Another Two Bite The Dust
Most sports fans have heard of the Madden curse. Each year, the makers of the John Madden football video game pick a player to don the cover. Usually the player had a great season the year prior and is among the most marketable in the sport. As it turns out though, the player picked has more times than not had a brutal year the season following their Madden cover appearance. The likes of Shaun Alexander, Brett Favre, Michael Vick, Marshall Faulk and most recently Peyton Hillis have all fallen victim to either off years or injuries. It has gotten to a point where players need to strongly consider whether or not they want to sponsor the game and appear on the cover. Sports Debaters has recently imitated the Madden video game, as our picks have been back firing and teams or players we have chosen to win keep failing. The New York Rangers, New Jersey Devils, Tiger Woods, Oklahoma City Thunder, Netherlands Soccer team and others have all been recent victims. Today, two more fell prey to the Sports Debater Jinx.
When we previewed the Euro Cup, our expert was very high on one of the 4 groups in particular, which was nicknamed “The Group of Death”. It featured Germany, Portugal and the before mentioned Netherlands, who we thought might win the entire tournament. Well, fast forward three weeks and the Netherlands lost all three of their games and didn’t make it past the group stage. Both Portugal and Germany made it to the semis as expected, but then we also picked the Germans to beat Italy and make a Finals run. Actually, we thought Italy would be eliminated to the English in the last round so we missed that one heading into today’s match. Mario Balotelli scored two goals for the Italians against the Germans in the first half, and even though the Germans had many opportunities to score and finally did late in stoppage time, they were never able to recover from their early deficit. The Germans came into the match carrying a world record 15 game winning streak against international competition. If they won number 16, it would have set up an awesome finals with Spain, who barely avoided the Sports Debater jinx yesterday against the Portuguese. Sunday’s final will now match the Italians against the Spanish, so wait to see who we pick in the upcoming days so you can throw money on the other team and probably clean up.
There was an even more shocking result on a different patch of European grass this afternoon, as the magnificent Rafael Nadal fell to a Czech named Lukas Rosol in the second round of Wimbledon. Who?!?!?! Just three nights ago, our tennis expert picked Nadal to cruise to the finals but eventually lose to Novak Djokovic. Instead, Nadal will exit the tournament in his quickest Grand Slam loss since 2005. He lost the match in 5 sets, as the score was 6-7 (9), 6-4, 6-4, 2-6, 6-4. Rosol was the 100th ranked player in the world and was playing in his first ever Wimbledon at the age of 26. Usually in tennis, if a player is going to make a name for himself, he’ll show signs of success prior to Rosol’s current age. If you couple Rosol’s inexperience and total obscurity with the fact that Nadal has played in both the past five Wimbledon finals and past five Grand Slam finals, this result was stunning to everybody who witnessed it. Rosol agreed as he said “I’m not just surprised; it’s like a miracle for me…I never expected something like this.” Well, obviously the experts at Sports Debaters didn’t either and now Novak Djokovic is anxiously hoping that unlike Nadal, he can avoid the jinx we have laid on so many in recent weeks.
With all that said, we are still confident that things will begin falling our way. In the past, we’ve successfully picked horse racing, hockey and basketball games, the NCAA basketball winner, boxing matches, etc. .. All successful teams slump from time to time, just ask the 1997 Yankees, who were the only team not to win the Series from 1996-2000. We still have more sport knowledge than the average Joe and we will absolutely not shy away from calling winners in the future. The beauty of sports is the unpredictability, the potential of an upset very time we tune into a game or contest. As for our picks, June was a tough month. So Jonathan Quick, LeBron James, Mario Balotelli, Lukas Rosol and the others who have benefitted as a result of us picking against them…you’re welcome! And for Tiger Woods, Martin Brodeur, Kevin Durant, Rafael Nadal and all the teams in the “Group of Death”…our bad!