The examples and perspective in this article deal primarily with the United States and do not represent a worldwide view of the subject. (August 2018) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
A sports-related curse is a superstitious belief in the effective action of some power or evil, that is used to explain the failures or misfortunes of specific sports teams, players, or even cities. Teams, players, and cities often cite a "curse" for many negative things, such as their inability to win a sports championship, or unexpected injuries.
- 1 American football
- 2 Association football
- 3 Baseball
- 4 Basketball
- 5 Gaelic Games
- 6 Ice hockey
- 7 Motor sports
- 8 Other sports
- 9 Multiple sports
- 10 References
The Arizona Cardinals National Football League (NFL) franchise is allegedly suffering a curse by the citizens of Pottsville, Pennsylvania for undeservedly claiming the 1925 NFL championship from the Pottsville Maroons who were stripped of their title by the NFL in one of the greatest controversies in sports history. The curse will supposedly only be lifted when the championship is returned to Pottsville and to the correct shade of red team; this can only be met by overturning the original ruling, as Pottsville no longer has an NFL team and is too small to ever receive another one (with a metropolitan area roughly half the population of Green Bay, the league's smallest), making it impossible for the long-defunct Maroons to win another title. The Cardinals team holds the record for the longest championship drought, with their most recent championship coming in 1947, which is also the longest drought in American professional sports; the 1947 team was notable for having two of its members die during their playing careers within a year of each other, with Jeff Burkett dying in a plane crash following appendix surgery during the season and Stan Mauldin dying of a heart attack after a game the following season. Arizona also lost Super Bowl XLIII to another Pennsylvania team: the Pittsburgh Steelers (whose founder Art Rooney supported Pottsville's claim to the title). The franchise also leads the NFL in the total number of losses (730 through the 2017 season).
George Halas, owner of the Chicago Bears, hired a cheerleading squad in 1977 known as the Honey Bears. When he died in 1983, he left the team to his daughter, Virginia Halas McCaskey. Virginia McCaskey did not like the cheerleaders at all because she saw them as "sex objects", and tried to have them disbanded, but the Honey Bears had a contract through the 1985 season. The Bears lost only one regular season game that year and won Super Bowl XX, but the Honey Bears contract was not renewed. In spite of repeated attempts to bring back the Honey Bears, the idea has been killed by the organization as long as the McCaskey family owns it, and the Bears have not won the Super Bowl since then. The last time the Bears appeared in the Super Bowl was Super Bowl XLI. They were defeated by the Indianapolis Colts by a score of 29–17. Since then, the Bears have only made two playoff appearances, in 2010, when they lost the NFC Championship to the rival Green Bay Packers at home, and again in 2018, but lost in the Wild Card round to the Philadelphia Eagles by a score of 16-15, surrendering a late touchdown and missing a field goal late.
In 1958, the Detroit Lions traded Bobby Layne to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Layne responded to the trade by supposedly saying that the Lions would "not win for 50 years". This story has been disputed as being a hoax, particularly because the quote was never published at the time.
Still, for the next 50 years after the trade, the Lions accumulated the worst winning percentage of any team in the NFL. They are still one of only two franchises that have been in the NFL since 1970 that have not played in a Super Bowl (the other team is the Cleveland Browns, but because of the Browns' three-year franchise suspension after the 1995 season due to its controversial relocation to Baltimore, the Lions' streak is longer). The Lions postseason record in this time was 1–10 in ten appearances, their lone playoff win coming against Dallas following the 1991 season. In the last year of the supposed curse, in 2008, Detroit finished 0–16, the first team to lose every game of a 16-game season. When the Pittsburgh Steelers won their fifth Super Bowl championship in 2006, they won it at Ford Field, the Lions' current home.
Prior to 1999, every annual installment of the Madden NFL video game franchise primarily featured John Madden on its cover. In 1999, Electronic Arts selected San Francisco 49ers running back Garrison Hearst to appear on the PAL version's cover, and has since featured one of the league's top players on every annual installment despite Madden's opposition.
While appearing on the cover has become an honor akin to appearing on the Wheaties box, much like the Sports Illustrated cover jinx, certain players who appeared on the Madden video game box art have experienced a decline in performance, usually due to an injury.
When asked about the "Madden Curse", Chris Erb, then director of marketing for EA Sports, commented, "I don't know that we believe in the curse. The players don't believe in the curse."
This alleged curse supposedly prevented the Philadelphia Eagles franchise from winning a Super Bowl game. The origin of this curse dates back to 1960, when the Eagles defeated Vince Lombardi and the Green Bay Packers in the 1960 NFL Championship Game. This would be the only playoff loss in Lombardi's coaching career. Following Lombardi's death in 1970, the league honored his legacy by naming the Super Bowl trophy after him. This renaming, combined with the Eagles inability to win another championship after their 1960 victory, led some Eagles fans to believe the franchise was cursed by Vince Lombardi; that beating Lombardi meant never winning the trophy named after him.
The Super Bowl curse or Super Bowl hangover is a phrase referring to one of three things that occur in the National Football League (NFL): Super Bowl participant clubs that follow up with lower-than-expected performance the following year; NFL teams that do not repeat as Super Bowl champions; and host teams of the Super Bowl that do not play the game on their own home fields.
The phrase has been used to explain both why losing teams may post below-average winning percentages in the following year and why Super Bowl champions seldom return to the title game the following year. The term has been used since at least 1992, when The Washington Post commented that "the Super Bowl Curse has thrown everything it's got at the Washington Redskins. The Jinx that has bedeviled defending champs for 15 years has never been in better form". The phenomenon is attributed by football commentator and former NFL manager Charley Casserly to such elements as "a shorter offseason, contract issues, [and] more demand for your players' time". Casserly also notes that "once the season starts, you become the biggest game on everybody's schedule." Alleged curse notwithstanding, multiple teams have indeed repeated as Super Bowl champions, including the Pittsburgh Steelers twice in the 1970s, the San Francisco 49ers in the 1980s, the Dallas Cowboys in the 1990s, and the New England Patriots in the 2000s (decade), and there are multiple cases of teams reaching the conference championship or further up to four times in a row: the 1990s Cowboys and Buffalo Bills and the 2000s Philadelphia Eagles being three recent examples.
América de Cali
The Colombian football team América de Cali was under a curse since 1948. There was a discussion that year, in a meeting held by team owners, about moving América into the professional league. Benjamín Urrea, one of the owners, was opposed to the idea, so he said famously "They can do whatever they want with the team, but I swear to God they will never be champions". He left the room, while the other owners laughed at him, and he never returned to the team. The team had to wait for 31 years to get its first professional title, in 1979. In 1980, journalist Rafael Medina and singer Antonio del Vivar performed an exorcising ritual on América's home field, to help the team to overcome the curse in the Copa Libertadores, the tournament that decides which team is the South American champion. After that performance, the team went to win five straight national titles, but, notwithstanding the seven more national championships that the team has obtained since then, some fans still believe the curse is alive, as América de Cali is famous for not having been able to win this South American title. The team has been four times the runner-up in Copa Libertadores, three of them in a row – 1985, 1986 and 1987. The last of the sequence was especially painful to the fans, as the team lost the title in the last minute of overtime in the third match, when the tie would award them the title due to goal difference, leading a Colombian narrator to a dramatic narration of the goal.
América de Cali is known as The Red Devils because the shield of the team sports a devil, with horns, tail and trident, which lead to some players masking their own shield with tape to overcome the curse, apparently to no avail. During Gabriel Ochoa's twelve-year tenure as coach, the crest was removed from the uniform for personal religious reasons and, after returning to the uniforms, it was removed again in 1992. In 2010 the crest with the devil was revived and the team went into severe financial problems that moved the Colombian football authorities to ask the team to pay its debts if they wanted to play during the 2011 season, the first of the five seasons they were to spend in relegation. The team returned to the first division for the 2017 season.
Australia national team
In a story told in Johnny Warren's 2002 autobiography, Sheilas, Wogs and Poofters, during a trip to play against Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) in the 1970 Mexico World Cup qualifiers in Mozambique, members of the Australia national soccer team (nicknamed the "Socceroos"), including Warren, consulted a witch doctor preceding their game. The witch doctor buried bones near the goal-posts and cursed the opposition, and Australia went on to beat Rhodesia 3–1 in the decider. However, the move backfired when the players could not come up with the £1000 demanded by the witch doctor as payment, and he subsequently cursed the team. Subsequently, the Socceroos failed to beat Israel and did not qualify.
Whilst the curse is used as an explanation for failing to qualify for the World Cup for 32 years, including in the last match in the 1994, 1998 and 2002 qualifications, the curse is used in particular reference to the failure to qualify for the 1998 World Cup by drawing on aggregate against Iran, despite leading 2–0 in the second half of the final match of qualification.
The curse was supposedly lifted by John Safran during episode 7 of his 2004 TV series John Safran vs God. After reading the story in Warren's book, Safran travelled to Mozambique and hired a new witch doctor to channel the original to reverse the curse. The following year, the Socceroos not only qualified for the 2006 World Cup, but reached the second round before being beaten by Italy in Kaiserslautern. The Socceroos have since qualified for the 2010, 2014 and 2018 World Cups.
