The Pittsburgh Steelers were once a 4-1 team destined for their usual spot in the AFC playoffs. Now, they've lost four games in a row, including a heartbreaking loss to the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday after they held a lead with 42 seconds left in the final quarter, only to see Cowboys' rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott cap off an improbable, last-gasp drive with a stunning 32-yard touchdown run.
Some Steelers fans know exactly who to blame for their team's recent misfortunes: President-elect Donald Trump.
The hashtag #trumpcurse was trending in Pittsburgh on Twitter after Sunday's loss, indicating how widespread the (mostly facetious, I hope) belief is in Pittsburgh that Trump is responsible for the team's woes. The theory behind the curse is simple, if improbable: Trump attended a rally in in Ambridge, Pennsylvania, on Oct. 10 and waved a Steelers Terrible Towel in front of the crowd. He claimed on stage at the rally that Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was his friend. Pittsburgh has not won since that event and has been outscored 113-75 in the process.
Trump, meanwhile, pulled off a stunning upset on Election Day by winning the state of Pennsylvania, a state many observers contended was out of reach for the Republican nominee.
The curse's strength will be put to the ultimate test this week when the Steelers play the Cleveland Browns, who are widely regarded to be among the sorriest of football teams ever to grace an NFL field.
Fans of other teams who are worried about a potential Trump curse need not worry: Trump won't need to pander to any new NFL fanbases for at least three years. Although some have noted that at least one other NFL team isn't in the clear yet:
New England is 0-1 since Belichick wrote a letter to Trump.— Ray Fittipaldo (@Ray Fittipaldo) 1479098500.0