Does having a famous hot chick for a girlfriend make you totally suck at sports? This "Curse of the Babe" theory is being tossed around today by sports columnists, angry fans, and people who care about football only in the sense that it involves celebrities (that would be most Gawker readers). Tom Brady dates slobberlicious super model Gisele Bundchen. And the Post even reported they were sexing it up with sexy sex the week before the game! Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo went on a vacation with Jessica Simpson before his playoff game; he lost, of course. Are celebrity girls really cursed? Or is there a deeper psychological mechanism at work? We know the answer, which we will tell you now.
Item one: Let's take a look at the empirical evidence. Brady (Gisele) lost the Super Bowl. Romo (Jessica Simpson) lost in the playoffs. Tony Parker (Eva Longoria) is injured. Matt Leinart (Paris Hilton) also got hurt. Further back, Mike Tyson (Robin Givens) went crazy, David Justice (Halle Berry) got accused of steroid use, and Andre Rison (Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes) got his house burned down.
Or, put another way: Brady had one of the best seasons in history. Romo had a career year. Parker has won three championships. Leinart was a top draft pic, Tyson was a champ, Justice won some rings, and Andre Rison is a five time Pro Bowler. In other words, all these guys did great things, even as they were boning some famous girls.
Item two: This supposed curse really needs to be clarified. Plain old beautiful women are not dangerous to performance, apparently, because damn near every married professional athlete has a beautiful wife. Tiger Woods, the most successful athlete working today, has a famously smoking wife:
So do scrub baseball players like Kris Benson:
Item three, in which we explain the fundamental roots of the error: This "Curse" bullshit is based in three things. One, the old crusty coach's idea that sex before sports can make an athlete worse; that one is a myth. Actually sex raises testosterone levels in men, making them more manly, aggressive, and powerful. Second, there is a simple feedback mechanism most men have that allows us to keep our self esteem high. When we see another man with a beautiful woman, we must assume he is a bitch (David Beckham), or a pretty boy (Don't make me kick your ass, Oscar de la Hoya), or— best of all— cursed! This helps us believe we're still at the front of the line, baby.
Finally, there is a female-driven paradigm of hate that is the psychological flip side of the male desire to undermine our competitors. Females, faced with the prospect of a simplistic boyfriend being bombarded with images of successful athletes (his heroes) being rewarded with famous celebrity women (his poster-bound fantasies), must act to incite a negative response in the man's mind, lest he lose all grip of reality. Knowing that he values his sports even more highly than his sexual desires, the idea of a curse is implanted into the public dialogue, instigating a reaction of fear, rather than lust, towards famous female sexual objects. No single Jessica Simpson blow job is worth a playoff loss to a real Cowboys fan.
The media simply feeds on this triumvirate of underlying influences to perpetuate the myth of a curse, because it's a pretty good story. But really, athletes should feel free to go ahead and scoop all the actresses and super models they want. New England didn't lose to New York because of Tom Brady and Gisele Bundchen. They lost because Boston sucks.