Top 5 Famous Sports Curses

With Halloween still fresh in our minds, lets talk about curses.

James LeBeauby James LeBeau


Just about every sports franchise has a curse associated with it, we take a look at the 5 most famous sports curses of all time.


5. The Curse of Bobby Layne

Bobby Layne is widely considered as one of the best players the Detroit Lions had ever had in their less than illustrious history. Layne led the Lions to three NFL Championships (1952,1953,1957) but despite that, Detroit decided to trade him to the Steelers back in 1958 due to his advancing age. An angry and demoralized Layne promptly declared as he was leaving that the Lions would not win for 50 years. Over that time, Detroit would be the proud bearer of the worst winning percentage in football, capped off by the worst season ever right on the 50th year of the curse. Now, with the curse over, Detroit is currently posting a 6-2 record. Odd, don't you think.


4. Sports Illustrated Cover Jinx

Before the more popular Madden curse, there was the Sports Illustrated cover jinx. Like the Madden curse, this one causes athletes who adorn the magazine to suffer some hardship because of it. Some of the notable occurrences are as follows. SI’s first cover subject, baseball player Eddie Mathews, suffered a hand injury one week later that forced him to miss seven games. 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. Pat O’Connor, pictured on the 1958 Indianapolis 500 preview issue, was killed in a fifteen car pile-up on the last lap. Golfer Jim Venturi was named 1964’s Sportsman of the Year then spent the next season battling carpal tunnel syndrome. Overall, as done by a analysis of the phenomenon by Sports Illustrated themselves back in 2002, about 37% of their cover subjects suffered some sort of misfortune or decline in performance following their appearance.


3. The Curse of the Billie Goat

The title for oddest yet most effective curse goes to the Chicago Cubs and the infamous Billie goat who has cursed them since game 4 of the 1945 World Series. Apparently, as the story goes, William Sianis, owner of the Billy Goat Bar, brought his pet goat to Wrigley Field to watch that game 4 in '45. 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. This action enraged Sianis and he declared the following; “Them Cubs, they aren’t gonna win no more.” The Cubs went on to lose the final 3 games of that series and has yet to win one since. They have even went so far as to try repeated attempts to lift the curse, but to no avail.


2. The Madden Curse

Probably the hippest curse to be found is the Madden cover curse. Since 1999, Madden football, the premier football game to feature everything NFL, has made a big show of having the best athletes on its game covers. In an eerie coincidence, however, many of these athletes would go on to have some misfortune happen to them the following season. Some of the more notable ones are: 2004 cover athlete, Michael Vick, suffered a leg injury that sidelined him for most of the 2003 season. 2006 cover athlete, Donovan McNabb, suffered a hernia in the first game of the 2005 season, played despite the pain for eight more games, then was reinjured, opted for surgery and missed the last seven games. 2007 cover athlete, Shaun Alexander, sustained a foot injury that caused him to miss six starts. Even this seasons cover athlete Peyton Hillis, has missed games due to a hamstring injury and has saw his production suffer greatly.


1. The Curse of the Bambino

The Boston Red Sox may have ended their 83 year championship drought back in 2004 but that doesn't mean they don't top our list for most famous sports curses. Back in 1920, the great Babe Ruth was traded from the Boston Red Sox to the New York Yankees. At the time, the disparity between these two franchises was huge. Boston had won 5 World Series up to that point while the Yankees had none. But with the trade of Ruth, all the Boston Mojo seemed to transfer to New York with Ruth as Boston would go on a huge championship drought while the Yanks would end up with 26 series wins during that stretch.