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The Cleveland Sports Curse is a supernatural phenomenon that is believed to be behind the prolonged trophy drought that has afflicted professional sports franchises from the city of Cleveland. The city has three major league teams; the Cleveland Cavaliers of the NBA, the Cleveland Indians of the MBL and the Cleveland Browns of the NFL.
The last time any of the three franchises won a major title in their respective league was 1964 when the Cleveland Browns won the NFL Championship. Since the formation of the Super Bowl two years later, the Browns have never made it to the big game. as for the Cavaliers, they have made just two NBA Finals in their history and were swept by the San Antonio Spurs and the Golden State Warriors respectively.
The Cleveland Sports Curse Team by Team
The Cleveland Browns
Since the Browns last won the Championship in 1964, they have experienced a series of futile years, being on the receiving end of many player injuries, questionable coaching decisions and draft busts. In 1981, the Browns were trailing the Oakland Raiders by two points in the AFC divisional playoff game with less than a minute left to play. They found themselves within field goal range but the ball was intercepted as they attempted to execute a play called by head coach Sam Rutiglian.
The famous play is now known as “Red Right 88.” in the 1987 playoffs, the Browns fell short of reaching their first super bowl, in one of the most memorable football games ever. In a game that became known as The Drive, the Braves gave away a 20-13 fourth quarter lead with Broncos quarterback John Elway leading a 98-yard drive in less than 5 minutes. In overtime, the Broncos won the game with a field goal. The Browns had a three year hiatus between 1995 and 1999 but they returned to their usual mediocre selves.by the beginning of the 2015 season, they had not won a single playoff game since returning to operation in 1999.
The Cleveland Cavaliers
The Cleveland have been one of the NBA’s least successful teams since they were formed in 1970. Between 1970 and 1986, the team only produced three winning seasons. During game five of the first round of the 1988/89 playoffs against the Chicago Bulls, a certain Michael Jordan would announce himself to the world. The Cavs took a 100-99 lead thanks to a shot by Craig Ehlo with 3 seconds left on the board.
However, Ehlo would allow Jordan to make a jump shot over him for what became known as ‘The Shot’, putting the Bulls back in front. The Cavaliers have made the NBA Finals, both times almost singlehandedly dragged by the scuffs by LeBron James. In 2007 they lost in four straight games to the San Antonio Spurs. They returned to the finals in 2015, the first season after James returned from his successful spell in Miami.
Again, James would singlehandedly lead the Cavs to the finals but they were beaten 4-2 by the Golden State Warriors with injuries having taken a huge toll on LeBron’s supporting cast.
The Cleveland Indians
The last time the Cleveland Indians won the World Series was in 1948. This dry spell as well as The Catch by Willie Mays during the 1954 World Series has led to tales of a curse specific to the Indians, the Curse of Chief Wahoo. Chief Wahoo is a controversial Native American caricature which appears on the Indians’ Caps. The Curse of Rocky Colavito has also been used to explain the Indians’ futility.
In 1954, the Indians won an astonishing 111 games during the regular season and were favorites to win the World Series but they were surprisingly swept in four straight games by the San Francisco Giants, who have also not won the World Series since. They made the World Series again in 1995 but they were beaten by the Atlanta Braves who won just the one championship in 14 straight playoff appearances.
They were back to the World Series in 1997 hoping to atone for their failure two years before. In game 7, they found themselves with a lead as the 9th inning drew to a close but the Marlins equalized and then went ahead in the 11th inning, making the sixth year franchise the first Wild Card team to win the World Series. In the 2007 ACLS, the Tribe found themselves 3-1 up against the Boston Red Sox but they were unable to secure the one win needed to win the series.
The Red Sox won three straight games to deny the Indians a World Series appearance. During this run the Indians did some questionable player trades most notably CC Sabathia, Cliff Lee and Manny Ramirez, all of whom went on to win the World Series during their first year with their new teams.