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AFM Magazine

Letter From the Editor

Reverse of the Jinx
by: Rex Lardner
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Sports Illustrated’s first issue appeared in August, 1954 with Milwaukee Braves third baseman Eddie Mathews on the cover. He promptly got hurt and missed 10 days of playing time with a bad ankle. Thus, the Sports Illustrated cover jinx was born.

Over the years millions of superstitious readers and many athletes believe that an appearance on the cover of SI is the kiss of death. In the six decades the magazine has been in print, the argument can be made that the jinx is certainly a reality. Some of the more prominent football jinxes included the following:

• Notre Dame Quarterback Paul Hornung graced the SI cover in 1956 just before the Irish got blown out by Oklahoma, 40-0. Notre Dame then lost to Pitt and Navy to finish 2-8.

• Ohio State, the reigning national champion, was 9-0 going into their annual showdown with Michigan in 1969. Ranked #1 at the time, the SI cover featured the Buckeyes with the headline, ‘Why Ohio State Won’t Lose.’ You guessed it …final score: Michigan 24-Ohio State 12.

• After going 11-0, Bear Bryant appeared on the cover of SI before Alabama’s Sugar Bowl appearance against Notre Dame for the National Championship. The Irish won the game, 24-23, in one of the most exciting bowl games in history.

• Premiering the college season in 2001, Oregon State was selected pre-season #1. The Beavers promptly lost their opener, 44-24 to Fresno State and went on to finish 5-6.

While not known for its jinxes, American Football Monthly begins its 12th year of production with this issue. The magazine’s first issue was as American Football Quarterly in 1995 with Nebraska Head Coach Tom Osborne on the cover. With his outstanding success as Cornhuskers head coach over a 25 year period, AFM was certainly not a jinx. Other coaches featured over the first few years of the magazine included Northwestern’s Gary Barnett, Stanford’s Tyrone Willingham, Tampa Bay’s Tony Dungy and San Francisco’s Steve Mariucci. All enjoyed some success with their respective teams but all are now with different colleges or NFL teams.

The magazine evolved into a monthly publication in May of 1999 with Dan Reeves of the Atlanta Falcons selected as the NFL Coach of the Year. Other featured coaches on AFM covers included Baltimore’s Brian Billick, Oregon’s Mike Bellotti. Mike and Bob Stoops at Oklahoma, and Chicago high school coach Frank Lenti of Mount Carmel.

The magazine officially became American Football Monthly in September of 2000. Near legendary coach Larry Kehres of Mount Union appeared on that first issue of AFM. Until earlier this year his Mount Union teams had won over 100 consecutive regular season games.

In the subsequent years some of the coaches that have graced the covers of AFM have included South Carolina’s Lou Holtz, UAB’s Watson Brown, Maryland’s Ralph Friedgen, Michigan State’s John L Smith, USF’s Jim Leavitt, Miami’s Larry Coker, Boise State’s Dan Hawkins, and Louisiana high school coach J.T. Curtis. Over the last 12 months Tommy Tuberville of Auburn, Harvard’s Tim Murphy, and Pittsburg State’s Chuck Broyles were some of the cover photos. None would really be considered jinxed by their appearance on AFM.

But AFM doesn’t have a perfect record. Auburn’s Terry Bowden appeared on the cover of American Football Quarterly a month before he was fired by the powers that be at Auburn. But ask Sports Illustrated – nobody’s perfect.

We hope you enjoy this issue of American Football Monthly.

Travis Davis

Managing Editor:
Rex Lardner

Rex Lardner
Managing Editor
American Football Monthly


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