Top 10 Sports Curses

Just like in any other competition, you can't always win and the reasons for losing are varied. But when it comes to sports competitions, it's not rare that athletes, fans or the media will try to come up with interesting or unusual reasons to explain losses or misfortune. That's where the idea of a curse comes in. Join WatchMojo.com as we count down our picks for the top 10 sports curses. Special thanks to our user jackcooper for submitting the idea on our Suggestions Page at WatchMojo.comsuggest.
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These are some of the most famous superstitious beliefs in sports. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 sports curses.

#10 – The Socceroos’ Witch Doctor Curse


To ensure they won against Rhodesia in the 1970 Mexico World Cup qualifiers, the Australian national association football team hired a witch doctor to hex the competition. The Socceroos won the game but were hexed themselves when they couldn’t pay the fee: not only did the Aussie team fail to qualify that year; they also failed to qualify for every World Cup between 1975-2005.

#9 – The Curse of Marty McSorley


During 1993’s Stanley Cup finals, L.A. King Marty McSorley was sent to the penalty box for an illegally curved stick, which helped the Montreal Canadiens win the game and eventually that year’s Stanley Cup. However, some believe Habs coach Jacques Demers had the Kings’ sticks secretly checked out, which would’ve been pretty unsportsmanlike. True or not, Montreal hasn’t won a Cup since – and neither has any other Canadian team.

#8 – The Madden Curse


Electronic Arts had a hit on their hands with Madden NFL – in fact, it’s their best-selling sports video game series. But in 1999, the company dropped Madden from the cover of the game in favor of a current star from the league. Ever since, people have been associating the setbacks, injuries and other bad luck the cover boys experienced with their appearance on the game.

#7 – The Curse of Coogan’s Bluff


From 1885-1957, the NY Giants played at Manhattan’s Polo Grounds. So when the team moved to San Francisco in 1958, they left many disappointed baseball fans in their wake. Instead of wishing them well, fans hoped the team’d never win a World Series outside of New York. That curse stuck until 2010 when the Giants won in Arlington – may not be NYC but it’s still a World Series title.

#6 – The Curse of the Colonel


Nobody does chicken like KFC and nobody can put a curse on you quite like Colonel Sanders. While celebrating the Hanshin Tigers’ 1985 win of the Japan Championship series, fans of the baseball team allegedly dumped a statue of the KFC founder into the river. The Tigers then placed last in the league ten times between that fateful year and 2003!

#5 – The Curse of Bobby Layne


Though he led the Lions to three NFL Championships, Bobby Layne was traded by Detroit to the Pittsburgh Steelers after eight years. Layne’s parting gift was the proclamation that his former team wouldn’t win another championship for half a century. Whether you believe in the curse or not, the Lions’ last Championship title dates back to 1957 and they’ve never even qualified for the Super Bowl!

#4 – The Curse of Billy Penn


This curse didn’t affect just one Philadelphia team, but all of the city’s pro clubs between 1987-2008. Story goes that the curse began when a statue of Pennsylvania founder William Penn was eclipsed by the One Liberty Place skyscraper. It was only broken in 2007 when another statue of Penn was included in the building ceremony for the even taller Comcast Center – lo-and-behold, the Phillies won the World Series the next year.

#3 – The Sports Illustrated Cover Jinx


There’s been so much so-called evidence of the bad luck that follows those who’ve graced Sports Illustrated’s cover that some athletes have second-guessed their decisions to do it. Examples range from teams breaking their winning streaks to fatal crashes to career-ending games or even major injuries. By contrast, Michael Jordan’s 49 cover appearances have done little to ruin his reputation as one of the most successful basketball players ever.

#2 – The Curse of the Billy Goat


With their last World Series win dating back to 1908, the Chicago Cubs boast the longest title drought of any North American pro sports team. People looking for someone to blame point to Billy Sianis and his smelly pet goat: the day they were ejected of a 1945 World Series game, the owner of the Billy Goat Tavern proclaimed the Cubs would never win again – so far, he was right.

#1 – The Curse of the Bambino


By selling Babe Ruth to the Yankees, the Red Sox may have also sold their chances of winning the World Series. At least, that’s what fans wanted to believe was the reason behind the Boston team’s 86-year losing streak that began in 1918. Meanwhile, the Yankees won four titles and seven pennants with the Bambino in tow. The Red Sox finally found relief with their 2004 World Series win.

Do you agree with our list? Which sports-related curse do you think is interesting? Be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com for more entertaining top 10s.
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