Around the Hill: What is the Worst Curse in Professional Sports?

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The Philadelphia Eagles have not won a Super Bowl in their franchise’s existence, but are 7-1 at the NFL’s midpoint. 

Maroon-News National Sports Contributors

By Teddy Campbell, Maroon-News Staff

The NFC East has a combined 12 Super Bowls. To that total, the Philadelphia Eagles have contributed zero. In the Super Bowl era, which is 1967 onwards, the Eagles have reached the playoffs a whopping 20 times and have never won the big game.

The reason why the Eagles have the worst championship drought in pro sports is ironic because they’re actually pretty good most of the time. The Eagles consistently play well enough to make the playoffs, but never well enough to go all the way. They made the playoffs four times in the 1980s, four times in the 1990s, nine times in the 2000s, and once in the 2010s, yet every single time they’ve been knocked out before hoisting the Lombardi. Getting so close to a championship then failing is infinitely more painful than never being close to winning. If you don’t believe me, ask Bill Buckner.

Some people say the Eagles are cursed to lose because of its fans. In 2011, Eagles fans were selected by players as the most intimidating in the league. These are the same fans who, in 1968, pelted Santa Claus with snowballs. Philly sports fans are known to be some of the most demanding sports fans in the country (hotly disputed by Boston) and they direct most of their passion, as well as insults, praise and assorted cheesesteaks, at their beloved Eagles.

Hope is on the horizon. Carson Wentz is looking like the chosen one, and the Eagles have started out 7-1 this year. The rest of the NFC East is in shambles. The worst championship drought in sports may be coming to an end.

 

By David Minster, Senior Sports Editor

The worst championship curse in American pro sports is one that not too many people know about: quarterback Bobby Layne’s curse on the Detroit Lions. Layne led the Lions to league championships in 1952, 1953 and 1957, but was traded away in 1958 after numerous off-the-field issues. Layne’s partying ways are comparable to Johnny Manziel, but, in Layne’s case, he proved he was a franchise quarterback. 

When the Lions traded him for a younger gunslinger by the name of of Tobin Rote, it was obvious that Layne’s future with the team was in jeopardy. A banged-up quarterback coming off a horrible DUI arrest, Layne was traded to the Pittsburgh Steelers. In response, Layne put a curse on the Detroit Lions, saying that the franchise wouldn’t  win again in the next fifty years … and how have the Lions done in that time span? Since the Bobby Layne Curse came into effect in 1958, the Lions are 1-12 in the playoffs and have never made the Super Bowl. Even though the Layne Curse was supposed to end after fifty years, the Lions continue to flounder. In 2008, the year the curse was supposed to end, the Lions went 0-16, the worst season in NFL history. The Lions won’t win a Super Bowl any time soon, and Bobby Layne’s curse had more power than he ever imagined.

Better luck next year, Detroit! 

 

By Theo Asher, National Sports Editor

There are a plethora of championship droughts in the landscape of North American sports. Each one has its own cruel character. This despair can come from a variety of sources, whether that be an individual person (i.e. Detroit Lions) or a series of unfortunate events (i.e. Buffalo Bills). There is one curse in pro sports that incorporates all dimensions of this agony: the 69-year World Series title drought of the Cleveland Indians.

Remember Boston’s dreaded Curse of the Bambino? Well, Cleveland’s got one of their own, known as the “Curse of Rocky Colavito.” Colavito was a star outfielder for the Indians in 1958 and 1959, hitting 40+ homers in both seasons, leading the Indians to the top of the AL, and earning fan-favorite honors. In 1960, he was shipped off to the Detroit Tigers, and the franchises went totally different directions for the rest of the century.  

What distinguishes the Indians’ curse as the most painful in all of sports is just how close they have come to winning it all. You could make a case for any of these zero-title teams or 50-year-plus droughts, but you will be hard pressed to find any franchise that has scraped at immortality as often as the Indians have. Sacramento Kings? Detroit Lions? Washington Nationals? C’mon. Indians fans have suffered the agony of being oh-so-close on three distinct yet similarly devastating occasions: 1954, when they were thwarted by one of the greatest plays by one of the greatest players in MLB history, Willie Mays; 1997, when they lost Game 7 of the World Series to the three-year-old Florida Marlins via walk-off single; and, of course, when they blew a three games to one lead over the Chicago Cubs in the epic 2016 World Series.