As many sports fans know, athletes, and simply sports itself, are superstitious. Don't step on the base line while going back to the dugout. Always keep your same number, even when traded, hold a candle while your team is in the playoffs (trust me it worked for the '04 Red Sox and the Patriots Super Bowl titles).
Fans already know about the big one, the Madden Cover Jinx, but another curse is older and just as big as the Madden Curse. The Sports Illustrated Cover Jinx.
The legend states that if an athlete or team appears on a cover of Sports Illustrated then they will have a bad outing or be cursed. The first instance of the Cover Jinx was in 1954 when the Braves Eddie Mathews became the first person to ever appear on an SI cover. Shortly after, the Braves snapped their nine game win streak and Mathews breaks his hand.
A common explanation for this curse is that whenever athletes or teams appear on a cover it is after a great achievement or performance. Future performances are likely to display the regression towards the mean and make the performance seem less than it really was.
Many athletes have appeared on the cover and didn't affect them one bit. Michael Jordan, for example, was on the cover a record 49 times and he still went on to win six NBA Finals. Emmitt Smith appeared on the cover, although he initially refused, before Super Bowl XXVIII. Dallas still won the Super Bowl.
However, the curse has reared its ugly head many times. In 1955, skiier Jill Kinmont almost died in a crash the same week she appeared on the cover. She became paralyzed from the waist down.
Indianapolis 500 winner Bob Sweikert dies three weeks after appearing on the cover in a sprint car crash in 1955. Driver Pat O'Connor dies four days after appearing on the cover in the Indianapolis 500. Figure skater Laurence Owen appeared on the cover after SI named her "America's Most Exciting Girl Skater". Two days later, she was on the plane that crashed and killed the United States Figure Skating team as they were en route to Prague.
Streaks have been broken too by SI's curse. An Oklahoma Sooner appeared on the cover with the headline "Why Oklahoma Is Unbeatable", the next game Oklahoma loses for the first time in 47 games to Notre Dame.
Texas high school pitcher Jon Peters was on the cover after he set the national high school record for wins. He was 51-0. Next game, he loses for the first and only time in his high school career.
The Texas Longhorns' Earl Campbell appeared on the cover after his Longhorns started the season 11-0. They would lose their next game, the Cotton Bowl, to Notre Dame.
The Kansas City Chiefs started of 9-0 in 2003 and was "rewarded" with a magazine cover. However, the Chiefs would go 4-3 to finish the season, lose home field to the Patriots, and lose the divisional playoff game to the Colts.
The Cover Jinx struck just over a week ago, oddly enough on Halloween, when Texas Rangers catcher Yorvit Torrealba appeared on the cover after the Rangers win Game 5 of the World Series. We all know how this story ends, the Rangers lose the Series in heartbreaking fashion.
Does the jinx exist? Only if you believe it does. It's easy to think that there's a curse, but look at all the other covers and nothing happened to all these people. It however there have been a lot of people and teams affected by this. So basically the curse is just what you make of it. That being said I still don't want my favorite player or team on the cover.