The cover jinx
When Major League Baseball player Eddie Mathews, pictured on the cover of Volume 1, Issue 1, suffered a hand injury a week later that forced him to miss seven games, the "Sports Illustrated Cover Jinx" -- also known as "The Dreaded SI Cover Jinx" -- was born, as some noted that bad things seemed to happen to people soon after they appeared on the magazine's cover. Other notable cover coincidences include:
January 31, 1955 - The week that an issue featuring her was on the stands, skier Jill Kinmont struck a tree during a practice run and was paralyzed from the neck down.
November 18, 1957 -- The University of Oklahoma had won 47 consecutive games, which remains the longest winning streak in the history of college football. The cover carried the headline "Why Oklahoma is unbeatable." In their very next game, Oklahoma lost to the University of Notre Dame, which was in the middle of a down period. Notre Dame had also been the last team to defeat Oklahoma before the streak began, in 1953.
May 26, 1958 - SI's 1958 Indianapolis 500 preview issue featured Pat O'Connor, who was killed in a 15-car pileup during the first lap of the race.
February 13, 1961 - Laurence Owen was billed as "America's Most Exciting Girl Skater." Two days after the cover date, Owen and the rest of the United States figure skating team perished in a plane crash. The International Skating Union canceled the 1961 World Championships as a result.
December 14, 1970 - The University of Texas, 10-0 and enjoying a 30-game winning streak, fumbled nine times in its next game, a 24-11 loss to Notre Dame in the Cotton Bowl.
April 6, 1987 - Following a surprising 86-win season for the Indians in 1986, the cover showed Cleveland Indians sluggers Joe Carter and Cory Snyder, and carried the words "INDIAN UPRISING" and the sub-headline, "Believe it! Cleveland is the best team in the American League!" The Indians lost 101 games that year, retaining their own curse, the Curse of Rocky Colavito.
October 5, 1987 - Lloyd Moseby of the Toronto Blue Jays appears on the cover, with the words "Toronto Takes Off -- Lloyd Moseby and the Jays soar past the Tigers." When the magazine came out, the Jays were 3 1/2 games ahead of the Tigers, with seven games remaining. The Blue Jays went on to lose all seven. Detroit swept Toronto the last three games of the season, all by one run, and won the division by one game. In 2006, the Sports Illustrated website named this the third-biggest late-season collapse in baseball all-time, illustrating the story with an image of this cover.
November 30, 1987 - A cover illustrating the victory of the then-#2 Oklahoma Sooners over the #1 Nebraska Cornhuskers lauded Oklahoma and featured Oklahoma's Charles Thompson on the cover. On February 27, 1989, Thompson again appeared on the cover: this time in handcuffs and a prison jumpsuit after his arrest on suspicion of dealing cocaine (he was convicted and sentenced to two years in prison). The article accused head coach Barry Switzer's Sooner program as being out-of-control, and Switzer resigned soon afterwards.
Peter King wrote an article on the Kansas City Chiefs' perfect half-season in 2003. The Chiefs lost their tenth game the following week, and went on to lose in the AFC Divisional Playoffs.September 4, 1989 - Major League Baseball Commissioner Bart Giamatti's words about Pete Rose appeared on the cover the week Giamatti died of a heart attack.
July 4, 1994 - On the same day the US National Soccer Team is eliminated from the 1994 FIFA World Cup by Brazil an issue comes out that has the headline "Soccer Mania" and features US Striker Ernie Stewart on the cover.
October 31, 1994 - Because of the players' strike in 1994, the Japan Series is featured in the space usually reserved for Major League Baseball's World Series. A picture of a Seibu Lions pitcher in demolishing the Yomiuri Giants, 11-0, in Game 1 is shown from October 22. The issue was released on October 25, and on October 29, the kyojin wins the Fall Classic in six.
June 5, 1995 - Three days after his appearance, San Francisco Giants third baseman Matt Williams, the National League leader in home runs, batting average and RBIs, fouled a pitch off his right foot, breaking it, and forcing him to miss 2 1/2 months.
March 5, 2001 - Within a week after Nomar Garciaparra's cover appearance , it was announced that he had torn a tendon in his hand, forcing the Red Sox shortstop to miss all but 21 games of the 2001 season.
October 13, 2003 - In two regional covers of the baseball playoffs one cover shows Kerry Wood of the Chicago Cubs with the headline "Do you Believe?" as the Cubs had not won a World Series since 1908. In the other regional cover the picture is Pedro Martinez (then) of the Boston Red Sox, who had not won a World Series since 1918. Both teams would lose crushingly in their League Championship Series, the Cubs blew a 3 games to 1 lead to the Florida Marlins while the Red Sox blew a 3 run lead in Game 7 to their arch-rivals the New York Yankees. In addition Wood and Martinez both pitched Game 7.
November 17, 2003 - Peter King wrote an article praising the Kansas City Chiefs' 9-0 season (at that point). The following week, after wide receiver Chad Johnson declared the Cincinnati Bengals were going to beat the Chiefs, the Chiefs suffered their first loss of the season. The Chiefs went on to win the AFC West with a 13-3 record and gain home-field advantage in the playoffs, but lost in the Divisional Playoff game against the Indianapolis Colts. The Kansas City press and fans soon declared that King jinxed the Chiefs' hopes of glory that season.
September 26, 2005 - The cover picture shows Philadelphia Eagles QB Donovan McNabb laughing with Terrell Owens who had feuded before. The text said "Brotherly love? The soap opera Eagles come together and win big." Later in the year Owens then criticized McNabb saying that the Eagles would be undefeated if Brett Favre were the Quarterback. Owens was suspended for the season and eventually released by the team. McNabb had it worse and suffered a sports hernia which ended his season. The Eagles finished 6-10. The second headline showed the Philadelphia Phillies and their shortstop Jimmy Rollins, who were in the thick of the NL wild card race. They lost the wild card race by 1 game to the Houston Astros.
June 5, 2006 - Four members of the US National Soccer Team appear on the cover with the headline "US Soccer Wants You". The issue comes out two days before the US highly unsucessful showing in the 2006 FIFA World Cup, in which they dont win a game and fail to make it past group play. They were ranked #5 in the world going into the cup.
October 23, 2006 - Lebron James, Dwyane Wade, and (in particular) Carmelo Anthony all appear on the cover in an NBA preview issue saying "The New Era, game time for Carmelo Anthony and his new friends". On December 16, 2006, Anthony was involved in the Knicks-Nuggets brawl at Madison Square Garden where he punched Mardy Collins of the Knicks. Anthony was suspended for 15 games after the incident. James and Wade were also both injured shortly after.
November 20, 2006 - In the yearly college basketball preview, the Kansas Jayhawks are featured on one of the five regional covers, and are picked to win the national championship. Almost immediately, before the issue even arrives in most mailboxes, the Jayhawks lose their home opener to heavy underdog Oral Roberts
While the list of "examples" of the jinx is extensive, an individual record 49 cover appearances by Michael Jordan, team record 61 covers by the New York Yankees, and school record of 105 covers by the UCLA Bruins  have not hindered their success.
SI addressed their own cover jinx in a 2002 issue featuring a black cat on the cover. Then-St. Louis Rams quarterback Kurt Warner was asked to pose with the cat, but Warner, being a pious man, refused to associate himself with such superstition. Warner and the Rams won their next two games to win their second NFC Championship in three years.
or on the 2001 baseball season preview issue. jeter is on the cover, with his four rings showing, and a tagline saying "why fight it?: the yankees will win again". the yankees have yet to win a title since.
the pic to prove it. i have this issue actually, got it from one of my buddies in high school.