead in his apartment, apparently from a self inflicted gun shot to his chest. In 2010 Seau survived a 100 feet fall with his SUV, claiming he fell asleep at the wheel. Suspicions of suicide were around at the time. There are some speculations saying the Seau suffered from brain trauma, resulting in a mental condition that drove him to take his own life.

Some say curse, and point to the whole San Diego Sports curse, which has more to do with the inability to win a title, being the largest North American City without a title in any of the Major Sports leagues. Some say that these deaths, at least those not related to the earlier ones or Seau’s suicide, are just an example of America’s problem with obesity, magnified in football. Not a curse, but cardiovascular diseases, behavioral illnesses, and other chronic conditions that result from poor diets, stress, and unhealthy habits.

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