SI’s Miss. Mayhem: Should we be worried???
Ole Miss and Mississippi State football share the Sports Illustrated cover this week, and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve
heard a Rebel or a Bulldog say, “Oh s—, we’re screwed.”
They say that because of the so-called SI jinx.
Those who believe in the jinx believe that appearing on the SI cover brings bad luck.
Here recently Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota appeared on the magazine’s cover. Five days later, he was sacked seven times by Washington State. Twelve days later, Oregon got beat.
Back in August, Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller and Little League pitching sensation Mo’ne Davis appeared on back-to-back SI covers. Miller quickly injured his shoulder and was lost for the season. In her next game, Davis was shelled and then her team was eliminated from the World Series.
The jinx dates back to 1954 when Eddie Mathews, the great Milwaukee Braves third baseman, became the first person to appear on the cover of SI. The Braves lost their next game, ending a nine-game winning streak and Mathews broke his hand.
Probably the most convincing case of the SI jinx happened in 1957. Bud Wilkinson’s Oklahoma Sooners had won 47 consecutive games and there they were on the cover with the headline: “Why Oklahoma is unbeatable.” So, guess what? Yep, they got beat. That week.
Millions blamed it on the jinx. Me? I believe Notre Dame, which was the team that ended the streak, had a little something to do with it.
Prior to the 1974 Sugar Bowl, Bear Bryant appeared on the cover with a headline proclaiming his Alabama Crimson Tide as: No. 1. But then Notre Dame beat them 24-23. Sports Illustrated jinx? Or luck of the Irish?
Archie Manning graced the cover of SI prior to the 1970 season, his senior year at Ole Miss. Later that year, his arm was broken.
Some blamed the jinx. I blame coincidence and maybe the Houston Cougars.
And I am guessing that for every time failure or injury has followed an SI cover, success has occurred just as often, perhaps more.
After all, Michael Jordan appeared on the cover 49 times. Didn’t seem to bother him, except for the time he was in a baseball uniform. Even then, people blamed the SI jinx instead of curve balls and sliders, which Jordan, as most folks, could not hit.