As we all know, the reason for the Phillies ending the city’s 25-year sports championship drought was not Cole Hamels, Ryan Howard, Chase Utley or Jimmy Rollins. It was the decision to put a miniature William Penn statue at the top of the Comcast Center. A Philadelphia sports team hadn’t won a title since the city broke the “gentleman’s agreement” not to build anything taller than City Hall.
It doesn’t matter that William Penn was long-dead when Philadelphia built City Hall — the tallest building in the world from 1901 to 1908 — or that he would be unlikely to enact revenge on sports teams that did not exist during his life. This is how sports works: When your team loses, it’s not that you weren’t good enough. It’s that some unseen forces cursed you from winning the big game.
And so putting a tiny William Penn on top of the Comcast Center reversed the curse. The proof is in the results: The Phillies won the World Series 16 months after the topping off of the Comcast Center! (Correlation, causation, whatever.) But now Comcast is building an even larger skyscraper, the Comcast Technology and Innovation Center. Would the curse be re-enforced by mean ol’ William Penn?
Fortunately, Comcast’s forward-thinking extends beyond its vertical tech campus at 18th and Arch. NBC 10 reports the ‘Reverse the Curse’ statue will be moved to the new building.
So William Penn will remain on top of the city for the foreseeable future. But it’s been over five years since the Phillies won the World Series. I think it’s time to start hunting for another curse. What did we do in 2009?!