I’m wracking my brain right now, but I can’t think of an example in any sport where a team has won a title after an active player has died. Didn’t happen for Korey Stringer. Not Sean Taylor. Not Nick Adenhart. Remains to be seen about Chris Henry, though my guess would be no. In fact, I’m thinking that they lose to San Diego on Sunday, Ocho practicing in Henry’s jersey or not.
Of course, there’s the always invoked “Win One for the Gipper” line even though George Gipp died eight years before Knute Rockne supposedly used the quote from his dead former player to fire up Notre Dame against an undefeated Army team. For the amount of hokum being bandied yesterday by talking heads about how Henry’s death would cause the Bengals to gel and rally toward their final goal, it would be nice if there were some concrete precedent of that happened. Granted, the Redskins made an impressive run to a Wild Card spot after Taylor’s death and the Angels made the ALCS, I’m not sure there’s ever been a teammate’s passing that has been honored with a title.
Perhaps there is an example that escapes me from a bygone year or an obscure sport, but I’d be interested to know. Mainly because the icy specter of death is a fixation of mine.
[Update: A commenter came through – the 1920 Cleveland Indians. So there you go, Bengals. It only happens for Ohio teams apparently]
Anyway, this was needlessly morbid. Here’s a video from Busted Coverage of a wasted Cowboys fan who’s too into his nachos to bother with a fleeting high point of another Dallas December collapse. Wade Phillips admires his priorities.