Myths of Philadelphia: The Billy Penn Curse

The first time I heard about this one, I have to admit I didn’t think too much of it. Now, the Red Sox, those guys were cursed. But when you think about it, either there’s something in the water, or this city has gone waaay too long without a championship. With four major sports teams, you’d think that one of them, one, would have won by now. And no, the Wings and Phantoms don’t count.

A bunch of Phrustrated Phanshave put together a documentary about the curse, and the Wikipedia entry on it sounds menacing. Did our skyscrapers kill Barbaro?????

For those who don’t know, the Billy Penn curse is a myth that began after One Liberty Place became the first building erected in the city that was taller than William Penn’s hat, on its statue atop City Hall. Until 1987, there had been a gentlemen’s agreement in the city of Philadelphia that no building would be taller than Penn. In the years just before ’87, Philly sports teams were having a great run in the playoffs and with championships: the Phillies won the 1980 World Series, the Flyers won back-to-back Stanley Cups in 1974 and 1975, and the Sixers went fo-fi-fo to win the NBA championship in 1983. From Wikipedia, “Construction on One Liberty Plaza began in 1984, one year after the last championship season in Philadelphia.” And the sky grew dark, and thunder rolled overhead….

I’m not going to say it is or isn’t a curse, because then you usually wind up angering the curse gods and you wind up with one anyway. I’ll just keep wearing my jerseys and marching off to watch our teams… because we’re Philly fans, and that’s what we do.

1 Comment so far

  1. Sparky (unregistered) on March 7th, 2007 @ 9:06 am

    While the Cubs and BoSox had or have real curses going against them (did I just say real curses?) you have to think that the Billy Penn Curse is at least nothing if not a bad coincidence



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