HBO Hard Knocks Jinx Lives On
The Madden curse. The SI cover jinx. Anything at all to do with the Cubs. I’m adding to the sports jinx library. For your consideration: HBO’s Hard Knocks. It was just over a year ago when we wrote those words, and 2009 brought us yet another “Hard Knocks” jinx. But first, let’s recap.
2001: Baltimore Ravens. Fresh off a Super Bowl romp of the Giants, the Ravens were the first team to appear on the show. What happened: Jamal Lewis tears his ACL in training camp, ending his season and basically the quest for the repeat.
2002: Dallas Cowboys. It was supposed to be the rebirth of “America’s Team”. Dallas believed Quincy Carter was ready to breakout behind new OC Bruce Coslet, they drafted Roy Williams and signed La Roi Glover. What happened: Carter never developed and was benched for Chad Hutchinson, the Boys ended up with their second consecutive 5-11 season and Dave Campo was fired.
2007 Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs were coming off a solid 2006 season in which they went 9-7 and made the playoffs. Larry Johnson went nuts for almost 1,800 yards and scored 19 TDs. The Chiefs were looking to make their first back-to-back playoff appearance since 1995. What happened: Larry Johnson held out for more money. He eventually signed but was ineffective and then injured in week 9. They traded Trent Green and never had stable QB play. And they finished 4-12. Playoffs?!
2008 Dallas Cowboys. The HBO website said of the 2008 Boys: “It is the team with arguably the greatest collection of football talent in the NFL.” Many prognosticators chose Dallas to win the Super Bowl. They were playing their final season in Texas Stadium. What happened: What didn’t? Tony Romo injured his pinky and missed games. Pacman Jones got in more trouble. Terrell Owens had some sort of hissy fit. They were sitting at 8-4 at the end of November, only to dump 3 of their last 4, finish 9-7, and watch the playoff with the rest of us.
2009 Cincinnati Bengals. The Bengals shine in the HBO series. Carson Palmer is finally healthy. Chad Ochocinco is revitalized and hungry. The defense is rejuvenated by drafting linebacker Ray Maualuga. The division is weaker than it’s been in years and it’s ripe for the taking. What happened: The Bengals start out 7-2 and they are the talk of the NFL. But then the wheels fell off as they won only 3 more games, lost 3 of their last 4 and got soundly beat by the wild card Jets in the playoffs.
HBO Hard Knocks Jinx intact? Sure enough. Watch out Jets fans.