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Sports curses & the Cowboys’ drought: Are more than one at play?

There are a handful of legendary curses in the of sports. Some teams remain afflicted (Chicago Cubs) while others have managed to break free of them (Boston Red Sox).

But are the currently afflicted with a curse?

Is there more than one?

Could be, especially seeing that they've played 27 seasons without winning a or an Championship game.

First, let's take a look at some of the more notable curses. We'll even examine one in progress you probably aren't even aware of.

Then we'll see if we can find a curse lurking about in Arlington.

The Billy Goat Curse

The Chicago Cubs have struggled against their curse since the 1945 World Series.

Billy Sianis, a huge Cubs fan who owned the Billy Goat Tavern in Chicago at the time, arrived at a game with his pet goat.

He always brought the goat with him to Wrigley Field.

Sports curses: Are the Cowboys fighting more than one? 1

Only this time, his goat was asked to leave and when Sianis refused they were both shown the exit.

Sianis would send a telegram to the Cubs stating they'd never win the World Series.

Here we are 78 seasons later and no for the Cubs.

The lesson here? Never disrespect a man's goat.

The Curse Of The Bambino

This one is more commonly known.

In 1919 the Boston Red Sox traded Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees. It took them 86 years — and many heartbreaks in the Fall Classic — to break it and finally win a World Series.

The Bobby Layne Curse

In 1958, the sent their star player, Bobby Layne, to the .

After having led Detroit to three championships, you might imagine that he was not pleased.

Sports curses: Are the Cowboys fighting more than one?
Bobby Layne

Allegedly, he was said to have claimed that the Lions would not win another title for 50 years. Most Lions' fans deny the story as a hoax.

But the Lions haven't won a championship since, and we're talking 65 years now.

And the Steelers? They won their fifth Super Bowl at Ford Field in Detroit.

The Curse Of The Stolen Cup

Here's one not many know, and many in Canada — like Lions' fans — refuse to acknowledge.

Back in 1993, the Montreal Canadiens were down 1-0 in the Stanley Cup Finals to the up-and-coming Los Angeles Kings.

They sent a staffer to break into the Kings' locker room.

Allegedly, the staffer checked out the Kings' equipment and found an illegal stick but swears he did not alter any equipment.

Sports curses: Are the Cowboys fighting more than one? 5
Officials prepare to measure Marty McSorely's stick during Game 2 of the 1993 NHL Stanley Cup in Montreal.

Having identified the stick, the Canadiens waited until they were down 2-1 late in the second game to use the info.

Getting a called, they tied the game on the power play and won it in overtime.

The call turned the series around and Montreal went on to win the Cup. No team from Canada has won the Cup since.

Teams from Canada are 0-6 in the Finals since 1993.

A suggestion has been made to end the curse. Erase the names of the Canadiens and replace them with the names of the Kings to atone for the shenanigans. So far, my Canadian friends have refused.

They'll have to wait at least one more year to end the curse.

Good luck with that.

The Cowboys Curse(s)

Which brings us to the curse, or curses, that have plagued the Cowboys since January of 1996.

Like it or not, its been 27 seasons of football played without Dallas making it to the Super Bowl.

Sports curses: Are the Cowboys fighting more than one? 3

Since then, 23 of the other 31 teams have played in the championship game. Add in that the Cowboys haven't even made it to an NFC title game since then.

Of the 16 NFC teams, only Dallas, Detroit and Washington have failed to play in the game since the 1995 season.

Four AFC teams also have failed to advance to their conference title game — Cleveland, Houston, L.A. Chargers, and Miami.

Clearly, the Cowboys find themselves in the lower quarter of the NFL in championships over the past quarter-century.

But how did they get there?

A few theories have been advanced.

One is that a worker laid a Redskins jersey on the ground at before the foundation was poured. But that was years into the Cowboys' drought.

I doubt anyone is going to rip up the place to get that jersey, if its even there.

Plus the move seems to have backfired as the Redskins no longer exist as the Washington moniker.

The Curse of 22

A reader here recently proffered “The Curse.”

Again, this one would have started a few years into the drought but has more legs than the previous theory.

Cardinals RB David Johnson Meets Idol Emmitt Smith for First Time

The Cowboys have lost six of their last seven games against the Cardinals. But that streak did not begin until 2008, four seasons after Smith retired from the NFL.

He was the only Triplett not to play his entire career in Dallas, playing the 2003 and 2004 seasons in Arizona.

But Dallas won the first three meetings against the Cardinals from 2003-2006.

The Cowboys are just 4-7 against Arizona since the Cardinals left the after the 2001 season. So it seems less likely this curse is what ails the team.

Then there is “The Stadium Curse,” but again does it have any merit?

The Cowboys didn't depart until after the 2008 season, a full 12 years into the drought.

If the Almighty were displeased he could no longer watch His team play through the iconic hole in the roof, He took His time showing it. So I think we can discount that one too.

No, it seems there's just one curse at play here.

It's the same one that has plagued teams like Washington, Detroit, Cleveland and Miami.

The Owners Curse.

How the Eagles Trade Affects the Cowboys Draft Strategy
Sep 13, 2020; Inglewood, California, USA; Dallas Cowboys owner looks on against the during the second half at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee- Sports

Suffice it to say that the Cowboys, like the other six NFL teams suffering a championship drought, are suffering from management woes.

There's only one way to break that kind of curse — pray for new ownership. The sooner, the better.

Richard Paolinelli
Richard Paolinelli
Richard has covered sports at all levels - from local, prep, college, and professional - since 1984. He has been a fan of the Dallas Cowboys since 1969. Since retiring as a full-time sports writer in 2013, he has written and published several novels, two dozen short stories and two sports non-fiction books.

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