Iknow better.

Honestly, I do.

Because more than once in my life, I've made some silly or outrageous prediction -- usually sports related, but not always -- and then had it blow up in my face.

Here's an example: In 1964, when I was a sophomore in high school, I spent the best part of a weekend telling anyone who would listen that my favorite team at the time -- the Philadelphia Phillies -- was going to win the National League pennant.

The Phils were, after all, at the top of the National League by 61/2 games with just 12 games to play. They were a shoo-in, I said, more times than I like to remember.

Then they lost 10 straight games -- the first seven of which were played at home -- and fell into a second-place tie.

Coach Andy Reid’s Eagles are 3-8 and occupy last place in the NFC East. Theyve lost seven straight games.
Coach Andy Reid's Eagles are 3-8 and occupy last place in the NFC East. Theyve lost seven straight games. (File photo)

No pennant. No World Series. No nothing.

Except, of course, for the constant ragging I took from everyone for months.

There was a lesson there, if only I'd taken it.

I didn't.

So I now admit saying out loud -- back in August of this year -- that I wouldn't have been surprised if the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Philadelphia Eagles played each other in the Super Bowl this year. Call it the "Pennsylvania Bowl," I said.

It was a stupid thing to say.

Not that the two teams didn't have the potential to do just that -- NFL experts were saying for months that both teams had a lot of talent and were destined to have a successful season.

The Eagles, in particular, were thought to be Super Bowl bound -- in August.

Well, here we are three months later, and it's that 1964 feeling all over again.

As I'm sitting here today, there is no chance for a "Pennsylvania Bowl."


And as silly as I know it is, I'm feeling at least somewhat responsible for setting these two teams up for the big fall. I wish I'd just kept my big mouth shut.

Eleven games into the season, and the Eagles are tied for the third-worst record in the NFL at 3-8. Dead in the water. They're not mathematically eliminated, but there's no math on this planet that can get them into the playoffs this season.

Eagles head coach Andy Reid is taking all the blame, of course. It's what he does. And I appreciate that he's trying to take me off the hook.

At the other end of the state, head coach Mike Tomlin isn't much better off. His Steelers are 6-5, barely hanging on in the playoff picture by the skin of their teeth.

Both coaches have had to deal with injuries to important players. In Philadelphia, of course, it's been the quarterback, Michael Vick, and star running back LeSean McCoy. Then this week, it was announced that DeSean Jackson, their best receiver, is out for the rest of the season with broken ribs.

In Pittsburgh, it's been their starting quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger, and their best defensive player, Troy Polamalu, out of action for big chunks of the season.

It's hard to win games when your best players are sitting on the bench or in the training room. That's a fact.

(Isn't it interesting, by the way, how fans in the two cities and the ownership of the two teams have reacted so differently to seasons of struggle? In Philly, they want the head coach fired. In Pittsburgh, no one is screaming for Tomlin's head.)

Not to use injuries as an excuse or anything, because clearly every team in the NFL must deal with injuries over the course of a long season.

But these injuries have knocked the Eagles and Steelers for a loop.

Super Bowl?


The Eagles will be lucky to finish the season five games below .500. The Steelers might do better than that, but it'll be a struggle to earn a playoff spot.

Pennsylvania Bowl?

What in the world was I thinking?

Super Bowl?

It would have been OK to think it -- perhaps. But I never should have said it out loud.

It's the oldest jinx in sports.

I should have known better.

Sports columns by Larry A. Hicks, Dispatch columnist, run Thurs days. E-mail: lhick s@yorkdispatch.com.