Béla Guttmann, a former Hungarian footballer and then manager, joined Benfica in 1959 and coached the Portuguese club to two Primeira Liga titles, one Portuguese Cup and two European Cups. In 1962, after his second European Cup title, he asked for a pay rise but had his request turned down despite the great success he achieved at the Lisbon club, also having his contract terminated. Then, he cursed the club declaring: "Not in a hundred years from now will Benfica ever be European champion." Benfica has appeared in five European Cup finals and three UEFA Cup/UEFA Europa League finals since 1962 and lost all eight matches.
Birmingham City F.C.
English football side Birmingham City F.C. played 100 years under an alleged curse from 1906 to 2006. As the legend goes, the club moved from nearby Muntz Street into its current location at St Andrew's, building the stadium on land that was being used by the Romani people. After they were forced to move, the angry Romani people put a 100-year hex on the stadium.
Throughout the years many Birmingham City managers would try to remove the curse but with little success. Former manager Ron Saunders tried to banish the curse in the 1980s by placing crucifixes on floodlights and painting the bottom of his players' boots red. Another manager, Barry Fry, in charge from 1993 to 1996, urinated in all four corners of the pitch after a clairvoyant said it would break the spell. On Boxing Day 2006 the curse was finally lifted and on that day Birmingham City celebrated a 2–1 win over Queens Park Rangers F.C.. Just over four years after the alleged curse ended, Birmingham City finally won the first major final in their history – beating Arsenal 2–1 to win the League Cup at Wembley. Unfortunately, Birmingham City was relegated to Football League Championship in the same of the season after they lift the 2010-11 Football League Cup trophy, and they never promoted to Premier League since 2011 until now.
Derby County F.C.
English football side Derby County were placed under a curse by a group of Romani Gypsies who were forced to move from a camp so that they could build their stadium, the Baseball Ground. The curse was that Derby County would never win the FA Cup. This mirrors the curse placed on Birmingham City F.C..
Despite reaching six FA Cup semi-finals between 1896 and 1903, including three finals, they never managed to win the trophy. The next time they reached the final was in 1946 against Charlton Athletic. In the buildup to the final, a representative from the club went to meet with Gypsies in an attempt to lift the curse. During the match, with the score tied at 1-1, the ball burst. It has since been seen by fans of the club as the moment the curse was lifted. Derby County went on to win the match 4–1.
Scottish football side Hibernian endured a 114-year wait to win their third Scottish Cup, eventually doing so against Rangers in the 2016 final. Prior to this success, Hibs had lost an agonising ten straight Scottish Cup finals in a drought stretching back to 1902. Hibernian's hoodoo was made all the more noteworthy by their relative success in other major Scottish footballing honours - the Leith side won four league titles and three league cups whilst remaining fruitless in their search for Scottish Cup glory. In spite of remaining a prominent force within Scottish football and building notoriously excellent sides such as the Famous Five and Turnbull's Tornadoes, Hibs were for so long unable to lift the oldest trophy in world football.
Some Hibs fans attributed the absence of Scottish Cup success to a curse which a gypsy woman allegedly placed upon the club during the chairmanship of Harry Swan. Whilst renovation works were being carried out at Hibernian's Easter Road stadium in the 1950s, a harp crest – which had been displayed on the South Stand symbolising Hibernian's founding Irish roots – was removed and subsequently did not reappear when work had finished. During the 2015-16 season, Hibs' modern day badge (which includes the harp) was placed upon the facade of the West Stand at Easter Road. Less than eight months after the harp had been reinstated onto the walls of Easter Road, Hibernian were once again Scottish Cup winners after more than a century in the making.
Cruz Azul (Comizzo curse)
Origins of the curse began during the final of the Mexican League winter tournament in 1997, contested between Cruz Azul and Club León in a two-legged match. At the time they were the 3rd and 4th teams with the most league championships in Mexico respectively. Both teams were tied until the last moments of the second leg when Leon's goalkeeper Ángel Comizzo kicked Cruz Azul's star striker Carlos Hermosillo in the face, causing Hermosillo to bleed profusely inside the penalty area, leading to a foul and a penalty kick in Cruz Azul's favor. As the penalty was given, the referee asked Hermosillo to wipe the blood from his face, but Hermosillo ignored him and took the penalty kick, scoring a late winner. Cruz Azul became league champion for the 8th time in club history, but fans believed that both teams were cursed by the blood. Leon was then relegated to an inferior league in 2002 but since 2012 they were promoted back to the now-renamed Liga MX (formerly Primera División) and would later become back-to-back league champions after defeating Club América in the 2013 Apertura playoffs, breaking their part of the curse.
On the other hand, Cruz Azul has lost several finals in the Mexican league, the CONCACAF Champions League, and the Copa Libertadores, many of them at the last minute, which has their part in the curse hold true. Although Cruz Azul won the 2013 Clausura edition of the Copa MX and the CONCACAF Champions League in 2014, the club has yet to win their first league championship since 1997. Their multiple losses and inability to win any league championship has rival club fans bestow Cruz Azul with the mock title "Sub-Campeonísimos" (literally "the most high of runner ups".)  Additionally, the term "'Cruzazulear'" (to pull off a Cruz Azul) was coined to describe whenever the team (or any team in general) loses in a humiliating fashion.
Curse of Ramsey
Online users and tabloid journalists have written of a "Curse of Ramsey", in which celebrities die within hours of Welsh footballer Aaron Ramsey scoring regardless where he plays. The phenomenon has been brought up after such high-profile deaths as those of Ted Kennedy, Osama bin Laden, Muammar Gadaffi, Steve Jobs, Whitney Houston, Robin Williams, Paul Walker, David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Nancy Reagan, Chester Bennington, Gregg Allman, Roger Moore, Stephen Hawking, Eric Bristow, Burt Reynolds, Mac Miller, George H. W. Bush, Keith Flint and Luke Perry.
German Bundesliga club Bayer 04 Leverkusen were given the nicknames "Neverkusen", "Vizekusen" (vize meaning "second") and "Bridesmaid of Europe" for its record during the 1990s to 2000s of reaching finals of major tournaments but failing to win the actual title or finishing runner-up in the league. Bayer were runners-up in the Bundesliga for three seasons in a row (1998–99, 1999–2000, 2001–02) and, as of the 2016–17 season, have yet to win the title. The nicknames were popularised after the 2001-02 season when the club finished runner-up in the two major domestic competitions (league and cup) and the Champions League. Additionally, the German national team which finished runners-up to Brazil at the 2002 FIFA World Cup Final featured five Leverkusen players.
Mexico national team
The Mexican national team have been eliminated from every FIFA World Cup at the round of 16 stage from 1994 onward, with the first incident happening in the 1994 FIFA World Cup when the team lost to Bulgaria through a penalty shootout, and since then were eliminated at the same stage from every tournament afterwards (losing to Germany in 1998, the United States in 2002, Argentina in 2006 and 2010, Netherlands in 2014, and Brazil in 2018.
World Cup Champion's Curse
Starting in 2002, winners of the FIFA World Cup have frequently gotten eliminated in the group stages of the next World Cup. As of 2018 Germany has become the third World Champion in a row to bow out at the group stages of the World Cup, and the fourth in 5 competitions. Previously, 1998 FIFA World Cup winners France, got eliminated at the group stages in the 2002 FIFA World Cup, 2006 FIFA World Cup winners, Italy got eliminated in the groups stages in 2010, and 2010 FIFA World Cup winners, Spain also got eliminated in 2014 FIFA World Cup group stages. 2014 winners Germany were also eliminated in the group stages of the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Winners of OWC 2017 Poland, got knocked out in group stages of OWC 2018.
Boston Red Sox
Some allege that there was a curse placed on the Boston Red Sox, who failed to win a World Series after 1918, apparently due to the selling of Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees. Before the sale, the Red Sox had won four titles in seven years (1912–1918). After the sale, the Yankees went on to win 27 World Series Championships. The "curse" was broken when, after 86 seasons, the Red Sox defeated the St. Louis Cardinals 4 games to 0 in the 2004 World Series (before the Series, the Red Sox had come back from a 3-games-to-0 deficit, a first in Major League postseason history, to defeat the Yankees at the original Yankee Stadium for the American League pennant).
Chicago Cubs and White Sox
Both of Chicago's baseball teams were involved in supposed curses. The Chicago Cubs, after benefiting from a baserunning error by New York Giants' Fred Merkle during the last couple of weeks in the season, won the 1908 World Series. From 1909 to 2015, the Cubs did not win a World Series, despite participating as the National League (NL) champion seven times between 1910 and 1945. The 1945 World Series appearance was most notable because it marked the start of the Curse of the Billy Goat. That incident involved Billy Sianis, owner of the Billy Goat Tavern, who was asked to leave a World Series game vs. the Detroit Tigers because his pet goat's odor bothered other fans. From 1946 to 2015, the closest the Cubs had advanced to the World Series was five outs away in game 6 of the 2003 NLCS vs. the Florida Marlins, when Steve Bartman, a Cubs fan, attempted to catch a foul ball. The Cubs defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 2016 National League Championship Series (NLCS), winning the organization's first National League (NL) pennant since 1945. The Cubs finally won the 2016 World Series against the Cleveland Indians, their first championship in 108 years. The Chicago White Sox were said to have been cursed because of their role in fixing the 1919 World Series. As a result, the Cincinnati Reds won that series in eight games, and eight White Sox players were banned by baseball for their actions in throwing the series. The White Sox wouldn't win another World Series until 2005, when they swept the Houston Astros in four games
This curse supposedly prevents the Cleveland Indians from competing in a pennant race, reaching postseason play, or winning the American League (AL) pennant and/or World Series. The origin of this curse dates back to 1960, when the Indians traded outfielder Rocky Colavito to the Detroit Tigers for outfielder Harvey Kuenn. The Indians played in and lost the World Series in 1995, 1997, and 2016, and last won the Series in 1948.
