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Top 5 curses in sports and how fans tried to break them

Top 5 curses in sports and how fans tried to break them
FILE PHOTO; Left to right: Detroit Lions’ Tobin Rote, Bobby Layne and head coach George Wilson. (Credit: © Detroit Free Press)

CHICAGO (BVM) – Sports fans can be highly superstitious and can believe in curses casted upon their favorite sports team. Others, however, believe that curses are no more than a mere coincidence. 

The following is a list of the top five curses in sports history. This is based on some of the longest-lasting and most well-known stories. This also takes into account the unique ways in which fans have tried to break the curse.

5. “Gypsy curse on Birmingham City F.C.”  

How the curse started: In 1906, Birmingham City F.C. moved to what’s still its current location, St. Andrew’s. According to Birmingham Live, legend has it that a curse was placed on the stadium and the club for 100 years, since the Romanian gypsies were angry about being pushed out of the area. 

Documented attempt to break the curse: According to an interview with Four Four Two (via The Guardian), former manager Berry Fry urinated on all four corners because they were “desperate” to break the curse. 

How the curse ended: In 2016, a priest sprinkled holy water on the newlycovered seats – 100 years since the curse began. Birmingham City F.C. even acknowledged the lift of the curse as the team started to find better luck (acquired by Birmingham Live).

4. Mayo football’s “Curse of ‘51”

How the curse started: The Mayo football team (Ireland) won the Gaelic Football Championship in 1951. Legend has it that the team’s truck passed by a funeral on the way home, but didn’t stop to pay respects. So, the priest put a curse on the team: Mayo would not win another title until everyone on the 1951 roster died. According to a member of that championship team, he wasn’t sure if the gathering was a funeral or not.

Documented attempt to break the curse: Thankfully, there are no attempts to break this curse. Fans patiently waited for all the members to pass, and in 2021, the last member of the team died

How the curse ended: It’s been about a year since the expiration of the 70-year-old curse. The team has yet to win another championship.

3. “Bobby Layne curse”  

How the curse started: In 1958, the Detroit Lions traded away Hall of Fame QB Bobby Layne to the Pittsburgh Steelers. According to the Detroit Free Press, legend has it that Layne said the Lions would not win a championship for another 50 years.

Documented attempt to break the curse: Peyton Manning, with the help of Keegan Michael-Key and Jeff Daniels, tried to break the “spell” with a bathtub of whiskey.

How the curse ended: Many believed that the drafting of QB Matthew Stafford proved that the curse was over, since he was drafted the year after the curse expired. But many Lions fans still believe in the effects of the curse –  64 years since Layne’s trade – as the team’s fate has turned out to be so much worse than Layne’s initial jinx.

2. “Curse of the Bambino” 

How the curse started: In 1919, the Boston Red Sox traded Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees. According to MLB.com, legend has it that trading the player – who was a big part of three World Series championships with the Red Sox – created the curse. 

Documented attempt to break the curse: Aside from absurd talks about exhuming the body of Babe Ruth, according to Boston Magazine, someone placed a team cap at the top of the world’s highest mountain, Mount Everest. Fans also put a search party together to uncover the piano that Ruth apparently pushed into the lake. 

How the curse ended: At a 2004 Red Sox game, a teen was struck in the face with a ball. According to History.com, that teen actually lived in a house once owned by Ruth. Later that year, the Red Sox won the World Series – 85 years after the Babe Ruth trade.

1. “Curse of the Billy Goat”

How the curse started: According to MLB.com, legend says a Chicago Cubs fan in 1945 attempted to enter a game but was refused because he wanted to enter with his pet goat. The angered fan, whose name was Billy Sianis, supposedly said, “Them Cubs, they ain’t gonna win no more.” 

Documented attempt to break the curse: There’s a video of a group of men consuming every part of a 40-pound goat to break the curse. Also, according to The Washington Post, Sianis’s nephew led a new goat through Wrigley Field. 

How the curse ended: The supposed curse was broken when the Cubs won the 2016 World Series – 71 years after the goat incident.