Sports fans have a love-hate relationship with the so-called curses of sports. There are curse mythologies out there to explain everything from why teams don't win championships to why players suffer inexplicable injuries.
Here are the 10 top curses in sports:
10. The Curse of Barry Bonds (Pittsburgh Pirates, 1993-current)
Major League Baseball's Pittsburgh Pirates haven't enjoyed a winning season since 1992, a string of 21 consecutive years during which the team finished with more losses than wins. It is the longest such streak of futility in the history of North American team sports. It got its name because all-time home-run leader Barry Bonds was a member of the last Pirates team to finish with a winning record in 1992 before departing as a free agent after the season. Since Bonds left, the Pirates are 1,374-1,796, a winning percentage of .433. Their best record since Bonds left Pittsburgh was 79-83, achieved by both the 1997 and 2012 editions of the Pirates.
9. The San Diego Sports Curse (San Diego Chargers 1964-current, San Diego Padres 1969-current, San Diego Rockets 1968-71, San Diego Conquistadors/Sails 1973-76, San Diego Mariners 1975-77, San Diego Clippers 1979-84)
While cities such as Buffalo and Cleveland get more attention for their sports futility, it is actually San Diego that has gone the longest without a major professional championship. Since the San Diego Chargers captured their lone American Football League championship in 1963, the city has had nothing to celebrate in terms of titles. Besides the current streaks of the Chargers and baseball's San Diego Padres, the team has actually had three basketball franchises and a hockey team that didn't survive. The NBA's San Diego Rockets left for Houston in 1971, where they've won two championships. The San Diego Sails folded early in the American Basketball Association's final season in 1975-76, and the San Diego Mariners folded after the 1976-77 World Hockey Association campaign. Finally, the NBA tried once more to succeed in San Diego, but the Clippers left for Los Angeles following the 1983-84 season.
8. The Curse of 1940 (New York Rangers, 1940-1994)
Also known as "Dutton's Curse," this curse was used to explain the 54-year drought between Stanley Cup championships experienced by the New York Rangers in the National Hockey League. Red Dutton was the coach and general manager of the New York Americans, which was actually the city's first NHL team. The Americans began play in 1925-26 with the Rangers following in 1926-27. With the U.S. and Canada embroiled in World War II, Dutton announced the Americans would suspend operations after the 1941-42 season and return when the war ended. However, Dutton was named president of the NHL in 1943 and resigned in 1946 to revive the Americans. But the league didn't allow the franchise to resume play, and Dutton declared the Rangers would not win the Cup for as long as he lived. Dutton died in 1987 at the age of 88, and it took seven more years for the Rangers to finally shake the curse.
7. The Par-3 Curse (Masters golf tournament, 1960-current)
In 1960, Augusta National began holding a par-3 contest the day before the opening round of the Masters. No winner of the par-3 event has ever gone on to win the Masters, the first of professional golf's major tournaments each year, in the same year.
6. Cleveland Sports Curse (Cleveland Indians 1949-current, Cleveland Browns 1965-current, Cleveland Cavaliers 1970-current, Cleveland Crusaders 1973-76, Cleveland Barons 1976-78)
The city of Cleveland has endured some heartbreaking losses since the Cleveland Browns won their last National Football League title in 1964. There was "The Drive" engineered by Denver Broncos quarterback John Elway in the 1986 AFC championship that kept the Browns from their first Super Bowl berth. There was "The Fumble" the following year in Denver when Earnest Byner dropped the ball on his way to the end zone in the 1987 AFC championship. Then the Browns left the city after the 1995 season for Baltimore. They returned as an expansion team in 1999 but have had just two winning seasons since returning. The Indians couldn't hold a ninth-inning lead in Game 7 of the 1997 World Series and lost to the upstart Florida Marlins. The Cavaliers made their first appearance in the NBA Finals in 2007 but were swept by the San Antonio Spurs. Three years later, the city's one-time favorite son, LeBron James, made a controversial decision to sign with the Miami Heat as a free agent.
5. Buffalo Sports Curse (Buffalo Bills 1966-current, Buffalo Sabres 1970-current, Buffalo Braves 1970-78)
This curse that supposedly affects teams from Buffalo has its own website, buffalocurse.com. Since the Bills won back-to-back AFL titles in 1964-65, the city's championship total is zero. Most famously, the Bills lost four consecutive Super Bowls following the 1990-93 seasons. The first was an agonizing defeat at the hands of the New York Giants in Super Bowl XXV when Scott Norwood's game-winning 47-yard field goal was wide to the right. Then there was a one-sided loss to the Washington Redskins and two straight beatings delivered by the Dallas Cowboys. The Buffalo Sabres have reached the Stanley Cup Finals twice but lost in both 1975 and 1999. And the Buffalo Braves were an expansion NBA franchise that played eight seasons in Buffalo before leaving for sunny San Diego.
4. Curse of Bobby Layne (Detroit Lions, 1958-current)
The curse of Bobby Layne has been shown to likely be a myth. Don't tell that to a fan of the NFL's Detroit Lions, starved for a title since the franchise's last one in 1957. Two games into the 1958 season, the Lions traded quarterback Bobby Layne to the Pittsburgh Steelers, and he reportedly muttered on his way out of town, "The Lions won't win for the next 50 years." Myth or not, it's 54 years and counting.
3. Curse of the Cardinals (Chicago-St. Louis-Phoenix-Arizona Cardinals, 1948-current)
The NFL's Cardinals, playing in Chicago, St. Louis and Phoenix, have won four postseason games since 1947. The curse of the Cardinals supposedly has its roots in Pottsville, Pa., one-time home of the Pottsville Maroons. Supporters of the Maroons have long believed their team was robbed of the NFL championship in 1925 and are just as convinced that the Bidwell family, owners of the Cardinals, has been conspiring since the 1960s to deny Pottsville's claim to the title. Either way, the Cardinals have won just one title since 1925 and none since 1947.
2. Curse of the Billy Goat (Chicago Cubs, 1945-current)
The Cubs haven't won a World Series title since 1908, but the curse of the Billy Goat dates to 1945 after Chicago bar owner Billy Sianis hexed the franchise after he and his pet goat were ejected from a game during the 1945 World Series. In any event, it's worth noting that Wrigley Field -- one of the oldest parks in baseball -- hadn't even been built the last time the Cubs won a World Series.
1. Curse of the Bambino (Boston Red Sox, 1920-2004)
Part of the lore of Babe Ruth is his central role in the so-called "Curse of the Bambino," which supposedly prevented the Boston Red Sox from winning a World Series for more than eight decades. The Red Sox had purchased Ruth from the Triple-A Baltimore Orioles in 1914 but sold him to the New York Yankees after the 1919 season for $125,000 and a $300,000 loan that allowed Red Sox owner Harry Frazee to invest in a Broadway play. Boston won its last World Series in 1918 and didn't break the curse until 2004.
Phil Watson was a writer and editor for several daily newspapers in the U.S. for more than 20 years and is a longtime New York Yankee fan.