This curse was supposedly cast on the Hanshin Tigers by Colonel Harland Sanders (the founder and mascot of Kentucky Fried Chicken) after fans of the team threw his statue into the Dōtonbori Canal while celebrating the Tigers' 1985 Japan Championship Series.
San Francisco Giants
This curse is an alleged hex placed on the San Francisco Giants following their move from New York City and refers to Coogan's Bluff which is a cliff that overlooks Polo Grounds, the Giants' home in New York. In 1921, the Giants honored Eddie Grant, the first Major League Baseball player killed in World War I, with a plaque in centerfield, but the plaque was lost during the field invasion by fans that followed the Giants' final game at Polo Grounds at the end of the 1957 season.
Since then, the Giants, who had won five World Series titles, all but the first with the Eddie Grant plaque in centerfield, lost in their next three World Series appearances, including the '89 Series that was delayed because of the Loma Prieta earthquake. Two of those series losses were in the seventh game.
The Giants were approached on multiple occasions with offers to replace the plaque, but the management refused, citing a preference to keep the team's New York history separate. But the team eventually relented, installing a replica of the original plaque in AT&T Park on Memorial Day, 2006. A club official at the time said, "Baseball fans are so superstitious, and players are too, so you have to take this stuff seriously. And if by putting up a plaque we can break some sort of curse, who's to say it's not the right thing to do?"
The Giants won their first World Series in San Francisco in 2010, followed by World Series victories in 2012 and 2014. It should be mentioned that all three victories were won on the road, away from San Francisco.
The Phoenix Suns in their 51 seasons of play have yet to win the National Basketball Association (NBA) championship. The Suns have played in nine (9) Western Conference finals and two (2) NBA Finals. However, no Suns team has been able to bring the NBA title to the city of Phoenix, Arizona. Suns and NBA fans alike have cited the alleged "Curse of the Coin Flip" as the reason why the Suns cannot win the title. The story goes that during the 1969 NBA Draft the 2 worst teams of the previous season, the Phoenix Suns and Milwaukee Bucks were both tied to earn a first round draft pick. It was decided that a coin toss was needed to determine which team would get the pick, and the Suns lost the coin flip. With their first round pick the Bucks selected future Hall of Fame star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, which sparked five (5) decades and counting of bad luck for the Phoenix Suns. He would win an NBA Championship with the Bucks in 1970 and many others with the Los Angeles Lakers, both as a player and coach.
Croatia's curse of '95
Croatia men's national basketball team was involved in a controversy during the medal ceremony at the 1995 FIBA European Championship. Right before the winning Yugoslav team were about to receive their gold medals, the third-placed Croatian team, in an unprecedented move, stepped down from the medal podium and walked off the court. Croatia's basketball team hasn't set foot once on the medal podium in any major international competition since. The curse theory has all the more credence bearing in mind that Croatia won a medal in every competition every year since it became an independent state prior to the curse taking place (silver in the 1992 Olympics, Silver and Bronze in the 1993 and 1995 EuroBasket competitions respectfully, and Bronze in the 1994 FIBA World Championship). As of 2019 (24 years later) the closest they came to winning a medal since was the Eurobasket 2013 third place game where Croatia lost out to Spain in a 92-66 blowout.
The Curse of '51 allegedly prevents Mayo from winning the Sam Maguire Cup ever again, or at least until the death has occurred of every member of the last winning team from 1951. It remains unbroken—despite the team reaching the final on nine occasions since then, they have either completely collapsed on the day or been undone by a series of other unfortunate events.
The legend tells us that while the boisterous Mayo team were passing through Foxford on the victorious journey home, the team failed to wait quietly for a funeral cortège to pass by on its way to the graveyard. The presiding priest consequently put a curse on Mayo football to never win a subsequent All-Ireland Final until all members of the 1951 team are dead.
In 1989, Mayo reached their first All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Final since their last victory in 1951 only to lose to Cork. In 1996, a freak point by Meath at the end of the final forced a replay, which saw Mayo concede another late score that would deny them victory. Kerry bridged an 11-year title gap against them in 1997 with a three-point win, before torturing them by eight points in 2004 and thirteen points in 2006
Mayo returned to the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Final in 2012. Even with Taoiseach Enda Kenny in Rome seeking divine intervention through Pope Benedict XVI the day before, the "Kafkaesque black farce" continued from where it had left off—with Donegal allowed bridge a 20-year gap between titles, helped in no small part by a nightmare opening quarter for Mayo as Michael Murphy—whose father is from Mayo—launched a rocket of a shot into the goal after three minutes. Then, in the eleventh minute, Colm McFadden seized the ball from the grasp of Kevin Keane and slid it into the net for a second Donegal goal. Mayo only got on the scoresheet after sixteen minutes and never led at any point during the match. They eventually lost with thirteen points to Donegal's two goals and eleven.
They qualified for the 2016 Final on 18 September 2016 where they faced Dublin the curse seemingly struck again when they scored two own goals in the opening half before drawing with Dublin in the last few minutes of the game. They faced Dublin again in a rematch on the 1st October 2016 but lost by a point.
Biddy Early was a 19th-century healer from Feakle in County Clare remembered as a witch. Her curse or prophecy was said variously to afflict two hurling teams which endured long droughts in the All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship: Clare (1914–1995) and/or Galway (1923–1980). The two counties played a famous semi-final in the 1932 Championship: Clare won, but lost the final to Kilkenny. After Clare's "curse" was broken in 1995, Billy Loughnane from Ennis wrote to The Irish Times:
Biddy Early is fondly remembered in Co Clare as an extraordinary woman who devoted her time to comforting and healing the sick. She is not known ever to have cursed anyone. She experienced some difficulty with one local clergyman of the day who, for reasons of his own, would have her labelled a "witch". This clergyman's malicious intentions have been greatly assisted recently by those journalists and commentators (outside of Clare) who have been busily referring to the "Curse of Biddy Early". Who started this silly rubbish? ... Some of these people would try to tell us that Biddy decreed that Clare would win no All-Ireland until after all the 1914 team had passed away. Biddy Early died in 1875 before the foundation of the GAA and long before there was any inter-county competition!
In 1993, the Montreal Canadiens won the Stanley Cup behind the Herculean effort of goaltender Patrick Roy. It was Roy's second Stanley Cup with Montreal, and his second Conn Smythe (Awarded to the Most Valuable Player of the NHL playoffs). It cemented him as one of the premier NHL players. This was also the Canadiens' 24th Stanley Cup championship, as they are historically the most dominant NHL team, winning 25.3% of all Cups, as of 2014. In 1995, Montreal hired coach Mario Tremblay. Tremblay and Roy had a strained relationship from Tremblay's playing days. Tremblay would consistently make fun of Roy's struggle to speak English. On December 2, 1995, Montreal played Detroit. In what would be the worst loss at home in Montreal's storied history, Roy would allow 9 goals before being pulled. In hockey, you usually pull a goalie much earlier when they are having a bad night. Roy later stated that Tremblay did this to humiliate him. Once Roy was pulled, he went by Canadiens President Ronald Corey and told him "It's my last game in Montreal." He was traded to the Colorado Avalanche four days later in what is known as "Le Trade". (The Avalanche had just moved out of Canada that same offseason; they had played the previous 23 seasons as the Canadiens' in-province rivals, the Quebec Nordiques.) It is considered one of the most lopsided trades in NHL history. That same year, the Avalanche won their first Stanley Cup. The curse wasn't said or implied by anyone. But as of 2018, no Canadian team has won a cup since Roy's 1993 Canadiens. It is now known as "The Curse of St. Patrick".
A significant losing streak the Calgary Flames had during games played in Anaheim has come to be referred to as the "Honda Center curse". After winning game 3 of the 2006 Western Conference Quarter Final at the then Arrowhead Pond on April 25, 2006, the Flames have gone on to lose an NHL record 29 consecutive away games at the Arrowhead Pond/Honda Center, including all 27 games played there under the arena's current name (the arena became Honda Center starting in the 2006-07 season ). Of these 29 losses, 2 came in the remaining games of the 2006 Western Conference Quarter Final, 3 came in the 2015 Western Conference Semi Final, and 2 came in the 2017 Western Conference Quarter Final. Furthermore, the Flames last regular season win in Anaheim came on January 19, 2004. The Flames losing streak at the then Arrowhead Pond/Honda Center has led some Ducks fans to taunt the Flames with chants of "You can't win here!". On October 9, 2017, the Calgary Flames beat the Ducks 2-0, ending a NHL record 29 (25 in regular season) consecutive away game losing streak including the Stanley Cup Playoffs at the then Arrowhead Pond/Honda Center.
A curse allegedly placed on the Chicago Blackhawks in 1927 by head coach Pete Muldoon when he was fired, stating that they would never again finish in first place. The "curse" was first mentioned in print in 1943 by Toronto sportswriter Jim Coleman. They would not finish in first place in their division (1928–1937) or in the single-division NHL (after 1938) until 1967, the final season of the Original Six era, despite winning the Stanley Cup three times since Muldoon supposedly "cursed" the team. However, immediately after this, Coleman admitted that he had completely fabricated the "curse" to break a writer's block.
