If you were watching the Cubs clinch a World Series win over the Indians, according to the Nielsen ratings report you were one of more than 40 million other viewers. But were you also aware that the last time Chicago won this championship was back in 1908? That’s right, a whopping 108 years!
The last time Cubbies fans could celebrate quite a win, Thomas Edison was 60 years old and television wouldn’t exist yet for another two decades.
Many factors could’ve led to why such a repeat performance took so long. Fans will point fingers at management and the owners. Sports analysts could argue Wrigley Field may have played a part. But those in attendance of game four of the 1945 World Series will blame William Sianis and his pet goat. Queue superstitious sports curses.
10. Curse of the Billy Goat
William Sianis was much like any other Cubs fan during game four of the 1945 World Series, except that day he brought his pet goat Murphy. Permitted to attend, Murphy was his normal goat-self except that day he reeked, so much so that fans began to complain about the goat’s odor. Eventually Sianis was asked to leave Wrigley Field altogether and to bring Murphy with him.
What happened next became immortalized into baseball history. As he exited the ballpark, an insulted Sianis proclaimed, “Them Cubs … they ain’t gonna win no more!” Well, the Cubs went on to lose game four and the rest of the series to the Detroit Tigers and, as curses go, it didn’t end there. The Chicago Cubs wouldn’t even win a pennant in order to make it to the World Series again; until 2016, that is. Congrats on the World Series win, Chicago, and for breaking the former longest sports drought of 108 years. And Cleveland: How do you blow a 3-1 lead?
9.The 1925 NFL Championship Controversy
So who holds the new longest sports drought? The NFL’s very own Cardinals, that’s who. Known as the Chicago Cardinals at the time, they faced off against the Pottsville Maroons for the 1925 National Football League Championship. The Maroons were one of the most dominant football teams of their time.
Rightfully so, they bested the runner-up Cardinals and won a world title. Not in the eyes of NFL commissioner Joseph Carr, however. After Pottsville played its next matchup, an unauthorized exhibition game in Philadelphia, Carr ruled that the league regulations were broken and the team was to be stripped of its championship, which would then be handed over to the Cardinals. This did not go over well, especially with the livid people of Pottsville.
Their fans then placed a curse upon the Cardinals that could only be lifted once the ruling was reversed. Needless to say, the overruling never occurred and another title never arrived. The Chicago Cardinals then went on to relocate to Saint Louis in 1960 and Arizona in 1994. Since then, the franchise’s closest bid for a championship win came in 2009 versus the Pittsburgh Steelers. A last-minute touchdown pass from Roethlisberger to Santonio Holmes, however, crushed their dreams. It just goes to show controversies breed curses.
8. The Sports Illustrated Jinx
It may very well be every young athlete’s dream to stand in the limelight one day. But what do the professionals think of this? While national television and the Wheaties box may seem to come with the territory for them, some stars think twice before they accept an invitation to be featured on the Sports Illustrated cover. The magazine originated back in Aug. 16, 1954, and Eddie Mathews of the Atlanta Braves was the first person to ever grace the magazine cover.
Subsequently, he also became the first of many to become a victim. Two things went on to be broken that season: his team’s nine-game winning stretch, and his hand. Having been undefeated throughout the playoffs heading into the 1989 NBA Finals, Lakers’ star James Worthy also appeared on the cover alongside the word “SWEEP” just before his team were swept themselves 4-0 against the Detroit Pistons.
After many Olympic conquests in 2008, Michael Phelps lost various sponsorships and was suspended by USA Swimming for three months; and what magazine cover was this American legend previously featured on? You guessed it: Sports Illustrated. Now, overall, this curse isn’t completely inescapable. For example, Michael Jordan and Emmitt Smith never had their legacies tarnished even after many cover appearances. But the question readers must ask themselves is: were the aforementioned victims models for the same sports media source just by coincidence?
Most famous people know to never insult a rapper, since it may lead to public backlash or a vengeful diss track. In Oklahoma City basketball star Kevin Durant’s case, it led to a full-blown curse. Enter rapper Lil B. At an interview Durant was asked about his opinion on music artist Lil B and went on to say, “[Lil B] is a wack rapper.” Thus the birth of the trending moniker “#THEBASEDGODSCURSE,” which declared Durant will never win a championship title for his team. Since that day OKC has yet to even make it to the NBA Finals.
During the 2015 NBA Western Conference Finals, rapper Lil B confronted James Harden on Twitter for using his signature move in game. Harden went on to negate even knowing who Lil B was at a postgame interview. Even more angered than before, the rapper condemned his target under the hashtag #THEBASEDGODSCURSE. The basketball star continued competition, not even acknowledging the curse, but failed to lead the Houston Rockets over the Golden State Warriors and into the next round. You may write off these stories as just playful banter, but recently Kevin Durant signed with the elite GSW in hopes of winning the title and James Harden has statistically regressed. One thing is for sure: Lil B will take credit for the downfall of these athletes.
6. The Chicago Honey Bears
Poor Chicago; their city has faced curses for two different sports. The ’85 Bears were known as football icons, but their cheerleading squad the Chicago Honey Bears … not so much. The group was beloved by fans and Chicago Bears owner George Halas, however. Due to Halas’ untimely death, rights to the team were passed on to his daughter Virginia Halas McCaskey, who then persistently attempted to fire the under-contract Honey Bears.
