Haunted Franchises: Madden Cover, the Bambino and the Top 10 Sports Curses

Zack PumerantzAnalyst IIIMarch 21, 2011

Haunted Franchises: Madden Cover, the Bambino and the Top 10 Sports Curses

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Don't worry Steve Bartman, you have plenty of company and it's not your fault that Moises Alou is a whining drama queen and needed to blame someone for his missed catch.

    While many teams routinely ride the pine in the basement of professional sports, others seemingly get close to relevance and choke in crucial moments.

    Even though the Red Sox broke the Bambino curse with two recent world series wins, in 2004 and 2007, it is clear that the Cubs, Lions and all of Cleveland seem to be doomed.

    Evidently stuck in a precipice of their own, these teams might resort to putting four-leaf clovers on their uniforms if their luck doesn't change soon.

    Here is a list of the top 10 most notorious sports curses of all time.


10. the Bambino

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    Not only is this one of the most famous curses in history but it also had Boston fans crying themselves to sleep for 83 years.

    Before the Red Sox decided to sell Babe Ruth to the Yankees in 1920, the Sox had five world series titles and the Pinstripes zero.

    Since the trade, the Yanks have 26 titles and the Red Sox have two (both coming after 2003).

    The significance of this curse is the fact that the Sox have been to the world series four times, each series going to seven games.

    Bill Buckner's infamous error in the 1986 series against the Mets truly sums up the century for the Sox.

    They broke the curse in 2004 against the Cardinals and again in 2007 against the Rockies.

9. Curse of Colonel Sanders

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    After the Hanshin Tigers won the 1985 Japan Championship, fans took a statue of the Colonel and tossed it off a bridge.

    The Tigers were last in their league 10 times during the next 17 years. Many thought this would continue until the figure was found.

    Colonel Sanders was found in 2009 by construction workers.

8. William Penn Curses Philly

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    The statue of city founder William Penn stands tall on top of City Hall. It had long been a policy of Philly that no building could be constructed taller than this statue.

    In 1987, Philadelphia decided to build One Liberty Place 400 feet taller than City Hall.

    Penn cursed Philadelphia sports teams.

    The Flyers lost the Stanley Cup in 1987 and 1997, the Phillies lost the World Series in 1993, the 76ers lost the Finals in 2001 and the Eagles lost the Super Bowl in 2004.

    Then fear changed things. 

    Comcast Center became the tallest building in Philadelphia in 2007 and another figure of William Penn was attached to the top in an effort to reverse the curse.

    The Phillies won the World Series the year after.

7. Grass Isn't Always Greener

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    The Giants broke many hearts when the team ditched New York for San Francisco in 1957.

    Crushed fans put a hex on the team so they would never win a title away from New York.

    Weather often came into play.

    Game 6 of the 1962 world series was delayed by heavy rains and game 3 of the 1989 world series was held up 10 days by an earthquake that damaged Candlestick Park.

6. McSorley Curse

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    Perhaps the most unfair curse of all-time, the curse of Marty McSorley has haunted Canada since 1992.

    With the Kings holding a 2-1 lead over the Canadiens in game 2 of the '93 Stanley Cup, coach Jacques Demers believed the curvature of the stick of Kings defenseman Marty McSorley was excessive.

    After review, the refs said the stick was too curved and McSorley was sent to the penalty box for two minutes, during which time the Canadiens tied the game. They won in overtime.

    The Canadiens went on to win the next three games and the Stanley Cup.

    No Canadian team has won since then.

5. Curse of Shoeless Joe

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    The Black Sox Scandal involved eight players intentionally losing games. 

    The players felt vastly underpaid and the first basemen, Arnold "Chick" Gandil, had numerous ties to powerful underground figures.

    They didn't win a title from 1917-2005.

4. Madden Curse

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    A curse or a self-fulfilling prophecy?

    Players have continued to experience the madden cover curse, up until a young man named Drew Brees.

    Only a Saint can end the curse.

3. Bobby Layne Curses Detroit

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    After leading the Detroit Lions to three NFL Championships in 1952, 1953 and 1957, the Lions traded Bobby Layne to the Steelers in 1958.

    He declared that the Lions wouldn't win for 50 years.

    Not only have the Lions not won the Super Bowl in over 50 years, but they also have the worst winning percentage of any NFL team.

    Their lone post-season victory came in 1991.

    On the 50th anniversary of the hex, the Lions went 0-16.

2. Curse of the Billy Goat

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    Perhaps showing the goats some love isn't the way to reverse the curse.

    It might take the addition of solid play on the field to get it done, or maybe not.

    But good job Chicago, keep bringing the goats around.

1. Sports Illustrated Cover

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    While this curse is clearly the most baffling, it has stats to defend itself.

    Michael Jordan appeared on the cover a record 49 times and still went on to have arguably the best basketball career ever.

    However, Sports Illustrated researched the curse and found that 37% of those featured on the cover went on to face a series of cataclysmic events for the rest of their career.