Can Iowa Overcome the Adversity of the Sports Illustrated Jinx?

B.Senior Analyst INovember 4, 2009

IOWA CITY, IA - NOVEMBER 8: Wide receiver Derrell Johnson-Koulianos #15 of the Iowa Hawkeyes scores a touchdown in the third quarter of play as Anthony Scirrotto #7 of the Penn State Nittany Lions defends on the play at Kinnick Stadium on November 8, 2008 in Iowa City, Iowa. Iowa defeated Penn State 24-23. (Photo by David K Purdy/Getty Images)
David Purdy/Getty Images

For the superstitious person, Iowa's season just got a little crazier. 

The Hawkeyes appear on the cover of the Midwest edition of Sports Illustrated this week.  The SI cover shows wide receiver Derrell Johnson-Koulianos hurdling fullback Wade Leppert in last Saturday’s 42-24 come-from-behind victory over Indiana.

The majority of sports fans might consider the cover appearance an honor. For those who watch sports from a different angle, like myself, this is more like the kiss of death.

And it's freakin' me out!

Millions of superstitious fans and athletes believe that an appearance on SI's cover is a jinx; a type of curse placed on a person or a team that makes them pray for minor misfortunes and bad luck.

To make things scarier, Kirk Ferentz might actually believe in the curse, himself.  "You've got to be kidding me?" Ferentz was quoted in as saying in the Cedar Rapids Gazette. "We're on the cover? Isn't the World Series going on right now?"

For years, one of the most popular sports magazines ever has been blamed for several player, coach, and team misfortunes. College football, soccer, professional basketball, Olympic ping sport is safe from the horrible fate-changing curse.

Need a few examples before you buy in?

In 2007, Michigan's Mike Hart appeared on the cover with the headline "The Big Run for Number 1."  Michigan's first game after the cover resulted in a loss to 1-AA Appalachian State.

Desmond Howard made the cover of SI in 1991 after beating Notre Dame. The next game, the Wolverines lost by 20 to Florida State.

And those examples are just for college football.

The Kansas City Chiefs won their first nine games of the season in 2003. They appeared on the cover of SI with the headline, "The Chiefs Perfect (So Far)." That weekend, they lost to the Cincinnati Bengals.

It's not just isolated football, either.

In June of 2000, a day after Anna Kournikova's appearance on the cover, she lost her match at the French Open in the second round, the earliest she had ever exited a Grand Slam.

In the month following Nike CEO Phil Knight's cover appearance in 1993, Nike's six-year streak of record earnings ended, its stock tanked, numerous lay offs, and 37 high school players who participated in Nike's hospitality find their eligibility imperiled.

Sports Illustrated actually conducted a study of sorts on this. In 2002, Alexander Wold wrote a piece, "Unraveling the Jinx." The article included more than 50 examples of the paranormal occurrences.

I could go on for days about examples of the bad luck caused by this jinx.  But, the more I read and research, the more I freak out. 

Why are this doing this to the Hawkeyes? Hasn't our season been stressful enough already? Are they trying to make me the youngest person ever to die of a heart attack?

Petrified is a great word to describe the feeling I now have for Saturday's game against the Wildcats. The stress was already mounting, as the Hawkeyes have had a difficult time with the Wildcats under Kirk Ferentz. The last two times Northwestern has entered Kinnick Stadium, they beat Iowa. There wasn't a need to add in the stress of a jinx, too.

There are people around the country who have it in for the Hawkeyes for whatever reason. They say Iowa is only winning because of luck, or beneficial officiating. 

Maybe the SI jinx is a way to combat the luck.

Of course, then logic enters, begging me to wonder if there really is such a thing as the SI jinx? Do the powers that be at Sports Illustrated really have the ability to tempt and change fate?

It's doubtful. 

While the examples of the jinx may be plentiful, the cover hasn't seemed to hinder Michael Jordan, or Vince Young. Jordan has appeared on the cover 50 times. Young appeared on the cover twice during the year Texas won the National Championship.

There has even been speculation that the Madden Curse has taken over the Sports Illustrated Jinx.

It is unclear what effect the SI cover will have on the Hawkeyes, if any. Being familiar with Ferentz, I suspect this jinx will have no impact on Saturday's game.

Nevertheless, I need to do something to protect my Hawkeyes from this hex. My heart wants to jump out of my chest, so I need to take drastic action.  

As such, I have asked Jobu to pay a visit, and take the fear from the Hawkeyes.  I offered Jobu a cigar and rum. He will come and help keep the Hawkeyes undefeated.

I just hope someone reminds Sports Illustrated , "Is very bad to steal Jobu's rum. Is very bad. "


    Gardner Minshew Announces Transfer to Washington State

    College Football logo
    College Football

    Gardner Minshew Announces Transfer to Washington State

    Tim Daniels
    via Bleacher Report

    Transcript: Kirk Ferentz Spring Press Conference

    Iowa Hawkeyes Football logo
    Iowa Hawkeyes Football

    Transcript: Kirk Ferentz Spring Press Conference

    via HawkeyeNation

    Report: Auburn WR Stove Tears ACL

    College Football logo
    College Football

    Report: Auburn WR Stove Tears ACL

    via 247sports

    Ferentz Takes Inventory Before Spring Practice

    Iowa Hawkeyes Football logo
    Iowa Hawkeyes Football

    Ferentz Takes Inventory Before Spring Practice

    Hawk Central
    via Hawk Central