Sports players and fans alike are a superstitious bunch. As a result, every team that's gone a few years without a title is declared to be under some kind of "curse" or other, despite the fact that, you know, only one team can win it all each year.
But then, there are the other curses, the real ones, the ones that are kind of hard to dismiss. Scoff if you want, but consider...
Once upon a time, the San Francisco Giants baseball team played in New York, at the Polo Grounds ballpark in Harlem, underneath a cliff face known as Coogan's Bluff. As one of three baseball teams playing in New York at the time, the Giants decided in 1957 to abandon their crumbling stadium and move to a less stifling (but more fabulous!) city, San Francisco.
The move was very sudden and incensed long time fans in New York who took it as a sign of outright betrayal, forcing them to make an impossible choice: continue rooting for their team that was now 3,000 miles away, or become Mets fans. As any rational person would do when faced with such a dilemma, Giants fans in New York placed a hex on the team they once loved, dictating that the Giants would never win a World Series again as long as they were based somewhere other than New York City.
When the Giants played at Coogan's Bluff, they were in the World Series 17 times in 65 years, even making it to the big game four times in a row during the early 20s. Their win in 1954 added a fifth title to their belts, just three years before deciding to move cities.
That would also be the very last time the Giants won the championship.
To put it in perspective, the last time the Giants touched the Commissioner's Trophy was the very first time a sporting event was broadcast in color. Or, for the geeks out there, when Lord of the Rings was first published. In the 51 years since the pox was placed on the Giants, the team has only managed a pitiful three championship appearances, losing in each one, despite acquiring such historical weapons as Willie Mays and later, the lethal duo of Barry Bonds and illegal steroids.
Still Not Convinced?
Here's where it gets weird.
Two of the Giants' three appearances in the World Series since moving (1962 and 1989) were delayed by freak acts of nature's wrath. Heavy, monsoon-like rains delayed the 1962 championship and a massive earthquake during the 1989 World Series destroyed some of San Francisco, including damaging the Giants' home field. From this, we can scientifically deduce that instead of a robe, God wears an "I Heart N.Y." T-Shirt.
Bobby Layne was a Hall of Fame NFL quarterback who played for the Detroit Lions from 1950 to 1958. He's often credited with single-handedly leading the team to three league championships in his eight-year tenure with the team, including two back to back.
Despite this, in 1958 and fresh off their third NFL championship, the Lions traded Bobby to Pittsburgh, thinking he was past his prime. Bobby took the news of this perceived betrayal incredibly hard, and as he boarded the bus bound for Pittsburgh, publicly stated that Detroit "would not win for 50 years."
Bobbly Layne, Voodoo master.
Quite simply, the Lions of the last 50 years possess the worst winning percentage the NFL has ever seen, boasting only 16 winning seasons (most of which can be barely considered as such) out of the last 50. Your stoner buddy currently sleeping on your sofa can claim more successes than the Lions franchise at this point.
Three out of the four championships Detroit ever won were helmed by Bobby Layne and the year they traded him away was the last year they would ever play in a championship. In fact, since 1958, the Lions have only ever won one playoff game, way back in 1991.
Still Not Convinced?
If you've done the math, you know that Bobby's curse ran out after last year. In the curse's 50th and final year, the hex hit its macabre crescendo when the Lions managed to lose every single regular season game to finish 0-16, the first team in NFL history to ever do so.
We don't care how much you claim to not believe in curses, if the Lions win the Super Bowl next year, it's probably time to get superstitious.
During game two of the 1993 Stanley Cup Finals, the Los Angeles Kings held a 1-goal advantage over the Montreal Canadiens in the final minutes of the game which if left intact would give the Kings a two game lead in the series.
However, as the game was winding down, Montreal coach Jaques Demers suddenly became suspicious about the way Marty McSorley's stick looked. He had the referees get together and inspect the blade and they determined that it was more curved than what the rules would permit, allowing him to do things with the puck that no man should do.
McSorley was penalized for playing with illegal equipment and sent to the box for two minutes. Montreal capitalized on the one-man advantage, and Eric Desjarins scored a goal against the Kings to tie the game and force an overtime period. During this period, Desjardins scored again and won the game for the Canadiens. They then went on to win the next three games and the Stanley Cup, all because of Marty getting greedy on the stick-bend.
Since the Canadiens won that Stanely Cup, no other Canadian team in the NHL has won the championship. Four Canadian teams have reached the Stanley Cup Finals, only to lose every time against their American opponent.
Why would the sports curse gods punish all Canadian teams, just because the offending team was called "the Canadiens"? And why would the curse affect the guys who didn't cheat? Well, who said curses had to be fair? Or, you know, not retarded?
Not this guy, that's for sure.
As for the Canadiens, they have only managed to win four playoff games since 1993 despite winning 16 postseason games in the 10 seasons before the fateful curved stick incident. In fact, their current 15-year championship drought is the longest they've had in their 90-year history.
Still Not Convinced?
In 1995, a Canadian team, the Quebec Nordiques, pulled up roots and moved to the mountains of Denver to become the Colorado Avalanche. As soon as they left Canada and became an American team, the Avalanche won the Stanley Cup in 1996, and then again in 2001, not only proving the existence of a pox on all Canadian hockey teams, but also proving that even curses have loopholes.