Los Angeles Kings
During game 2 of the 1993 Stanley Cup Finals, with the Los Angeles Kings leading the Montreal Canadiens 2-1, Canadiens coach Jacques Demers requested the on-ice officials to measure the curvature of Kings defenseman Marty McSorley's stick. McSorley's stick was ruled illegal and he was given a two-minute penalty. McSorley's absence allowed the Canadiens to score a goal late in the third period to force overtime, and the Canadiens scored in the extra period to win the game and even the series at one game apiece. The Canadiens would subsequently win the next three games of the series to win the Stanley Cup. This series was the last time that the Kings played in the Stanley Cup finals, until they won the Stanley Cup for the first time in franchise history in 2012 and again in 2014. Coincidentally, the Canadiens' championship victory in this series is the most recent time a Canadian-based National Hockey League (NHL) team has won the Stanley Cup.
New York Rangers
The Curse of 1940 was a mythical explanation for the failure of the NHL's New York Rangers to win the Stanley Cup since 1940. It was broken when the Rangers defeated the Vancouver Canucks 4–3 in 1994.
Toronto Maple Leafs
NHL player Bill Barilko, of the Toronto Maple Leafs, had just scored the Stanley Cup winning goal in the 1951 season in overtime against the Montreal Canadiens. In his off-season, he went on a fishing trip with his dentist. Their plane crashed, both passengers died. The Maple Leafs did not win another cup until 1962, 11 years after the crash, and the same year that Barilko's body was found. His number was retired by the Maple Leafs in honour of his legacy and remembrance after his death. The Maple Leafs also notably have the current longest Stanley Cup drought as they have not won the cup since 1967. In fact, the Maple Leafs haven't even returned to the Stanley Cup Final since.
The Ascari curse is a "curse" involving Antonio Ascari and his son Alberto having eerily similar deaths. Both of them died at the age of 36 in racing accidents 30 years apart. Coincidentally they also died on the 26th of a month. They also left behind a wife and two children. Ascari's good friend, driver Eugenio Castellotti, whose Ferrari Ascari had driven on the day of his death, would die just two years after him in a crash in 1957, also in a Ferrari.
The Allison Family is a well known family in NASCAR. Bobby Allison who won the Daytona 500 in 1978, 1982 and 1988 would be the first of the Allison's to have major accidents while racing, first at Talladega, Alabama in 1987 where Bobby would crash into the catch fence and second at Pocono in 1988 where he suffered a career ending crash.
In 1992 Bobby's youngest son Clifford would be killed in a racing accident while his other son Davey would have a horrific, near-fatal crash in Pocono after his car flipped several times and hit a guardrail, oddly enough it was the same track where Bobby had his career ending crash. Davey would later be killed in a helicopter crash. Bobby would also divorce with his wife Judy but they later reconnected.
Since winning the Indianapolis 500 in 1969, auto racing legend Mario Andretti was plagued with bad luck in his efforts to win the great race for a second time before his retirement in 1994. The misfortune at Indianapolis has notably extended to his sons Michael and Jeff, nephew John, as well as grandson Marco. It is also said to have affected, to an indirect extent, his twin brother Aldo, and former car owners Paul Newman and Carl Haas from Newman/Haas Racing.
Toyota Gazoo Racing Le Mans Curse
For a long time, Toyota had been plagued with horribly bad luck in their attempts to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and become the first Japanese manufacturer to win the race since Mazda in 1991. Examples include in 2014, when the leading 7 car was forced to retire in the middle of the night after a piece of monitoring equipment failed, in 2015, where they failed to challenge Audi and Porsche in any way, only finishing in 8th, and most painfully in 2016, when the leading 5 car broke down just after the finish line when the final lap had been signalled, which let Porsche overtake and win. In 2017 a mistaken interpretation of a thumbs up signal from the driver of the leading Toyota car caused him to crash into an LMP2 car in the pit lane, leading to its retirement from the race and giving Porsche a straight run to the finish, as there were at that point only 2 LMP1 cars remaining, the fastest Porsche, and the 8th placed Toyota. The Porsche easily overtook the by then race leading LMP2 cars to cruise to the finish unchallenged. The curse was finally broken in 2018, when Toyota achieved a 1-2 finish with the 8 and 7 cars, after dominating the race and occupying 1st and 2nd for every single lap.
NASCAR racetrack Talladega Superspeedway has been said to have been cursed by a Native American shaman; other stories claim that it was built on an Indian burial ground. The curse allegedly explains the high number of unusual occurrences, untimely deaths, and spectacular accidents that have plagued the track since its opening in 1969 (part of this alleged curse has a rational underpinning; Talladega is the largest racetrack in NASCAR, allowing for much faster and more dangerous racing). During the 1970s, on the eve before a race, roughly a dozen cars were sabotaged with gas tanks being filled with sugar or sand, and tires were slashed as well. Bobby Isaac, the 1970 Cup champion, parked his car mid race despite nothing being wrong with the car. When asked why, Isaac claimed a voice from above ordered him to park the car.
The Kennett Curse (AFL)
This is the name given to AFL club Hawthorn's 11 match losing streak against rivals Geelong, from the 2008 AFL Grand Final to the 2013 preliminary final. After the Hawks won the 2008 premiership, then-Hawthorn President Jeff Kennett proclaimed that Geelong "lacked the mentality to defeat Hawthorn in big games". From that time, however, Geelong defeated Hawthorn eleven times in a row, most games being decided by 10 points or less. The winning streak was also attributed to comments made by Paul Chapman that the Cats will "never lose to them again" following the 2008 Grand Final. Chapman missed Hawthorn's curse-breaking win in 2013 due to suspension.
Cheltenham cemetery curse (SANFL)
For a long time such was the Port Adelaide Football Club's dominance at Alberton Oval there has been conjecture that opposition teams became cursed as they passed by Cheltenham cemetery on the way to the ground.
|“||Your fellows are beaten as soon as they pass the Cheltenham Cemetery.||”|
|— Unknown Port Adelaide player, Adelaide Advertiser, 10 May 1946, |
Malcolm Blight as coach for Woodville played up the curse for his players in the lead up to a match, parking the bus before the cemetery, and making his players walk past Cheltenham cemetery. Unfortunately it didn't work and Woodville still lost but Blight suggests his team would've lost by more if he didn't make everyone walk past.
|“||The adage, you lose five goals every time you came to Alberton Oval as soon as you passed Cheltenham Cemetery.||”|
|— Malcolm Blight, Sportsday SA, 2 July 2018, |
In the 1972 Air Canada Silver Broom curling tournament, Robert LaBonte, the skip of the American team, accidentally kicked the stone belonging to the Canadian team at the end of the match. This put the match into an extra end, and Canada won one more point to win the championship. Canada did not win another World Championship until 1980, and this was said that LaBonte put a "curse" on Canada.
The BasedGod's Curse
In May 2011, Oklahoma City Thunder small forward Kevin Durant tweeted an insult directed at cult rapper Lil B, a.k.a. "The BasedGod," in which Durant expressed incredulity at the idea that Lil B had become "relevant". In response, Lil B tweeted out the BasedGod's Curse, claiming that Durant would never win the NBA championship. The two men have exchanged further insults and basketball-related challenges on Twitter. In June 2012, Lil B claimed on Twitter that he had lifted the curse; however, in February 2014, during the NBA All-Star Game in which Durant was playing, Lil B resumed insulting Durant on Twitter, implying that the curse had returned. Lil B later released a diss song directed at Durant entitled "Fuck KD". in 2016, the Thunder blew a 3-1 lead in the Western Conference Finals to the Golden State Warriors. In the offseason, he left for the Warriors. On July 4, 2016, following that announcement, Lil B rescinded the curse again. In the 2017 NBA Finals, the Warriors beat the Cleveland Cavaliers in five games to win the NBA championship, giving Durant his first ever title.
St George Illawarra Dragons
In the National Rugby League (NRL), the Canberra curse referred to the St. George Illawarra Dragons' constant inability to defeat the Canberra Raiders at their home ground, or anywhere else, between 2000 and 2014. The Raiders enjoyed an unusual dominance of the Dragons, winning matches between the pair on a regular basis regardless of which team enjoyed favouritism or home ground advantage. This curse came to an end in Round 23, 2014, with the Dragons winning 34–16; it was their first win over the Raiders in Canberra since 2000, overall since 2007, but just their second since 2001.
The Masters Tournament held annually at the Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia begins with an informal par-3 competition. No winner of this has ever gone on to win the main tournament the same year. Eleven golfers have won both the contest and the Masters, with two of them winning the Masters later in the career after winning the contest. Raymond Floyd came the closest to winning both in 1990, but he lost in a sudden-death playoff.
World Snooker Championship
In snooker, the "Crucible Curse" refers to the fact that no first-time winner of the World Snooker Championship has successfully defended his title since the event was first held at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield in 1977. Of the 17 first-time champions in this era, only two have even made the final the following year, and six were eliminated in their first match. The "curse" can even be seen in the pre-Crucible era—the three first-time champions between the start of the championship's "modern era" in 1969 and its move to the Crucible all lost in their respective semifinal matches the next year. All three players went on to win a championship at the Crucible, and all failed to retain their title after their first victory at that venue.
