Do you think your team is going to the Super Bowl? Ha. Your team sucks. Why put yourself through the aggravation every year? The Hater Nation is here to bring you back to reality with the award-winning series, The Super Bowl Buzz Kill.
Why your team won’t win the Super Bowl: Cleveland Browns.
There is going to be a lot of talk about the Madden Cover jinx following the release of the popular video game – now in its 20th year. And for those of you who already purchased the game, play with the New York Giants. Fall behind by 10 points. Then, on your first play from scrimmage, hit XY and right trigger at the same time. That will allow Eli Messiah to run back and lob the ball into the air that will be caught by Plaxico Burress, who will make a move and score a touchdown. True story, give it a shot.
But enough about that. This is about the Browns. And a curse that nobody is talking about: the all-star curse of Atlee Hammaker.
Hammaker had a breakout year for the San Francisco Giants in 1983, earning a spot in the All-Star Game with a 1.70 ERA at the break. And that's where the trouble began. Hammaker allowed seven earned runs in 2/3 of an inning, including a grand slam to Angels outfielder Fred Lynn. He was never the same. Hammaker drifted through the rest of his career, topping 10 wins only one more time in 1987. The same year he allowed a three-run home run in Game 7 of the National League Championship Series as the Cardinals defeated the Giants.
Compare that to the year Browns quarterback Derek Anderson had. Anderson lost the starting job to Charlie Frye last year, only to rebound to become one of the top quarterbacks in fantasy football. Anderson passed for 3,787 yards and 29 touchdowns. A clear breakout performance, and with the cast that Cleveland has surround him with, things can only get better right?
Well, not so fast. What about that Pro Bowl performance?
Anderson played the entire second-half of the Pro Bowl and completed only 10 of 26 passes for 103 yards and an interception as the NFC rallied to win. (Notice that his Browns helmet on his uniform is upside down. An ominous sign.) A very Atlee Hammaker-like performance, if you will. In fact, it is believed that Hammaker has jinxed any professional athlete who struggles in all-star games. And if he didn't, he should have.
That jinx is going to be the downfall of the Browns. Hell, it is starting to happen already. Braylon Edwards already has been injured. Kellen Winslow took up surfing this summer and will probably get bit by a shark during the bye week. Jamal Lewis will find some way to violate his parolee. The Browns are just jinxed.
And the sad thing is, none of this would have happened if the pouting Tom Brady had played in the Pro Bowl, leaving Anderson in Cleveland. Instead, he went to Hawaii and found the biggest jinx, next to that tiki idol that doomed the Brady Bunch. And when you get down to it, this really falls on Bill Belichick. If he had managed to beat the Giants, Brady would have been obligated to do the Pro Bowl and Anderson would have been safe. So once again, Belichick gets over on the Browns.
THE GOODELL SCALE
(The odds of your team winning the Super Bowl, based on 1-to-5 Goodells. One being worst, five being best.)
Missed a team? You can click the Super Bowl Buzz Kill 2008 label to see the entire list.