On Dec. 8, after his Jets were trounced 45--3 by the Patriots, coach Rex Ryan ceremoniously buried a game ball, hoping that his players might forget "all that happened Monday night." If he'd have studied history, Ryan—whose Jets lost 10--6 to the Dolphins four days later—might have known that that tactic yields mixed results:
2001 Pats coach Bill Belichick, peeved by a 20-point loss to the 'Fins and his team's 1--3 record, buries a game ball and tells his players to move on. New England loses just twice the rest of the year, and four months later claims its first-ever Super Bowl trophy.
2002 Aiming to create a target for puck drops, a Canadian icemaker plants a loonie (a one dollar Canadian coin) below center ice at the Salt Lake Olympics. Canada's men win gold (their first in 50 years), as does the women's team. The "lucky loonie" now rests at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.
2007 Alongside a blues band and a preacher, coach Sean Payton and his Saints bury in a coffin awards won during their surprise '06 run, hoping to retain focus. Instead, the team is buried by an 0--4 start and misses the playoffs.
2008 In an apparent curse attempt, a Red Sox-loving construction worker at the new Yankee Stadium buries a David Ortiz jersey in the concrete foundation. Word spreads quickly, the shirt is jackhammered out, and the jinx-free Yankees win the World Series a year later in their first season at the park.
BOB ROSATO (PAYTON)
GRAVE DIGGER Payton put his trophies six feet under, and the Saints played dead.