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The Curse of Honey Bears

July 27, 2018

The most famous “curse” in sports—the one that seemingly prevented the Chicago Cubs from winning a World Series in more than a century—has been lifted. Here are some other, lesser-known sports curses.

The Curse of the Honey Bears

Emboldened by the extreme popularity and success of the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders in the 1970s, many NFL teams introduced their own scantily-clad support squad. One of those teams was the Chicago Bears, with owner George “Papa Bear” Halas establishing the Honey Bears in 1977. Halas died in 1983, and his daughter, Virginia Halas McCaskey, inherited the team. She found the idea of a cheerleading squad embarrassing and sexist, and wanted to get rid of them…but the Honey Bears had a contract good through the 1985 season. During that season, the Bears happened to go 15-1 and won the Super Bowl (in a 46 to 10 blowout) for the first time in franchise history…as well as the last. The story goes that the aggressive loss of the Honey Bears left a curse on the Bears organization, which has only been back to the Super Bowl once, in 2006…where they got beat by the Indianapolis Colts.

The Curse of Joe Namath

Joe Namath was the most famous and popular athlete of his day, which would be the late 1960s. Both handsome and self-assured enough to model pantyhose on television (really), he also led the New York Jets to its first—and so far, only—Super Bowl title, let alone appearance—in 1969. That led some hardcore, long-suffering Jets fans to spread the absolutely bizarre urban legend behind why the team is “cursed” from ever winning another Super Bowl. These fans say that prior to Super Bowl III, Namath was so desperate for the underdog Jets to win that he made a pact with the devil—if the Jets win this time, they never have to win again. The Jets took the Super Bowl over the Baltimore Colts 16 to 7, and have since been to only four conference title games, losing all four times.

The Curse of St. Patrick

Word association game: When we say “professional hockey,” what country do you think of first? Canada, right? After all, it’s one of two official sports of our neighbor to the north, and it’s where the NHL and the drive for the Stanley Cup originated. Today, the NHL is comprised of 31 teams, including seven from Canada, and yet it’s been 25 years since a Canadian team won the Stanley Cup. That went down in 1993, when the Montreal Canadiens defeated the Los Angeles Kings four games to one. Canadiens goaltender Patrick Roy was named the MVP of the playoffs en route to helping his team win the Cup for a record twenty-fourth time…and currently not only its last, but the last for any team north of the border. Obviously, there’s a curse afoot. In 1995, more than two years after the Canadiens won the Cup, the team hired coach Mario Tremblay—who didn’t get along with Roy. (Back when both men were players, Tremblay made fun of Roy’s French-Canadian accent.) Early in Tremblay’s tenure, the Canadians suffered their biggest loss ever, an 11 to 1 loss to the Detroit Red Wings. Rather than pull Roy, who was clearly having a bad day, from the goal early in the game, Roy believes Tremblay kept him in to humiliate him. Roy was so mad, he asked to be traded, and four days later, he was sent to the Colorado Avalanche…who won the Stanley Cup at the end of the season. “The Curse of St. Patrick” is why the Cup has remained in America ever since.

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