Schnepf: Let's hope Carson Wentz avoids the Sports Illustrated jinx

FARGO -- It probably happened in North Dakota somewhere on Tuesday, May 3, when two people caught themselves uttering this breaking news at the same time: "Hey, did you see Carson Wentz is on the cover of Sports Illustrated."...

FARGO -- It probably happened in North Dakota somewhere on Tuesday, May 3, when two people caught themselves uttering this breaking news at the same time: "Hey, did you see Carson Wentz is on the cover of Sports Illustrated."


Such is the response when two people utter the same words at the same time. And such is the urban legend which states that those who appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated magazine will sooner or later experience bad luck.

Let's just hope this doesn't happen to Wentz, who last week became the first North Dakota high school athlete picked in the first round of the NFL Draft and is now the first quarterback from Bismarck Century High School and North Dakota State University to grace the cover of Sports Illustrated. And by all accounts, he becomes only the fourth person with North Dakota roots to be SI-cover worthy--joining Roger Maris, Phil Jackson and Dale Brown.

Let's hope his career with the Philadelphia Eagles starts without an SI jinx that has plagued the likes of Lee Trevino, Andy North, Brett Favre, Aaron Rodgers, Adrian Peterson, Cam Newton and Buddy Hield--just to name a few.


Trevino, a professional golfer, appeared on the cover as part of a preview to the 1969 U.S. Open. The defending champion failed to make the cut.

North, another golfer, appeared on the cover after winning the 1978 U.S. Open. He would not win another PGA Tour event for seven years.

Favre, a Minnesota Vikings quarterback in 2010, was on the cover before the NFC Championship game and lost. Rodgers, a Green Bay Packers quarterback in 2012, was on the cover as the playoffs began. The Packers lost in the opening round.

Peterson, an All-Pro running back, was on the cover after the Vikings won last year's NFC North title. The Vikings lost in the playoffs to Seattle when Blair Walsh missed a chip-shot field goal.

Newton, a Carolina Panthers quarterback, was on the cover previewing the last Super Bowl. The Panthers were upset by Denver.

And most recently, Hield appeared on the cover, hyping Oklahoma's appearance in this spring's NCAA Final Four basketball tournament. Hield was held to nine points as Oklahoma was blown out by Villanova 95-51.

The list goes on and on.

But there are plenty of examples that would suggest this jinx is simply a myth--like the 50 cover appearances by Michael Jordan and the two covers devoted to Stephen Curry before he guided Golden State to last year's NBA championship.


Maris and Jackson--arguably the most successful athletes to come out of North Dakota--are two more examples that the SI cover does not curse everyone.

The Oct. 2, 1961, SI cover displayed a photo of Maris swinging the same bat that--one day before that publication date--swatted his 61st home run of the season that broke Babe Ruth's single-season record of 60 that stood for 34 years.

Probably a good thing that issue didn't get circulated before Maris' record-breaking homer.

Maris, who was a standout athlete at Fargo Shanley High School, would end up being named the most valuable player of the American League that season. And he was named an All-Star for the fourth straight season in 1962.

In your face, SI jinx. (Although, maybe this jinx is responsible for Maris not yet being inducted into the baseball hall of fame).

The May 27, 1976, SI cover displayed a photo of a much-younger looking Jackson coaching his Chicago Bulls. "The running of the bulls" read the headline. Fifteen years later, Jackson appeared on the Nov. 11, 1991, SI cover with his arms draped around Jordan and Scottie Pippen.

Jackson, who grew up in Williston and played basketball at the University of North Dakota, ended up winning six NBA titles with the Bulls and five more with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Booya, SI jinx. (Although, the jinx may explain why Jackson - the president - hasn't been able to produce a winner with the New York Knicks).


Now we have Carson Wentz, who has probably posed for more photos in the last three months than the previous 23 years of his life.

When you pick up this week's SI, you will see him in another posed shot--sporting his new No. 11 green-colored Eagles jersey, poised to throw a pass. "The Bull's Eye" reads the main headline. "Carson Wentz: The QB is out of Fargo, into the Philly Fire."

The last time an Eagles quarterback was on the SI cover was Dec. 15, 2013, with Nick Foles standing in the pocket during a winter storm. The Eagles' five-game winning streak ended with a 48-30 loss to our very own Minnesota Vikings.


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