Curse of the rainbow jersey
In cycle racing, the "curse of the rainbow jersey" is a popular term referring to the phenomenon where cyclists who have become World Champion (who wear the rainbow jersey during their reign as world champion) often suffer from poor luck the next year.
The National Football League (NFL)'s Atlanta Falcons won their first division championship in 1980 and were favored against the Dallas Cowboys in the Divisional playoff game. Despite trailing 24–10 at the beginning of the fourth quarter, the Cowboys rallied to out-score the Falcons 20–3 in the quarter to defeat the Falcons 30–27. In 1998, the Falcons advanced to play in the club's first-ever Super Bowl game after upsetting the heavily favored Minnesota Vikings in the NFC Championship Game 30–27; however, the Falcons lost to John Elway (in his final game) and the Denver Broncos 34–19 in Super Bowl XXXIII. In 2010 and 2012 the Falcons held the number 1 seed in the NFC playoffs, but were upset by the Green Bay Packers and San Francisco 49ers, respectively. The latter occurred in the NFC Championship Game, where the Falcons held a 17–0 lead. In Super Bowl LI, the Falcons' second-ever Super Bowl appearance, Atlanta jumped out to a 28–3 lead over Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. However, the Falcons suffered by far the greatest collapse in Super Bowl history (25 points; the previous record was 10) and lost to the Patriots 34–28 in the first Super Bowl game to ever be decided in an overtime period.
Consistently fielding one of the best teams in Major League Baseball, the Atlanta Braves won 14 straight division titles from 1991 to 2005, but won the World Series only once (1995). In the 1996 World Series, the Braves seemed poised to win their second straight championship after jumping out to a 2–0 series lead going home. However, the Braves lost 4 straight games to the New York Yankees, including a Game 4 in which they held a 6–0 lead at one point. The Braves have only played in one World Series since (1999; the Braves were swept in four games by the New York Yankees). Notable examples of the Atlanta sports curse as it pertains to the Braves include Lonnie Smith, Ed Sprague, Charlie Leibrandt (in back-to-back World Series), Jim Leyritz, Eric Gregg's wide strike zone, Brooks Conrad's errors, blowing an 8 1/2 game Wild Card lead in September 2011, and the 2012 National League Wild Card Game.
The National Basketball Association (NBA)'s Atlanta Hawks have not played in an NBA Finals since the club's move from St. Louis, Missouri in 1968. Their only appearance in the Eastern Conference Finals was against the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2015, in which they were swept four games to none despite being a 60-win team and the number one seed in the conference.
In addition, Atlanta has lost two National Hockey League (NHL) franchises to Canadian cities: the Atlanta Flames (who moved to Calgary in 1980) and the Atlanta Thrashers (who moved to Winnipeg in 2011), either due to low attendance, poor ownership, or both.
The 2017 Georgia Bulldogs college football team blew a 13-point lead at halftime in the 2018 College Football Playoff National Championship to Alabama and lost in overtime, 26-23, despite Alabama benching their starting quarterback, Jalen Hurts, at halftime in favor of Tua Tagovailoa. Later that year, in the 2018 SEC Championship Game, Georgia once again blew a 14 point lead to Alabama in the same venue as their National Championship loss and once again also losing to the backup quarterback (this time Hurts, who replaced an injured Tagovailoa).
Atlanta's Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) team, the Atlanta Dream, has also fallen victim to the city's curse. All three times the team has reached the WNBA Finals, they have been swept three games to none each time (2010, 2011, and 2013).
Off the field, the curse has found its way towards athletes as well. Eugene Robinson, who played for the Falcons during the 1998 season, was arrested for soliciting a prostitute the night before Super Bowl XXXIII. Michael Vick's arrest for involvement in an illegal dog fighting ring came while he was still with the Falcons. Thabo Sefolosha, the Hawks' star defender in 2015, was arrested in New York City weeks before the beginning of the NBA playoffs and suffered a fractured tibia while being detained.
Buffalo, New York
The Buffalo sports curse is an explanation for Buffalo's inability to win a Super Bowl, Stanley Cup, or an NBA championship. Those who believe in the Buffalo curse cite as examples the four consecutive Super Bowl losses by the Buffalo Bills for the 1990–1993 seasons (and the team's failure to qualify for the NFL playoffs from 2000 to 2017), as well as the failure of the Buffalo Sabres ever to win the Stanley Cup (despite winning the Presidents' Trophy for most regular-season points in 2006–07). The Bills, however, won two American Football League (AFL) titles (1964 and 1965), the latter occurring just months before an agreement was reached to merge the AFL and the National Football League (NFL) (Bills owner Ralph Wilson initiated the talks to merge the two leagues, according to the Pro Football Hall of Fame). In spite of that, it has been argued that this was achieved when the AFL was in its infancy as an upstart league, garnering little, if any, national attention before merging with the established NFL, and that even if they are considered to be at par, since there would be no Super Bowl until after the 1966 season, the Bills could be no greater than co-champions. There have been conflicting suggestions on how the Bills would have fared against the Green Bay Packers or Cleveland Browns, much as there have been disputes over how well the San Diego Chargers would have played against the Bears in 1963, had the Super Bowl existed at that time.
Some writers and historians specifically attribute the Bills' lack of success to the location of their current stadium next to a family cemetery and very likely on the site of an old Wenro Indian village. There are others who link the Bills' 17-year playoff drought to the benching of quarterback Doug Flutie for the game now known as the Music City Miracle, which was also their last playoff game until 2017. One non-supernatural cause of the alleged curse was Bills owner Ralph Wilson, who cared more about running a profitable business than a winning team; Wilson was quoted in 1969 as explicitly not wanting to win championships because it would cause his players to demand more money.
The earliest reference to the curse traces to 1921, when the city's first NFL team, the Buffalo All-Americans, lost the NFL championship that year to what is now the Chicago Bears on a controversial tiebreaker. Other teams based in Buffalo, such as the Buffalo Bandits, Buffalo Bisons, Buffalo Beauts and Western New York Flash, have all won championships in their respective leagues, and athletes from Buffalo (with the possible exception of heavyweight boxing contender Joe Mesi), when playing for teams outside of Buffalo, have not been affected and have won multiple championships.
Prior to 2016, Cleveland was particularly known for not winning a championship in any major sport since 1964, as well as repeatedly losing playoff games in heartbreaking fashion. Although the Cleveland Browns won the 1964 NFL Championship Game, the match occurred two seasons prior to the first Super Bowl and six before the AFL–NFL merger. More than fifty years after winning their last league title, the Browns remain one of only four teams yet to play in the NFL title game during the modern era. More recently, the Cleveland Indians lost the 1995, 1997, and 2016 World Series, and the Cleveland Cavaliers were swept in both the 2007 and 2018 NBA Finals. In 2004, ESPN.com ranked Cleveland "the most tortured sports city in America". In 2012, Cleveland Scene dubbed the city's sports struggles "The Curse of Chief Wahoo", a reference to continued use of the controversial logo.
Marketing experts have highlighted the "curse of Gillette", given the mishaps that happen to sports stars which are associated with the brand, most notably Tiger Woods, Thierry Henry and David Beckham. One notable exception to the curse is the New England Patriots, who have played at Gillette Stadium since 2002 and won six Super Bowls in that time frame.
Gold Coast, Queensland
The Gold Coast is notorious for having teams perform poorly in the major Australian sports leagues and either fold, rebrand or relocate shortly after. Most of the city's sports teams have never reached the Grand Final of any major sports league in Australia, let alone win a premiership/championship. The Gold Coast is often referred to as "the graveyard" due to the number of professional sports teams that have folded in the city. The teams will often fall into trouble over poor on field performances, financial problems, ownership issues and/or under performing shortly after signing a marquee player. One of the city's two current professional teams fell dangerously close to suffering the same fate in 2015 as Australian media outlets reported they were trying desperately to avoid the curse.
The city of Houston, Texas has only won three major-league championships in its over 50 years of major league sports: the Houston Rockets winning back-to-back NBA Finals in 1994 and 1995, and the Houston Astros winning the 2017 World Series.
The Houston Astros of Major League Baseball have only won two pennants in their 56-year history, in 2005 while still in the National League, where they were swept by the Chicago White Sox in 4 games in the 2005 World Series; since moving to the American League they have not won a pennant till 2017. In the 1980 National League Championship Series, the Astros lost Game 5 when they blew a 3-run lead in the top of the eighth inning to the Philadelphia Phillies, who would go on to win in the tenth inning 8-7. In the 1986 National League Championship Series, the Astros lost Game 6 in a heartbreaking fashion by blowing a 3-run lead in the top of the 9th inning as the New York Mets scored 3 runs, forcing extra innings; in the 14th inning, both teams scored one run, and two innings later, the Mets scored 3 more runs while the Astros could not finish a comeback and lost the game to the Mets. After four of five seasons of first-round playoff exits from 1997-2001, the Astros lost in the 2004 National League Championship Series to the St. Louis Cardinals. In the 2015 American League Division Series, the Astros would blow a 6-2 lead in the eighth inning against the Kansas City Royals in Game 4 before losing the series in five games. The Astros would later win the 2017 World Series, 4 games to 3 against the Los Angeles Dodgers in their first appearance as a member of the American League, ending decades of heartbreak.
