The initial reaction to seeing Peyton Siva on the cover of this week’s Sports Illustrated magazine is, wow, what a nice compliment, great publicity for him and the University of Louisville basketball team. Very much deserved.

Almost as quickly the old Sports Illustrated “cover jinx” comes to mind, a reminder that bad things sometimes happen to athletes they adorn the publication’s cover. Just a few examples:

  • New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady appeared on the cover of the NFL pre-season issue in September 2008. Brady tore the ACL and MCL in his left knee minutes in the opening game.
  • Tim Tebow, then with the Denver Broncos, was featured after a six-game win streak in December 2011. Denver lost the next three games.
  • Nebraska defensive linemanJared Crick was featured front and center on the college preview issue in August 2011. He did not finish his senior year because of a torn pectoral muscle.
  • Pete Rose appeared on the cover on August 7, 1978. That same week that his 44-game hitting streak ended.
  • Jon Peters of Brenham High School in Texas set the national high school record for games won by a pitcher, with a 51–0 record in May 1989. The next game after the cover, he lost the only game in his high school career.

There are a lot more examples here, happening just often enough to keep the jinx theory alive.

One doubts that Siva, a member of Southeast Christian Church, puts much stock in the superstition. He was also featured recently on the front page of the church’s weekly newspaper.

Have faith and keep those fingers crossed.

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By Charlie Springer

Charlie Springer is a former Louisville editor and sportswriter, a public affairs consultant, a UofL grad and longtime fan.