Sabres' Ruff Could Be Belated Victim Of OAG Curse

Buffalo Sabres coach Lindy Ruff was fired after 16 years on the job without a Stanley Cup. Was the Only A Game curse at work? (David Duprey/AP)

The Only A Game curse is an inscrutable force that can impact any team or athlete featured on our show.

Some weekends after a poignant profile or in-depth interview on OAG, the curse strikes instantly in the form of a crushing defeat that ends a winning streak, or it topples a player or team from a top ranking.

Other times, the curse lies in wait. For example, the Chicago Cubs, Cleveland Indians and Seattle Mariners have yet to win a World Series in the same season that we've aired feature stories about them. Some people foolishly dismiss the idea that the curse can strike months or years after a segment on the show. Here at the OAG offices, we know better.

Last week, the Buffalo Sabres fired head coach Lindy Ruff. After 16 years on the job, Ruff had the longest tenure of any active NHL coach. Many observers pointed to the Sabres' terrible start this season as the root of the decision. But many overlooked the fact that Ruff had been featured in my 2011 story on pro sports coaches who can't win it all, yet can't get fired. His firing followed the dismissal of another coach in in the piece: Andy Reid, who was cut loose by the Philadelphia Eagles in December.

There's an old adage: the OAG curse happens in threes. (OK, it's not really an adage, and we're not even sure it's true.)

But of several coaches included in the story, three were active when it aired. The third, Norv Turner, then of the San Diego Chargers, was also fired in December.

Coincidence or curse?

So, if you're an athlete or coach, take our advice: Don't mess with the Only A Game curse. Or mess with it all you want. What the heck, we've done plenty of stories on the Yankees, Steelers, Lakers and Red Wings, too.

This program aired on February 26, 2013. The audio for this program is not available.

Doug Tribou Reporter/Producer
Doug Tribou was formerly a reporter and producer at WBUR and for WBUR's Only A Game.



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