The Houston Oilers were established in 1960 as an inaugural franchise of the American Football League, where they won the first two AFL Championship Games (both against the San Diego Chargers); the Oilers would later join the National Football League during the AFL–NFL merger in the new AFC Central division; the Oilers met the Pittsburgh Steelers two years in a row in the AFC Championship Game, losing each time (5–34 in 1978 and 13–27 in 1979) and never returning to the AFC Championship Game during their time in Houston. In the 1992–93 NFL playoffs, the Oilers blew a 32-point lead to the Buffalo Bills in the 1993 AFC Wild Card Game; this game is locally known as The Choke within Houston. Two years later, the Oilers would relocate to Nashville and become the Tennessee Titans; in 2002, the NFL would return to Houston, this time under the name the Houston Texans.
The Texans have made the playoffs 5 times since coming into the league in 2002, but have only managed to go as far as the Divisional Round in 3 of those 5 appearances, and have never reached an AFC Championship. As of 2018, they remain the only NFL franchise to have not played in their conference championship.
The "Curse of Billy Penn" was cited as a reason for Philadelphia sports teams' failure to win championships since the Philadelphia 76ers swept the Los Angeles Lakers in the 1983 NBA Finals. Some[weasel words] fans believe that the city's breaking a gentlemen's agreement in 1987 that no skyscraper could be higher than the statue of William Penn on the top of the spire of City Hall put a curse on the city.
When the final beam in the construction of the Comcast Center, was raised on June 18, 2007, iron workers of Local Union 401 attached a small figurine of William Penn to the beam in an attempt to break the curse. The following year, the Philadelphia Phillies won the 2008 World Series. Ten years later, when the even taller Comcast Technology Center was topped out, the iron workers on that skyscraper did the same thing and the Philadelphia Eagles would go on to win Super Bowl LII.
The city's sports teams have also lost in championship finals in years of presidential inaugurations, beginning with the 76ers' loss in the 1977 NBA Finals and includes the Phillies' loss in the 2009 World Series. During that span, each of the four city's teams have lost championships during such years twice.
San Diego, California
The city of San Diego, has never claimed a modern North American major league professional sports championship (Super Bowl, World Series, Stanley Cup, or NBA Finals). San Diego is currently home to Major League Baseball's San Diego Padres and was the home of the National Football League's San Diego Chargers from 1961 to 2016 (now located in Los Angeles). San Diego has never had a National Hockey League franchise. The city has previously hosted two teams from the National Basketball Association: the San Diego Rockets from 1967 to 1971 (now located in Houston, Texas), and the San Diego Clippers from 1978 to 1984 (now located in Los Angeles).
San Diego also has the longest championship drought in North America with at least one major league franchise. San Diego's only championship was the 1963 AFL Championship, when the Chargers beat the Boston Patriots 51–10, before the AFL merged with the NFL to form the current National Football League.
The Chargers would only appear and lose in three championship games since then. The Chargers were set to defend their 1963 AFL title in 1964 against the Buffalo Bills. However, a key play by Mike Stratton on Keith Lincoln would help the Bills win, 20–7. The next year, the Chargers played the Bills again in the championship game and were shut out 23–0. The quarterback for the Bills (and the game MVP) in both of those games was former Charger Jack Kemp (and incidentally, those two championships would also be Buffalo's last). In 1966, team owner and founder Barron Hilton was forced to sell off the team to appease the board of directors of Hilton Hotels. Since Hilton sold the team, the Chargers have only had one Super Bowl appearance, in 1994, when they lost 49–26 to the San Francisco 49ers, as San Francisco quarterback and eventual MVP Steve Young threw for a Super Bowl–record six touchdowns. Additionally, eight members of that 1994 Chargers team, including team captain Junior Seau, died before the age of 45.
Founded in 1969, the Padres are one of seven Major League Baseball franchises that have never won the World Series. Of those teams, only the Texas Rangers (1961) have been in existence longer than San Diego. The Padres have twice advanced to the World Series, losing 4–1 to the Detroit Tigers in 1984 and being swept 4–0 by the New York Yankees in 1998. Asides from those 2 World Series appearances, the Padres have only made the playoffs 3 other times, and in each appearance, they lost the NLDS to the St. Louis Cardinals. As of 2017, the last time the Padres made the playoffs was in 2006, and their last winning season was in 2010. Since their last playoff appearance, the Padres are 775-892 (.465). The Padres streak of 12 consecutive seasons without a playoff appearance is the 3rd longest current streak in the league, only behind the Florida/Miami Marlins (15) and the Seattle Mariners (17).
The city of Washington, D.C. had not won a major professional sports championship in 26 years, since the Washington Redskins won Super Bowl XXVI in 1992. None of the major sports teams qualified to play in a conference or league championship game or series between 1998 and 2018, for a total of 70 combined seasons. This was the longest such streak in combined seasons of any city with at least one major sports team. Of cities with three or more major sports teams, D.C. had the second-longest title drought, and the longest time without an appearance in the conference finals. Between the Capitals' 1998 trip to the Eastern Conference Finals and the team's trip to the Eastern Conference Final in 2018, Washington, D.C. sports teams had appeared in 16 quarterfinal playoff rounds, losing all 16. Further, Washington sports teams held a 13 game losing streak in games with the chance to send the team to a Conference or League Championship. The drought ended on May 7, 2018, when the Capitals defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 6 of the semifinals to advance to the Eastern Conference Final against the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Capitals would go on to defeat the Lightning four games to three in the Eastern Conference Final, and then defeated the Vegas Golden Knights four games to one in the Stanley Cup Final.
The Washington Capitals had been the epitome of the Washington, D.C. sports curse. They have lost 5 playoff series when leading 3 games to 1, the most out of any NHL team. Out of NHL teams that have been involved in 10 or more playoff game 7's they have the worst winning percentage and have the second most losses despite being in existence 50 years less than the Boston Bruins, the team with the most losses. Their .131 winning percentage during the 1974-75 season is still the worst in league history.
The Washington Redskins have won three Super Bowl championships, the most recent coming in Super Bowl XXVI over the Buffalo Bills. However, since that time, the Redskins have not appeared in a Super Bowl or even a Conference Championship Game, and have only made the playoffs six times, losing in the First Round in three of those seasons. That Super Bowl season also represents the last time the Redskins got either the 1 or 2 seeds in the playoffs, as well as the last time they got 12 or more wins in a season.
Major League Baseball's Washington Nationals are one of only 2 teams in Major League history to have never appeared in a World Series (the other being the Seattle Mariners). They were formerly the Montreal Expos from 1969 to 2004. In that span, they had only made the playoffs one time, the strike-shortened 1981 season. They played in the National League Division Series (NLDS) as a result of the strike. The Expos won the series over the Phillies 3-2, but lost the National League Championship Series (NLCS) to the Dodgers in 5 games. The Expos win in the 1981 NLDS remains the only postseason series win in the franchise's history. The Nationals first started playing in Washington in 2005. Since that time, the Nationals have made the playoffs only 4 times, losing in the NLDS each time.
In the 2012 season, the Nationals clinched the best record in baseball at 98-64 and clinched home-field advantage throughout the National League playoffs. They met the St. Louis Cardinals in the NLDS. In game 5, the Nationals lead 6-0 at one point, and looked poised to make the NLCS. However, the Cardinals were able to cut the lead to 6-5 in the later innings. The Nationals led 7-5 heading into the 9th inning after they got a much needed insurance run in the bottom of the 8th inning, and 3 times were 1 out away from the Championship Series. Of those 3 instances in which they were one out away, twice they were one strike away. Closer Drew Storen entered the 9th inning, and allowed a lead-off double to Carlos Beltran. He was able to get the next 2 outs via groundout and strikeout. However, Storen failed to record the final out. He walked the next two batters, both on 3-2 pitches to load the bases. The next batter, Daniel Descalso, then hit a two run game tying double that ricocheted off the glove of Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond and trickled out into center field. The Cardinals would then take the lead 9-7 later on in the inning. Washington went down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the inning. The game has gone down as one of the most memorable chokes in sports history, as well as one of the most painful.
In the 2014 National League Division Series, the Nationals lost to the San Francisco Giants, who would go on to win the World Series. In Game 2, the Nationals held a 1-0 lead heading into the top of the 9th inning, but they could not close the game out. The Giants tied the game 1-1, and the game went into extra innings. In the top of the 18th inning, the Giants took the lead on a home run from Brandon Belt. The Nationals would win Game 3, but they ultimately lost the series 3-1.
In the 2016 National League Division Series, the Nationals lost to the Los Angeles Dodgers 3-2. In the seventh inning of Game 5, the Dodgers rallied from a 1-0 deficit to score four runs while the Nationals responded with only two in the bottom half of the inning. The inning lasted an hour and six minutes, with seven pitching changes, six runs, four pinch-hitters, two pinch-runners, and a double switch. In the bottom of the ninth, Clayton Kershaw, who had thrown 110 pitches in Game 4 two nights earlier, came in to pitch in the inning with one out. He induced a pop-up by Daniel Murphy and struck out Wilmer Difo swinging to end the game and series. This happened to be his first ever career save in the majors, along with the third time in four years that the Nationals lost in the NLDS.
