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The Curse of Takeo Spikes


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Mmmmmm. Schadenfreude. Still tastes yummy.

Though now on his fifth team, having played on both coasts and points in between, Spikes has yet to suit up in a single playoff game. His 198 career regular-season games without a playoff trip rank first in that dubious category among active players, but the wild-card round, divisional round, or conference title game have all been beyond Spikes' grasp, year after frustrating year.

Try wrapping your mind around what had to happen to the law of averages for "the Curse of Takeo Spikes'' to unfold:

• Drafted in the same first round that saw talents like Randy Moss, Peyton Manning, Fred Taylor and Charles Woodson selected, Spikes played his first five seasons for the downtrodden Bengals, who finished in last place three times and never fared better than 6-10 while he was in Cincinnati.

• Joining Buffalo from 2003-06, Spikes played on three more losing teams, with the only exception being the 2004 Mike Mularkey-coached third-place Bills who finished 9-7 and missed the playoffs on the last day of the season, being knocked off at home by a Pittsburgh team that had already clinched its playoff seed and started backup quarterback Tommy Maddox in place of injured rookie Ben Roethlisberger, as well as resting several other key starters.

• Then came 2007, and a season in Philadelphia, with the perennial playoff-qualifying Eagles. Except that Andy Reid's club, having made the postseason in six of the past seven years, winning at least 10 games every time, slipped to 8-8 and last place in the NFC East that season. That's when Spikes first had to suspect what he might be up against with this playoff drought. And did we mention Philadelphia made the playoffs in 2008, 2009 and 2010, the three seasons that followed Spikes' lone year in town?

• In 2008-2010, Spikes played and played well for San Francisco, but the once-proud 49ers were in the midst of a playoff-less streak of their own, and those teams, coached by the defensive-minded Mike Nolan and Mike Singletary, went 7-9, 8-8 and 6-10, missing the postseason each time and costing both men their jobs.

• Which brings us to this year's excruciating turn of events, with Spikes having signed a three-year deal with the Chargers. San Diego started 4-1 this season, finally getting off to the fast start that has been lacking almost the whole of the Norv Turner coaching era. But cruelly, at least for Spikes' sake, the Chargers' playoff dreams have all but died with their current six-game losing streak, the franchise's longest in 10 years. San Diego (4-7) trails first-place Oakland (7-4) by three games with five to play, and has sunk to last place in the AFC West.

And as you probably noticed by now, the Spikes-less 49ers have streaked to a 9-2 start in the NFC West under new head coach Jim Harbaugh, and are on the verge of clinching their first playoff berth since 2002. I would imagine it's all enough to make a guy crazy, and more than a little paranoid, to boot.


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Cue "I am the Warrior" by Scandal....

Having two draft picks in the first round scares me. We did that in 1998 when we picked Spikes and Brian Simmons in the first and LB Adrian Ross later when Coslet and LeBeau were rebuilding the LB corps. Things didn't turn out like we planned on that one. Hopefully the current staff can continue with the improved draft evaluations of late and find some game-changers.

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I think Takeo Spikes is the Adam Dunn of the NFL in that whatever team he goes to will end up losing more often than not. In Adam Dunn's case I think he had something to do with that

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  • 2 weeks later...

This whole Spikes thing is almost comical. I liked the guy when he was here but was put off when he left after Marvin was hired. From that point forward I could care less. Wonder where he'll be next year.

Maybe we could hook him up with the Stealers.

Excellent idea. Especially if Harrison keeps it up.

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