Actual HOT SPROTS TAKE: Curses aren’t real, your team just stinks

FOLKS,, the Cubs ended more than a century of heartbreak last night in one of the Top-3 Game 7s baseball has seen in my lifetime.

Since then you’ve likely seen, read, or heard people spouting off about how it’s the end of the Billy Goat Curse.

I’m here to tell you that sports curses aren’t real, and there’s a very simple reason for why those teams that claim to be “cursed” are in fact, not.

Chances are that if you are a fan of a team that is cursed, they just flat out stink.

Here was a question I posed to Cubs’ fans this morning after they had won it all: How many times in your life can you honestly say they were the best team in the league?

Most answers from people around age 30 or so answered with one, or at most two. In 30 years fans thought their team was the absolute best in the league before the playoffs started once. Usually if you’re not among the best in the league, you aren’t going to win, it’s that simple.

The Cubs, prior to this year, had won their division just five times since their last World Series appearance in 1945. Put it this way, they weren’t called “lovable losers” because they were good. They stunk. That’s not a curse, that’s just them being a lousy team for seven decades.

Another example I’ll use is a team I root dearly for, the Detroit Lions. They claimed to have had the Curse of Bobby Layne, where Layne claimed upon being traded that the Lions wouldn’t win for 50 years. Well it’s close to 60 years now and they still aren’t winning.

It’s not a curse, the Lions stink. I’m 28, in my lifetime I am more than confident in saying the Lions have NEVER been the best team in the NFL and there might be one instance where I’d count them among the four best teams in the NFC.

In my lifetime the Lions have played eight playoff games, just two at home, and lost seven of them.

Why?

Because they stink. Not because they’re cursed. They draft terribly, fail to surround two generational talents with any sort of help and have never had any depth.

You want to know what the Curse of Bobby Layne really is? The beginning of 60 years of terrible management. The Lions traded Layne the year after winning their last title in 1957-58 thinking he was washed up. Layne made two more Pro Bowls in five seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Lions have never made it back to a title game.

Until Matthew Stafford came along, Layne held almost every Lions career passing record. And the Lions traded him. He was a 1950s version of Brett Favre if you will, and the Lions traded him. That’s not a curse, that’s just stupidity.

This may sound hard to believe, but Matt Millen was not the GM for the Lions in the 50s.

The same goes for the Cleveland Browns, aside from a stretch in the 80s, they have been awful since the 1950s, and it’s the same reason as the Lions. For most of the time they’ve existed, they’ve been run by incompetent boobs who don’t care about winning because there’s a fat check coming no matter what.

In hockey, look at the Red Wings and Blackhawks as examples of two teams who stunk for years before becoming the model franchises in the NHL. The Red Wings were so bad through the 70s and 80s they were referred to as the Dead Wings. This may surprise the Red Wings fans reading this, but there was a time where if the Red Wings made the playoffs it was a big deal, not a shrug and then only caring if they made the Finals.

Chicago was the same way. Until 2008 its home games weren’t on TV because the owner was a penny-pincher who thought putting the games on TV meant fans wouldn’t come. I swear this is true.

There was no Curse of the Octopus or Curse of the Indian Nickname. They were just terribly run for a long time.

So what changed? They got smart people with proven track records of success to run the teams and voila, the Red Wings have made too playoffs in a row to count and won four Stanley Cups in that time. The Blackhawks drafted well, copied the Detroit model and have three Cups in six years. The Cubs did the same thing in hiring Theo Epstein and look what happened.

So the next time someone tries to tell you their team or city is cursed, the more likely reason is they are probably just plain terrible. Which makes me want to curse at them for being so bad.

 

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