Sports Illustrated Ruined K-State’s Football Season


Collin Klein was forced to look on as Johnny ‘Football’ Manziel
lifted the Heisman trophy last weekend. Was it the Sports Illustrated Cover Jinx?

A quick programming note: over at Jug of Snyder, we love Sports Illustrated. With a weekly readership of 23 million fans, the magazine has been the premier sports magazine for over 50 years. Their website also gives The Jug a special section of their K-State page. However, K-State seems destined to finish 2012 with one of the best season’s in school history. It’s Sports Illustrated’s fault that 2012 wasn’t the single greatest year EMAW nation has ever witnessed.

SI published their first edition on August 16, 1954. The cover featured third baseman Eddie Matthews of the Milwaukee Braves, who was enjoying a breakout year. Following the release of this publication, the Braves saw a nine-game winning streak come to a halt and Matthews would go on to break his hand that season. The SI cover jinx was born.

Some may discount the SI cover jinx as silliness or confirmation bias. These people are 110 percent incorrect. The May 8, 1989 edition featured Jon Peters, a pitcher for Brenham High School in Texas who set the national high school record for games won by a pitcher. Before the cover premiered, Peters was enjoying a 51-0 record. Peters’ only loss of his high school career came the next game after the cover. In April 2010, the “Core Four” of the New York Yankees (Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte and Jorge Posada) were featured on the cover. Within one week, Rivera, Pettite, and Posada were on the DL. Although Jeter was spared injury, he suffered the worst offensive season of his career. These things don’t just happen, they’re manufactured in the dark room of SI’s publishing facilities.

The jinx is not limited to baseball players. Just this year, Denard Robinson was a major victim of the curse. Following a feature in the August 20, 2012 edition, Michigan went down to Jerry World for a neutral site meeting with Alabama. The Wolverines where humiliated 41-14, which would have been worse if the Tide’s back ups hadn’t entered in the third quarter. Robinson completed less than 50 percent of his throws with a 1:2 touchdown:interception ratio while being held to 33 yards rushing on 13 carries, and is no longer Michigan’s starting quarterback.

Sports Illustrated attempted to dispel the notion of the jinx in 2002 with a cover mocking the notion that the jinx is real. Why a black cat? Because black cats are historically recognized as harbingers of bad luck. Why just a black cat? Because Kurt Warner was asked to pose with the animal, but refused, knowing full well the travesties that would befall a man willing to mock the gods of sport in such a manner. So that cat was forced to go it alone. In fact, not even SI’s staff were brave enough for such a shoot – the first feline auditioned for the cover was entirely black, which the magazine’s photo editor stated “made me a little nervous.” The animal was swapped out for a mostly black cat with an (unseen) white patch on its chest. They just happened to choose a non-black cat for the cover? Don’t tell me there’s not a conspiracy within the ranks of SI’s upper management.

What does all of this have to do with K-State’s season? For those of you living under large rocks, Collin Klein was featured on the November 13 cover of Sports Illustrated this year. The headline proclaimed to inform its readers about “The Best Player On The Nation’s Best Team.” Seriously uncool, SI, seriously uncool. The juxtaposition of such a tag alongside the photo begged whatever supernatural force that enforces the SI cover jinx to immediately upend K-State’s season. The Wildcats would go on to lose an awful game to Baylor that weekend, 42-24. Klein would turn in a subpar performance and go from absolute Heisman frontrunner to Heisman afterthought.

How do we know it’s the curse’s fault? Seriously, K-State lost to Baylor. How does a team that blew out West Virginia in Morgantown, waltzed out of Norman with a victory, and destroyed Texas while going undefeated in every other game it played this year lose to a Baylor team that went 4-5 in the Big 12? There’s only one possible explanation: the curse. How’s a player that had no serious competition for the Heisman trophy throw three interceptions after only throwing three picks in his first ten games combined? Against the worst defense in the Big 12!? While only averaging 2.3 yards/carry?!! The curse.

The evidence is obviously there. Baylor had the single worst defense in the conference. It grounded K-State. Collin Klein is the best player in the nation. He looked pedestrian against an awful defense. Baylor did things that Baylor is not capable of doing. The game against Texas proved that Baylor was one of the biggest fluke’s of all time. Except it wasn’t a fluke – it was a curse. If K-State loses to Oregon on January 3, it won’t be due to coaching, player talent, or injuries. It will be because Senior Photo Producer David Kaye has some inexplicable beef with Collin Klein and K-State, and made a real butthole of a decision by jinxing the best player on the nation’s best team. I hope Kaye gets coal for Christmas.