In the 2017 National League Division Series, the Nationals lost to the Chicago Cubs 3-2. In Game 5, the Nationals lead 4-1 at one point. However, starting pitcher Gio Gonzalez was pulled after 3 innings for allowing 3 runs (all earned) and walking 4 batters. With the score 4-3 heading into the 5th inning, manager Dusty Baker bought in starting pitcher Max Scherzer to pitch the 5th inning. Scherzer, a Cy Young candidate for the season, came in and easily had his worst performance of the season by allowing 4 runs (2 earned), while walking a batter and striking out a batter, allowing the Cubs to pull ahead 7-4 and essentially putting the game out of reach. Washington attempted a comeback on their own, but ultimately, they could not fully recover, and they ultimately lost 9-8, ending the season for them and making them one and done for the second season in a row. Overall in the game, the Nationals used a total of 7 pitchers, the most pitchers they had used in a single game during the season. Three of their four postseason losses have been at Nationals Park, with the three losses also being a Game 5.
Since the franchise moved to Washington, the Nationals have never won a playoff series. Their inability to record a postseason series win since 1981 is the longest such active drought in North American professional sports (if the Major League Baseball Wild Card Game that was established in 2012 is included). Washington, D.C. has not won a pennant since the Washington Senators did so in 1933. The last MLB championship for a Washington team was in 1924. Those Senators moved to Minnesota in 1960, although a replacement team was created the following year. In eleven seasons, the Senators had just one winning season (1969), with four finishes in dead last. The team moved to Arlington, Texas after the 1971 season to become the Texas Rangers.
The Washington Wizards franchise has not won an NBA championship since 1978, when they were known as the Washington Bullets. They have not made the NBA Finals or the Conference Finals since 1979, one year after they were crowned champions. Since that time, the franchise has made the playoffs 16 times, but have only won five series in those appearances, and each time, they either lost in the first round, or lost in the semi-finals. From 1982 to 2005, the Wizards lost seven consecutive postseason series, with their win over the New Jersey Nets in the First Round in two games in 1982 being their last postseason series win until they beat the Chicago Bulls in six games in 2005. After that, the Wizards did not win another postseason series until 2014, when they beat the Bulls in five games. Since then, the Wizards won in the First Round in their next two playoff appearances, although each time they lost in the Conference Semifinals.
Sports Illustrated cover
Reports of an "Olympic curse" (French: malediction olympique) were noted in French media in 2015 following the murder of Belarusian sprinter Yuliya Balykina and the deaths of French athletes Alexis Vastine and Camille Muffat in a helicopter crash during the reality show Dropped. By April 2016, 18 of the 10,568 competitors had died but, based on mortality data for people of the competitors' average age of 26, this was actually lower than the expected death rate, which would have been seven competitors per year and a total by April 2016 of 28.
- David Fleming (November 20, 2007). "The NFL's forgotten legend". ESPN. Retrieved December 30, 2013.
- "All-Time Records of Current NFL Franchises" (PDF). Pro Football Hall of Fame. March 2, 2015. Archived from the original (PDF) on August 23, 2015. Retrieved March 29, 2015.
- "Chicago Bears Cheerleaders – Honey Bears Cheerleaders – Bears Cheerleader". Footballbabble.com. Retrieved 2013-05-13.
- King, Peter (March 2, 2009). "Searching For Bobby Layne". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved November 25, 2010.
- Rogers, Justin (March 7, 2009). "Turns out the Curse of Bobby Layne is probably a myth". MLive.com. Retrieved 2010-11-25.
- Plunkett, Luke (April 27, 2010). "There Is No Such Thing as the Madden Curse". Kotaku. Retrieved October 26, 2012.
- Boswell, Thomas (September 21, 1992). "A Curse but not yet a sin". The Washington Post. Retrieved October 22, 2016.
- Gruber, Jack (February 6, 2007). "Champions, for now — Super Bowl curse could vex Colts, Bears". USA Today. Retrieved April 19, 2008.
- Radio, Caracol (6 January 2008). "Murió el "autor" de la "maldición de Garabato" que le impedía al América ganar títulos". Caracol Radio.
- "Peñarol Campeón de América 1987 Relato Colombiano y Uruguayo.mp4". YouTube. 2012-05-05. Retrieved 2015-02-20.
- "La historia del nombre del América de Cali". Canaltrans.com. Retrieved 2015-02-20.
- Sygall, David (November 20, 2005). "Safran helps lift curse of the Socceroos". The Age. theage.com.au. Retrieved 21 December 2010.
- Sygall, David (November 20, 2005). "Socceroos owe it all to one man – and it isn't Hiddink". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 21 December 2010.
- "Guttman's curse strikes Benfica again". FIFA. May 15, 2013. Retrieved February 20, 2015.
- Philpott, Alex (18 May 2014). "Béla Guttmann and the curse of Benfica". World Soccer. Retrieved 27 January 2016.
- Kellet, Bob (December 26, 2006). "The Birmingham City Gypsy Curse is Lifted".
- Smith, Martin (25 December 2006). "Birmingham hope curse has run course". Telegraph. Retrieved 21 September 2017.
- Barney, Ronay. The Manager.
- "Football curses: witchdoctors, exorcisms and tactical urination". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 June 2015.
- "Arsenal 1 – 2 Birmingham". BBC Sport.
- "FA Cup Trivia #6". Rsssf.com. Retrieved 20 February 2015.
- "114 years of hurt: Hibs' last ten Scottish Cup finals". Edinburgh Evening News. Retrieved 20 May 2016.
- "After 137 years, it's official: Scottish Cup is world football's oldest trophy". The Scotsman. Retrieved 4 July 2011.
- "Harry Swan". Hibernian Historical Trust. Retrieved 11 December 2012.
- "The Irish gypsy's curse on Hibernian FC has finally been broken". The Irish Post. Retrieved 30 May 2016.
- "CREST ON THE WEST AT EASTER ROAD". Hibernian F.C. Retrieved 5 October 2015.
- "Rangers 2-3 Hibernian". BBC Sport. Retrieved 21 May 2016.
- "Hoy puede terminar "la maldición del 97" – La Cancha de Cruz Azul". Maquinacementera.com.mx. 2012-08-25. Retrieved 2013-12-30.
- "Cruz Azul sufre con la maldición | Deportes | La Tercera Edición Impresa". Diario.latercera.com. 2013-05-28. Retrieved 2013-12-30.
- "La maldición de Comizzo | VAVEL Mobile". Vavel.com. 2012-11-15. Archived from the original on 2013-06-30. Retrieved 2013-12-30.
- "Las maldiciones no existen en Cruz Azul". Centraldeportiva.com. 2012-11-17. Retrieved 2013-12-30.
- POR: Notimex (2012-11-17). "Sigue la maldición de Cruz Azul; León a semifinales | Excélsior" (in Spanish). Excelsior.com.mx. Retrieved 2013-12-30.
- "León – Milenio – Grupo Milenio". Leon.milenio.com. Retrieved 2013-12-30.
- . MARCA.com http://www.marca.com/claro-mx/futbol/cruz-azul/2017/12/05/5a26e1bde5fdead52c8b4580.html. Retrieved 2018-05-15. Missing or empty
- Sands, Katie (7 March 2016). "Aaron Ramsey scored a goal and people are now linking it with Nancy Reagan's death". Wales Online. Retrieved 1 May 2016.
- "German nearly men look to shed Neverkusen tag". Reuters. 25 November 2014.
- "'Neverkusen' ghost haunts final". BBC Sport. 28 June 2002.
- Lopez, Oscar (29 June 2014). "Is 'El Tri' Cursed? Mexico's Sad History Of Not Making World Cup Quarter Finals In 20 Years". Latin Times. Retrieved 5 February 2017.
- Turner, Gus (May 20, 2014). "The Curse of Coogan's Bluff – The Worst Curses in Sports History". Complex. Retrieved August 8, 2016.
- Moody, David R. (April 27, 2006). "Reversing the Curse?". San Francisco Gate. Retrieved February 24, 2015.
- "Gone forever? In search of baseball's lost treasures". Fox Sports. September 2, 2014. Retrieved May 1, 2018.
- Deadpoolio (June 19, 2018). "In two days, the Phoenix Suns can vanquish the Curse of the Coin". SBNation.com. Vox Media, Inc. Retrieved December 25, 2018.
- "Dublin 2-12 Mayo 1-14". RTÉ. 23 September 2013. Retrieved 24 September 2013.
- O'Connell, Edel (24 September 2012). "'The curse' raises its head again". Irish Independent. Independent News & Media. Retrieved 24 September 2012.
- "What is the Mayo curse? All the details on what has apparently been stopping Mayo from winning an All-Ireland for over 60 years". Irish Mirror. 16 September 2016. Retrieved 20 October 2016.
- "Mayo God help us, says Enda, in plea to pope for big match digout". The Irish Times. Irish Times Trust. 22 September 2012. Retrieved 22 September 2012.
- Sweeney, Eamonn (23 September 2012). "Despair cannot last forever". Sunday Independent. Independent News & Media. Retrieved 23 September 2012.
- Jackson, Lyle (23 September 2012). "Donegal 2-11 0-13 Mayo". BBC Sport. BBC. Retrieved 23 September 2012.
- O'Keeffe, John (24 September 2012). "Donegal's bite was early, deep and fatal". The Irish Times. Irish Times Trust. Retrieved 24 September 2012.
... But it was, yet again, a nightmare start comparable to 2004 and 2006... You also must commiserate with Mayo. Yet another All-Ireland final defeat... My only concern for them [Mayo], going into next season, would be that they have a lot of similar forwards and none of them are in the mould of Murphy or McFadden.
- O'Toole, Fintan (1 February 2016). "One of Mayo's 1950 and 1951 All-Ireland winners has died". The 42. Retrieved 21 September 2017.