The new owner gave many reasons for her actions; the Honey Bears cost 50 grand a year, they didn’t coincide with a “blood and guts” football mentality and they modeled separately for Playboy nude magazine.
Altogether, McCaskey referred to them as “sex objects” and the Honey Bears were tragically disbanded in 1986. Since then no Chicago Bears team has managed to replicate the legendary ’85 season. Even to this day, some fans will claim the “Honey Bears Curse” is why the team is performing so poorly.
5. Curse of Billy Penn
Philly fans will ride with their team no matter the result, even though the result is usually a bad one. The Curse of Billy Penn may give an explanation as to why most professional sports teams located in Philadelphia recently began to fail. Real estate entrepreneur William “Billy” Penn was credited for the city’s founding.
In 1894, Philadelphians built a statue atop City Hall in order to honor Billy. This monument remained as the highest point of the tallest building in Philadelphia for quite a while. That is until the 1987 construction of One Liberty Place’s skyscraper complex bested it. Around this time, Philly sports fans started to recognize a pattern of decline for their teams. Therefore, in order to reestablish the tradition, another Penn statue was affixed onto the skyscraper.
Then in 1980 the Philadelphia Eagles, Flyers, 76ers and Phillies all astonishingly made it to their leagues’ championship rounds. Fans rejoiced and continued to uphold this tradition when the Comcast Center surpassed the former tallest skyscraper. Spoiler: the Philadelphia Phillies won the baseball World Series just a year after Billy Penn resettled on top of Comcast Center.
4. The Steve Bartman Incident
Now, I know what you’re thinking, and I’m thinking the same thing. How can Chicago be so unlucky to appear so many times on this list already? Good news: I promise this is the last time. It was game four of the 2003 NLCS and the Chicago Cubs were hosting the Florida Marlins. In the eighth inning the Cubs were up 3 to 0 and held a 3-2 series lead. Four outs away from going to the World Series, what could possibly go wrong? Suddenly, a foul ball to the left outfield stands was in reach of Moises Alou.
In those very stands, however, Steve Bartman reached for it as well. This deflected the ball out of Alou’s mitt and an angered Alou began to lash out at lifelong Cubs fan Bartman. Met with tremendous booing, Bartman lowered his head in shame. The Cubs went on to allow eight runs in that inning, ultimately losing the game.
The Marlins ended up winning that series and beat the Yankees in the finals for the 2003 World Series. Outraged Cubs fans meant to harm when they leaked Bartman’s address and workplace. This mistreatment of an innocent Cubs supporter was then viewed as a sign Chicago would never win another World Series. Thus the curses began to pile up on the Cubs, all of which were broken with last month’s championship win.
3. Curse of the Madden Cover
Another sports related cover makes an appearance on this list. This time, it’s EA’s football video game franchise: Madden NFL. As portrayed above, each year NFL stars pose on the Madden cover and gamers purchase this video game in order to play as their favorite players and teams. Let’s begin with Tennessee Titan’s running back Eddie George, who was featured on Madden 2001.
What ensued was George’s most productive year, statistically speaking. Doesn’t sound much like a curse yet, huh? Keyword: yet. Playoffs came around and the Titans were down by a touchdown against the Baltimore Ravens; let’s go Eddie George! The ball was thrown to George, who bobbled the pass. George was intercepted by Ray Lewis, which led to a turnover touchdown; George’s season came to an unfortunately abrupt end. George is cursed. Such catastrophes would went on to uniquely manifest themselves in the later years to come. Moral of the story: vote John Madden for the Madden cover.
2. Talladega Superspeedway Jinx
First opened 47 years ago, the Talladega circuit is one of NASCAR’s most prestigious tracks. However, it is also notoriously rumored to be cursed. Concerning the specific location of Talladega, some say it was built on top of an Indian burial ground. Others say a native tribe’s chieftain died in a horse race located in that same valley. Either way, a hex had arguably befallen Talladega.
In 1973, racing prodigy Larry Smith got into a solo accident that resulted in fatal head injuries. During the same race, fellow racer Bobby Isaac parked his car and suddenly quit the race altogether. The Later response would go on to report Isaac “heard a voice that told him to quit.” Since then, through the years many racers have passed away in crashes, cars have been sabotaged and a crewman even lost part of his leg in a pit lane incident. Who said NASCAR isn’t action packed?
1. The Curse of the Bambino
The Great Bambino, the Sultan of Swat, the Caliph of Clout. No matter which nickname you choose, Babe Ruth will forever be one of the biggest names in American sports history. So how on Earth do you sell such a star?! During the 1919-1920 offseason, the Boston Red Sox sought to bank on Babe Ruth’s success after he helped them secure World Series titles in 1915, 1916 and 1918.
The Red Sox then sold (gifted?) him to the New York Yankees. And surprise, surprise, the up-and-coming Yankees went on to enjoy four national championships. “What about the Red Sox?” you may ask. Surely they had a plan to manage their franchise after selling such a legendary player.
Considering curses wouldn’t be so bad if you could plan accordingly for them, the Red Sox didn’t plan accordingly and wouldn’t win another World Series for another 84 years. No worries, though; the 108-year Cubs had it worse, and now the Arizona Cardinals have it worse.
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