Should Steelers Fans Fear The DWTS Curse?
By Kevin Heitz
We all know about the Sports Illustrated cover curse, but could there be a DWTS curse as well? That's Dancing With The Stars, for those of you who haven't been following the past 11 seasons of ABC's hit reality show. As Pittsburgh wide receiver Hines Ward has two-stepped and tangoed his way into this season's finale, this is an important question not just for Steeler Nation, but for fans of every other team who'd like to see a little less gold and black during this year's NFL playoffs.
Before you all start crying into your terrible towels just yet, let's review the numbers:
Jerry Rice was runner-up in Season 2, but his former football teams did not have similar success in 2006. The San Francisco 49ers suffered through a 7-9 season and the Oakland Raiders mustered just two wins.
Emmitt Smith took the stage during the fall of 2006, and became the first athlete to win when he topped Mario Lopez of Saved By The Bell "fame." Meanwhile, the Cowboys were a 9-7 wild card team, but lost during the first week of the playoffs when quarterback Tony Romo botched a hold on a go-ahead field goal in the closing minutes.
Clyde Drexler glided onto the DWTS stage in 2007, but results are mixed when it comes to curse talk. Portland went 32-50 that season, while Drexler's other former team, the Houston Rockets, went 52-30. Later in 2007, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban was on the show, perhaps trying to forget his team's collapse during the first round of the playoffs following a team-best 67 wins during the regular season.
Jason Taylor was the first current team-sport athlete to try his hand (and feet) at the dancing game -- and Bill Parcels was one person who didn't like the idea. The longtime Dolphin finished second to Kristi Yamaguchi in May 2008 before leaving Miami for Washington. He spent that one season with the Redskins and had the worst statistical season of his career.
In November 2008, just a year after retiring, Warren Sapp danced his hefty frame to a runner-up finish, but his former team, the Oakland Raiders, posted a feeble 5-11 record. In May 2009, N.Y. Giant great Lawrence Taylor had a forgettable run on DWTS and his former team started the season 5-0 before losing eight of their last 11 games and getting eliminated from the playoffs in the final week.
Michael Irvin became the second former Dallas Cowboy on the show in November 2009, while his former squad was playing its way to an 11-5 record and a division title in shiny new digs. But then the playoffs happened, and the Cowboys were skunked by the Vikings, 34-3.
It didn't shock anyone when Cincinnati receiver Chad Ochocinco became the second current athlete on DWTS in May 2010. In 2009, the Bengals went 10-6 and swept the AFC North. The year after his appearance was a different story as the Bengals returned to the bottom of the league, posting a 4-12 record.
In November 2010, former St. Louis and Arizona quarterback Kurt Warner and former Laker Rick Fox put on their dancing shoes. Warner's former teams each finished the year on the losing side (Rams 7-7, Cardinals 5-11), while the Lakers were swept from the playoffs by the Dallas Mavericks.
Only time will tell what impact Hines Ward's DWTS run has on the Steelers in 2011 … assuming, of course, that there is an NFL season in 2011.
Posted May 23, 2011