- Jenkins, Richard (August 2007). "The Transformations of Biddy Early: From Local Reports of Magical Healing to Globalised New Age Fantasies". Folklore. 118 (2): 167. doi:10.1080/00155870701337379.
Biddy's well-known "prophecy"—made, remarkably, forty years after her death—that Clare would never win an All-Ireland senior hurling title until every last member of the 1914 team had died
- Wiley, Eddie (2 September 1995). "Clare prepare to confront the curse of Biddy Early". The Independent. London. Retrieved 2009-05-20.
The gist is that Biddy Early, denounced from the pulpit as a witch in the 1930s, but revered by many as a faith healer, wanted to travel with the Clare team to the provincial final of 1932. Whether from constraints of space or because of personal preferences, she was refused a lift. The resulting curse she put on that team was that every one of them would be dead before Clare would again win an All-Ireland final.
- "GAA: Clare". breakingnews.ie. 18 February 2008. Retrieved 2009-05-20.
that old witch named Biddy Early, who put a curse on Clare hurlers, deciding that they would never win another All-Ireland hurling title until the whole team consisted of bachelors.
- "Sporting World". Connacht Tribune. 24 October 1969. p. 16.
Now comes a hint from no less a person than Mick Gill ... that the witch 'Biddy Early' has harnessed her evil powers to keep our men lost in the hurling wilderness.
- Cashman, Kevin (20 October 1991). "One forward could lift Wexford". Sunday Independent. p. 14L.
Biddy Early as a layer of jinxes on Galway was only in the ha'penny place
- "Heady days for Galway hurling". Western People. 6 September 2001. Archived from the original on 29 June 2011. Retrieved 2009-05-20.
It was so bad that many Galway people genuinely believed the fable that Galway hurling suffered from some curse or other. ... Dad ... often told us of the time that Galway led Clare in the All-Ireland semi-final of 1932 ... at half-time by a whopping thirteen points ... and yet managed to lose by five points.
- "Despite the blistering defeat — those Galway hurlers hold promise". Connacht Tribune. 9 August 1974. p. 9.
Galway's ... sensational 'Biddy Early' defeat by Clare at Limerick in 1932
- Loughnane, Billy (11 September 1995). "Biddy's curse". The Irish Times. p. 15.
- "Calgary Flames at Mighty Ducks of Anaheim Box Score — April 25, 2006 - Hockey-Reference.com". Hockey-Reference.com.
- "Flames continued losing streak at the Honda Center with unfortunate own-goal".
- Shaikin, Bill; Johnson, Greg (20 July 2006). "Pond to Get a New Name" – via LA Times.
- "Anaheim's Honda Center a mountain Calgary must conquer in playoffs". www.winnipegfreepress.com.
- "Flames looking to break the Honda Center curse". Toronto Sun.
- "Ducks to Flames: You Can't Win Here". 6 April 2017.
- "The game-winning goal". YouTube.com. 2006-07-03. Retrieved 2013-12-30.
- "The breaking of the curse". YouTube.com. 2011-06-19. Retrieved 2013-12-30.
- Adam McNicol (July 31, 2012). "The Kennett curse". Internet Archive. Archived from the original on August 4, 2012.
- Will Brodie (April 10, 2012). "Jeff won't renounce the Kennett curse". The Age. Retrieved December 30, 2013.
- "Forget The Kennett Curse, it should be renamed the Chapman Factor". News.com.au. August 4, 2012. Retrieved December 30, 2013.
- "FOOTBALL". The Advertiser (Adelaide). South Australia. 10 May 1946. p. 5. Retrieved 8 August 2018 – via National Library of Australia.
- Blight, Malcolm (2 July 2018). "Messiah's Moments". Sportsday SA.
- "An Outsider's Guide to the Lil B–Kevin Durant Beef". Grantland.com. 2014-01-10. Retrieved 2015-02-20.
- Schwartz, Nick. "Lil B lifts curse on Kevin Durant after he announces decision to join Warriors". FOXSports.com. Retrieved 2016-07-04.
- Can the Dragons break the Canberra curse?, The Roar, 13 August 2014
- Stuart laments rep players, NRL curse ends, NRL official website, 16 August 2014
- St George Illawarra breaks Canberra 'hoodoo' with win over Raiders, Sydney Morning Herald, 17 August 2014
- Mohler, Brendan (April 7, 2015). "Masters Par-3 Contest: What you need to know". Golf Magazine. Retrieved March 10, 2017.
- Schultz, Jeff (January 9, 2018). "Georgia comes close to title but falls to Alabama -- it's Atlanta's curse". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved January 21, 2019.
- Boehm, Charles (December 8, 2018). "Recap: Atlanta United FC vs. Portland Timbers 12/09/2018". MLSSoccer.com. MLS Digital. Retrieved January 20, 2019.
- Martin, Jill (December 9, 2018). "Atlanta United wins MLS Cup in second season, ends city's sports title drought". CNN.com. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. Retrieved December 9, 2018.
- Vivlamore, Chris (December 9, 2018). "Curse? Atlanta United gives city reason to celebrate". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved December 9, 2018.
- "Buffalo Curse". Buffalo Curse. Retrieved 2013-12-30.
- Super Bowls That Were Never Played.
- Lowinger, Aaron (June 2012). "The Bills Curse". Buffalo Spree.
- Roth, Leo (October 30, 2015). "Roth: The Buffalo Bills' ghostly gridiron". Rochester Democrat and Chronicle.
- Davenport, Gary (November 20, 2014). "Do Recent Bad Breaks Give Credence to 'Cursed' Buffalo Bills?". Bleacher Report.
- Miller, Jeffrey. "The Staley Swindle." Professional Football Researchers Association.
- Darcy, Kieran. "ESPN.com: Page 2 – Mistakes by the lake". Internet Archive. Archived from the original on October 13, 2004. Retrieved May 13, 2013.
- Pattakos, Peter (April 25, 2012). "The Curse of Chief Wahoo". CleveScene.com. Cleveland Scene. Retrieved January 16, 2014.
- McCauley, Janie (June 19, 2016). "James and Cavaliers win thrilling NBA Finals Game 7, 93-89". NBA Media Ventures, LLC. Associated Press. Retrieved May 18, 2017.
- "World Refugee Day, Breaking the Cleveland 'Curse,' Internet Shaming". WNYC.org. New York Public Radio. June 20, 2016. Retrieved July 10, 2016.
- Mesure, Susie (November 29, 2009). "Shaven but stirred: the Gillette curse". Tribune News. Tribune.ie. Archived from the original on 9 June 2011. Retrieved 21 December 2010.
- Mesure, Susie (November 29, 2009). "Henry, Woods, Federer: The curse of Gillette". The Independent. London. Retrieved May 23, 2010.
- "CMGI Field is now Gillette Stadium". CNN.com. August 5, 2002. Retrieved October 11, 2008.
- United joins Gold Coast sporting graveyard
- Pierik, Jon (19 July 2012). "Another club gone, in a Blaze of ... nothing" – via The Age.
- "Gold Coast Graveyard: Where sport teams go to die". Archived from the original on 2015-04-02.
- "Titans battle to avoid Gold Coast curse". Archived from the original on 2015-04-02.
- Darcy, Kieran (July 6, 2004). "So close, so painful". ESPN. Retrieved December 30, 2013.
- Warren, Ken (June 2, 2010). "Two cities that could use a CUP". Ottawa Citizen. p. B3.
- "San Diego national champions". San Diego Reader. 2013-06-26. Retrieved 2015-02-20.
- "Are San Diego Sports Teams Cursed?". San Diego 6. Archived from the original on 2011-07-16. Retrieved 2010-07-01.
- Curry, Colleen (May 3, 2012). "Junior Seau Was 8th San Diego '95 Super Bowl Player to Die". ABC News. Retrieved May 3, 2012.
- "Complete Baseball Team and Baseball Team Encyclopedias". Sports Reference LLC. January 27, 2014. Retrieved January 27, 2014.
- Levine, Zachary (October 29, 2011). "Rangers' loss keeps Astros from topping all-time misery list". Houston Chronicle. Archived from the original on January 28, 2014.
- "1984 San Diego Padres". Sports Reference LLC. January 27, 2014. Retrieved January 27, 2014.
- "1998 San Diego Padres". Sports Reference LLC. January 27, 2014. Retrieved January 27, 2014.
- Steinberg, Dan (June 20, 2016). "Is D.C. now the most cursed sports city?". The Washington Post. Retrieved November 15, 2017.
- Leonard, Josh (October 10, 2016). "Does the DC Sports Curse exist?". Odyssey. Retrieved November 15, 2017.
- Rosen, Dan (May 29, 2018). "Capitals shut out Lightning again in Game 7, reach Stanley Cup Final". NHL.com. NHL Enterprises, L.P. Retrieved June 8, 2018.
- Rosen, Dan (June 7, 2018). "Capitals win Stanley Cup, defeat Golden Knights in Game 5 of Final". NHL.com. NHL Enterprises, L.P. Retrieved June 8, 2018.
- "1978 NHL Playoffs Summary". hockey-reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved May 11, 2017.
- List of NHL game sevens
- "NHL History: The 10 Worst Teams of All Time". BleacherReport.com. Retrieved May 11, 2017.
- Gray, Laura (16 April 2016). "Is there a London 2012 Olympics 'curse'?". BBC News. Retrieved 16 April 2016.