[ a rare interlude from my JFK/ Secret Service research]
The forgotten FIRST team snake bit by the CURSE OF THE TERRIBLE TOWEL: the 1994 San Diego Chargers, AFC Championship game in Pittsburgh, 1/15/1995- THE VIDEO
This is deep and surreal, so be patient and watch (and listen): The forgotten FIRST team snake bit by the CURSE OF THE TERRIBLE TOWEL: the 1994 San Diego Chargers, AFC Championship game in Pittsburgh, 1/15/1995!
I have been talking about this for years but proof eluded me…until now, ALMOST 23 YEARS LATER! We all know about THE CURSE OF THE TERRIBLE TOWEL affecting the Titans, the Bengals, and the Ravens, but the first team to evoke the wrath of the Terrible Towel were the San Diego Chargers…and they got it the worst. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1994_San_Diego_Chargers_season
Charger coach Duane Painter’s wife THAT NIGHT: “The woman, Debbie Menta, 32, and her brother, Doug Painter, 23, were scattering the ashes of their mother, who committed suicide hours after the Chargers won the American Football Conference championship on Jan. 15.” The daughter soon after: “The daughter of the quarterback coach for the San Diego Chargers, Dwain Painter, was swept to her death on Thursday by a wave on the rocky Mendocino coast.”
The 1994 Chargers are also remembered for tragedy in the form of numerous untimely deaths, as eight of the players from that 1994 squad have died prematurely since that time, all by the age of 44. It is part of a supposed locally infamous curse in the San Diego area, involving its sports teams.
• June 19, 1995 – Linebacker David Griggs died in a car accident when his vehicle slid off a ramp on Florida’s Turnpike, linking to three roads just west of Fort Lauderdale and subsequently slammed into a pole, he was 28 years old.
• May 11, 1996 – Running back Rodney Culver and his wife Karen were among the 110 people (105 passengers, 5 crew members) aboard ValuJet Flight 592 when it crashed into the Florida Everglades, killing everyone aboard. He was 26 years old.
• July 21, 1998 – Linebacker Doug Miller died after being struck twice by lightning during a thunderstorm while camping in Colorado. He was 29 years old.
• May 11, 2008 – Center Curtis Whitley died of a drug overdose. His body was discovered by sheriff deputies in his trailer home in Fort Stockton, Texas, just one day after his 39th birthday. One of the drugs he was known to use was Crystal methamphetamine.
• October 15, 2008 – Defensive end Chris Mims was found dead in his Los Angeles apartment by police officers conducting a welfare check. The most likely cause of death was cardiac arrest due to an enlarged heart since he weighed 456 pounds when he died. He was 38 years old-MIMS IS THE ONE TWIRLING THE TOWEL AND THROWING IT TO THE GROUND!.
• February 26, 2011 – Defensive tackle Shawn Lee died from a cardiac arrest resulting from double pneumonia. Lee had been suffering from diabetes for years prior to his death. He was 44 years old.
• December 8, 2011 – Linebacker Lewis Bush died from an apparent heart attack, just six days after his 42nd birthday.
• May 2, 2012 – Linebacker Junior Seau died in his home in Oceanside, California. Seau was discovered already lifeless by his girlfriend. His death was likely a suicide since a self-inflicted gunshot wound was apparent to the chest. He was 43 years old.
Destroyed in their next game, their only Super Bowl appearance; Ryan Leaf; got rid of Drew Brees; No playoff wins until 2007; did not beat the Steelers for years after here at home (well into the Rivers era); picked Rivers over Eli and Ben; EIGHT PLAYERS DIED YOUNG, BEFORE THE AGE OF 44 + coach’s wife and daughter!!..
1/15/1995 AFC Championship game (FULL GAME):
UPDATE ON MY TERRIBLE TOWEL CURSE POSTS:
Legendary Steelers beat writer Ed Bouchette responded 12/8/17: “That is morbid, Vince, but also curious.
I wrote the first story about Painters wife from that Super Bowl. If you can find it in the Post-Gazette read the end where I write their two kids planned to spread her ashes at her favorite spot along the Pacific.
Legendary Post-Gazette writer Gene Collier weighed in on 12/11/17:
“thanks vince. this painter story always fascinated me. amazing stuff.
To the players, coach and daughter no longer with us. