Talk:Curse of Billy Penn

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Villanova and St. Joe's[edit]

I can see St. Joe's being included in the sports teams here, but I don't think Villanova should be. It's at least 20 minutes outside of the city. Cocomaan (talk) 16:52, 23 October 2008 (UTC)

It's close enough; within the metropolitan area. Nutiketaiel (talk) 19:42, 23 October 2008 (UTC)

Urban Legend[edit]

I removed the characterisation of this as an urban legend. What makes a story an urban legend is how it is spread, and there is nothing about this in the article. If there is information added about how the story is an urban legend, then the claim that it is one (which seems likely to me, offhand) should be restored. (Even then, however, it wouldn't be quite right to call the curse an "urban legend", just as one should not say "Computer architecture refers to the theory behind the design of a computer". It is the story about the curse that may be an UL.) -- Toby Bartels 19:56, 29 Nov 2004 (UTC)

I don't follow. Distinguishing between the legendary status of an alleged curse and the story about the curse strikes me as needlessly complex. I agree that this is not the usual type of UL (no FOAF, the facts are trivially verifiable, and the story is specific and non-variable). As such, it might be misleading to characterize it as a UL without explanation about different types of UL. On the other hand, the generic sports curse story may qualify: We offended <insert name of legendary and/or tutelary person>, and <insert team or teams> will not win again until the spirit is in some manner appeased. Details vary by location. Hmmm...might be an interesting article! Robert A West 21:11, 20 Jun 2005 (UTC)
I fault this article for talking about this "curse" as if it's a Real Thing. The "alleged" in the first sentence doesn't help dispel this. I mean, does anyone seriously believe this is real? As to its "Origin" (on which there is a whole section), there is nothing about who invented this idea--was it a sports writer? That the gentlemen's agreement concerning building height was "violated" is the "purported" origin, stated by whoever invented the curse idea.--BillFlis 12:26, 5 April 2006 (UTC)
Could this (scroll down to #8) be the origin for this nonsense? Is this all a conspiracy by some songwriter to hawk his lyrics? Or somebody else to sell T-shirts? As to whether it's an Urban Legend, first somebody has to believe that it's true. Who will admit to it? Anybody?--BillFlis 17:13, 5 April 2006 (UTC)
Not that I believe any of this nonsense (it only gives the opposition confidence and the affected team an excuse should they not win), but wasn't there another similar theory regarding the statue of William Penn being adorned with team memorabilia and such? As far as the sportswriter who probably popularized this, I think some credit goes to Stan Hochman. I recall him talking about it's origins on Daily News Live on more than one occasion. From what I can recall offhand, I thought the credit goes to one particular person involved in the infamous gentleman's agreement (Alexander Milne Calder?).
That song is not the origin. I've known of this so-called "curse" for more than a couple years now and it pre-dates that song. I wonder why people didn't consider the Phantoms win in 2005 as the end of the curse. Yes, they are a minor league team, but with no NHL, winning the Calder Cup that year made them the best hockey team in North America. Am I right? As far as whether anybody believes this, I'm pretty sure there are plenty that do. Just take a glance at a Flyers message board every spring and you'll see it firsthand. --Spark17 16:31, 29 May 2006 (UTC)
OK, the article is shaping up, if only as a spoof on pseudo-science. Outrageous premise, "supported" by irrefutable facts. Good work! Things to do: explain the mechanism of the curse--how can it be lifted? Do we have to add some more stories to City Hall? Exorcism in the courtyard? Move Penn's statue atop Liberty One? Let's make it good--the world is watching!--BillFlis 10:30, 25 July 2006 (UTC)


I don't think that the Barbaro section belongs in this article at all. Was he a professional sports team? He was a "Philadelphia area" what..."athlete"? How far does this area extend outward from Penn's statue? Let the wills of the Editors on High be done, but were it my call, I would excise this section.Writtenright 22:30, 30 January 2007 (UTC)Writtenright

I agree. Barbaro is a very minor part of the Philadelphia sporting landscape (if he is at all). I think it's okay to mention him briefly, but there's way too much info on him. That belongs (and is already in) the Barbaro article. And why are we mentioned Pelle & Jerome, and saying that they aren't part of the curse. Bjewiki 16:43, 31 January 2007 (UTC)
Thirded. It's really going overboard to include Barbaro in all this. I've come to accept Smarty Jones as being legitimate, mostly because I saw grown men crying on the Parkway after the last race, but Barbaro is just too much. --Magic 07:06, 3 February 2007 (UTC)
So, can we remove the whole "Barbaro" stuff or what? It's really outside of the generally recognized Phily sports landscape. Bjewiki 18:43, 6 February 2007 (UTC)
Am I the only one here who thinks the "Barbaro" bit should be left in? The Curse does cover horse racing, too (Smarty Jones). However, to be fair, I do think the section should be truncated somewhat. Either that, or have the "Major League Sports" section greatly expanded. Svalbard in winter 17:24, 15 February 2007 (UTC)
In addition, Barbaro's ties to the area are negligible. According to this article the horse was not philly-based. magpi3 13:14, 18 April 2007 (UTC)

Also, the comparison of the Preakness and Belmont to conference or league championships in other sports makes no sense. JayareIL 02:15, 22 June 2007 (UTC)

Enough is enough. As we have discussed at length, Barbaro was born over 50 miles from Philly and spent most of his life in Maryland; the consensus is that he doesn't belong here. Yet, some people insist on returning Barbaro and that asinine "first blood" paragraph to this article. All future Barbaro references will be rv'ed as violating WP:NOR unless someone provides a major media citation linking Barbaro to the COBP...and given that major media coverage of the Curse is virtually nonexistant, good luck to you.


I know this might not count since it isn't a Real sport. But it started in Philly and you can consider wrestlers Athletes. Since the orgianl shut down could it also be part of the cyurse also

This doesn't belong in this article Bjewiki 16:44, 31 January 2007 (UTC)
No one put it in the artical. I was just asking. You could have simply said no
I believe I did simply say no. I said that the ECW stuff that you suggested didn't belong in the article. Bjewiki 21:12, 2 February 2007 (UTC)

The Curse of William Penn[edit]

FWIW, there's a new movie coming out on the topic: -- MyrddinEmrys 02:56, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

The only problem is, having the link in the article makes it read like an advertisement for the movie, which is a no-no in Wikipedia. If you want people to get more information, please create an article on the topic, The Curse of William Penn. EaglesFanInTampa (formerly Jimbo) 12:24, 10 April 2007 (UTC)
Oh, I know, that's why I didn't stick it in the article (though looking through the history, it looks like others have tried to...)! And I'm not worried enough to be bothered creating a new article. People in charge of the movie can do that if they wanna, I've got better things to do with my time. I was mentioning it here more as an FYI to Wiki-Editors who also cared about this topic, and who would thus be reading this page... -- MyrddinEmrys 02:47, 30 May 2007 (UTC)

Billy = William??[edit]

Why is this the curse of "Billy" Penn, when all the information inside it calls it "William Penn," including the movie title? —ScouterSig 19:32, 27 April 2007 (UTC)

Good question! I don't actually have any idea, beyond noting that I've always heard "Billy" when people are talking about "the curse." FWIW Dept!  :-/ -- MyrddinEmrys 02:47, 30 May 2007 (UTC)

It's probably to parallel it with the Chicago Cubs' curse. 21:33, 9 June 2007 (UTC)

That's how everyone in Philadelphia seems to refer to it, including local sportscasters. I'll try to find a citation.

Nutiketaiel (talk) 15:20, 2 July 2008 (UTC)

Shouldn't the title of the article be "The Curse of William Penn"? With "The Curse of Billy Penn" as an alternate in the opening sentence? TuckerResearch (talk) 01:44, 30 October 2008 (UTC)

New Category[edit]

This article should be added to the WP:silly articles catagory.

Move to Delete[edit]

Seriously, as a lifelong Philadelphia sports fan, even I can't begin to justify what this article is doing in Wikipedia. The "curse" might rate a passing mention as a curiosity in an article on Philadelphia or Philly sports teams, but a complete article is ridiculous. The curse is rarely mentioned in the Philadelphia area or the mainstream media. We occasionally keep count of the # of championship-less seasons, and I believe it's at 94 or so. But it has virtually no cultural significance to us, unlike the Curse Of The Bambino or the Billy Goat Curse, and I'd wager not one in 20 residents of the Delaware Valley could even identify it. In short, this article is a Candidate For Deletion if there ever was one, and I nominate it be removed. 02:09, 10 June 2007 (UTC)
Firm disagreement. The subject is notable, it has attracted media attention (see references to the Wall Street Journal and the Philadelphia Inquirer articles). Spikebrennan 17:30, 31 July 2007 (UTC)
Agree with SpikeB. While this has never been a top news story in Philadelphia - I suppose we like to stick with topping the murder-rate list - it is well known among Philadelphia sports fans. Far more than 1/20 fans would identify it, and perhaps they would even identify with it. Furthermore, this story adds an interesting line of lore to a storied bunch of sports teams whose fans are well-known to engage in fanatics. Is it unscientific, superstitious, unpractical, and somewhat ridiculous to discuss in the grand scheme of things? Yes, of course. However, if you want to see something unscientific, unpractical, somewhat ridiculous, and very superstitious, look for the following in sports:
Quarterback incessantly licking his fingertips in the huddle.
Batter adjusting his gloves in the exact same sequence before stepping into the box before every pitch.
Basketball player at the free-throw line dribbles twice, stops, dribbles three times, stops, dribbles four times, stops, dribbles once, stops, shoots.
A crowd gathers around horses just before a race to see which one takes a piss. That's the winner for sure.
It is only my opinion, but I feel that this article fits right in with sports, and right in with Philadelphia. This is a city rich in history, tradition, culture, etc, and well known for its sports fanaticism. So, let it be, and let us fans take part in the superstitious behavior that has become the norm in professional sports. Please.--Dentate 13:10, 17 August 2007 (UTC)
I also agree that it's definitely noteworthy. Not only have the aforementioned papers covered it, but also other outlets like the local Big Four Networks' affiliates, ESPN, and CNN, among others, have made it our "excuse" for losing Super Bowl XXXIX, the 2001 NBA Finals, the 1993 World Series, and the 1997 Stanley Cup Finals. Also, take into consideration the articles of the Curse of the Bambino and the Curse of the Billy Goat, which are along the same lines, but affecting only one team, not all four. It needs to stay. EaglesFanInTampa 14:04, 17 August 2007 (UTC)
Almost forgot to point out that if it wasn't such a big deal, do you honestly think the builders of the Comcast Center would have put a statue of William Penn on the final beam to help break the curse? Everyone in Philly knows the Curse, even if they don't want to acknowledge it. EaglesFanInTampa 14:26, 17 August 2007 (UTC)

This article is certainly worth having. It's just as meaningful as Curse of the Bambino or Curse of the Billy Goat. And if you want to see a ridiculous article, check out Wikipedia's List of films that most frequently use the word "fuck". Mustang6172 04:24, 26 October 2007 (UTC)

So whose curse is responsible for the pre-1987 ineptitude of Philly's teams? Grover Cleveland Alexander? -- But|seriously|folks  21:12, 4 November 2007 (UTC)

Reference Problem[edit]

I added a source for the billy penn mini statue put on the top of the new comcast building, but for some reason, the reference isn't being rendered correctly from the cite:news template. If anyone figures out what's wrong (or what i did wrong), please let me know. Thanks. Bjewiki 12:35, 19 June 2007 (UTC)

I removed the "no-reference" tag as there are now three references (two are direct references from newspapers of wide circulation). Spikebrennan 17:29, 31 July 2007 (UTC)

Sorry, Spike, but I disagree. One reference is from a random PDN blog that doesn't qualify as a verifiable source by WP standards; all it does is link to the Inquirer article already cited. Another is a circular reference from the WSJ to this very page, which by WP:Verify also fails to qualify; there's no evidence the WSJ blurb would have mentioned the Curse if this WP article didn't exist. That leaves us with one oblique reference from a the Inky, which isn't nearly enough to remove the tag from an otherwise citation-free 20-paragraph article.
Personally, I think that this article should be merged into the Philly sports entry. But if it's going to stay a first-class article, then let's at least make it encyclopedic. It is simply a rehashing of 25 years of major sports futility in Philly, which can be found elsewhere on WP or the Web. The article is purportedly about the Curse, not the fact that Philly pro sports teams have by and large sucked for a quarter-century, which we're already too painfully aware of. Who originated the notion of the Curse, what was the first public/media reference to it made, when did it become widely known (if at all), how often is it cited today, how does it affect the Philadelphia psyche? Those are what belong here, not another telling of Donovan barfing in the Super Bowl. Also, why does Barbaro deserve a section in this article at all? (Most web references that link the two refer directly to the WP article on the curse -- more circular references, in other words.) Someone needs to provide a public citation for the "first blood" bit, or else it qualifies as original research (not to mention godawful writing) and must be deleted.
At the moment, whether it's meant as a lighthearted article or a serious summary, it's in violation of so many WP guidelines (WP:NOR, WP:V, WP:CITE, and parts of WP:NOT) that I don't even want to put all the tags on it that it deserves; it would attract too much attention. For now I've just restored the Unreferenced tag and deleted the PDN blog reference. Dpiranha 18:06, 20 August 2007 (UTC)


I think that we should remove the reference to MOVE; it isn't really relevant, and is unsourced anyway. Nutiketaiel (talk) 15:06, 2 July 2008 (UTC)

OK, seeing no objections I went ahead and removed the MOVE reference. Original text is quoted here.
 In a coincidence, the ground was broken on the same day as the MOVE tragedy that left numerous members of a radical "Back to Africa" group dead, and burned down several blocks of West Philadelphia neighborhood.[citation needed]

Nutiketaiel (talk) 12:33, 7 July 2008 (UTC)

Gentlemen's Agreement Source[edit]

A source was recently added by an unregistered user for the reference to the Gentlemen's Agreement not to build a building taller than the statue. I altered the format of the footnote so it worked right, but in so doing I checked the source page; the source page ([1]) claims that it was itself adapted from Wikipedia, and upon checking the Wikipedia article on William Penn, the relevant statement regarding the Gentlemen's Agreement is unsourced. Is it appropriate for a Wikipedia article to site a website that itself sites another Wikipedia article? Nutiketaiel (talk) 11:44, 16 July 2008 (UTC)

I have removed the aforementioned source, based on comments obtained at WP:RSN. I will replace it with a more appropriate one at the earliest opportunity. Nutiketaiel (talk) 13:16, 17 July 2008 (UTC)


Just saw this article for the first time - it's pretty light on references and is mostly original research, although I'm confident the sources exist to tighten it up. I've tagged it accordingly. Mr. Darcy talk 01:43, 30 October 2008 (UTC)

The curse is more of a verbal tradition than a sort of thing where many references are available, even with the documentary made about it. However, now that the curse has been "broken," references about it in the media and articles should be easier to locate. I'll keep my eyes out. Matt White (talk) 02:33, 30 October 2008 (UTC)

Lifted Curse + Tenses[edit]

Because the Curse is currently in the past, so to speak, much of the article must be changed to the past tense. I'll do what I can, but I don't know if I'll pick up on all of them, so help me out if you can. Matt White (talk) 02:17, 30 October 2008 (UTC)

Move article[edit]

Do you think this article should be moved to an article like "Philadelphia Sports Curses?" I believe so. Curse of Billy Penn is not the only curse that was inflicted on Philadelphia sports teams, also according to John Smallwood of The Philadelphia Daily News there's another curse on Philadelphia sports teams, which is known as "Curse of the Inauguration," as the city's sports teams have lost a championship during a presidential inaugural year since the 76ers lost the 1977 NBA Finals. -- SNIyer12, (talk), 19:43, 8 November 2009 (UTC)

This is the first I've heard of it. Do you have any references for it besides Smallwood? Has anyone else ever referred to it? Nutiketaiel (talk) 13:24, 9 November 2009 (UTC)
Smallwood was the only reference I can think of. Other than that, I have cited the championship losses by all Philadelphia teams during presidential inaugural years since 1977. -- SNIyer12, (talk), 15:28, 12 November 2009 (UTC)
A single mention by Smallwood doesn't even establish notability for this supposed inauguration curse, much less warrant moving this article. Nutiketaiel (talk) 18:12, 13 November 2009 (UTC)
Otherwise, do you think there should be a new section in the article about the "Curse of the Inauguration?" I think so. -- SNIyer12, (talk), 23:24, 23 August 2010 (UTC)
Let's end this discussion. All I can say is this: until teams from Philadelphia win a championship in a presidential inauguration year, remnants of the Curse of Billy Penn will be alive and well, as the only years the city's teams played for championships during those 25 years were years presidents were inaugurated. The losses by the Phillies in 2009 and Flyers in 2010 make this clear, as the loss by the Flyers was the first time since they themselves lost in 1987 that a team in Philadelphia lost a championship in a non-presidential inauguration year. -- SNIyer12, (talk), 18:18, 5 December 2010 (UTC)
The Curse of Billy Penn and the "losing in presidential inauguration years" trivia have absolutely nothing to do with each other. Claiming it as the "real reason" Philly teams failed to win championships is really quite ridiculous and exhibits a tremendous logic fail on the part of the person who wrote that. Doesn't that person realize that there are no such things as curses? The reason for a Curse of Billy Penn article is not because the Flyers/Eagles/Phillies/76ers were actually cursed, but because, like the Curse of the Bambino or the Curse of the Billy Goat, some people believed they were cursed. And unlike the presidential inauguration trivia, the Curse of Billy Penn had a backstory and was written about every time a Philadelphia team fell short of a title for nearly a decade until the Phillies won in 2008. Also, I looked up the Smallwood article and it's really nothing more than a fluff piece written in a tongue-in-cheek manner.[2] -- (talk) 04:08, 29 March 2012 (UTC)


Sorry for being a dick, I just can't comprehend the egregious nature of the speculations contained in the article. I know, make my critiques on the talk page, blah blah squawk squawk.. i know, ok? thanks. I hope we get this revised and resolved expediently. In good faith and to all our well being אΏ ‡†‡ Bobkustofawitshz (talk) 04:09, 22 March 2012 (UTC)

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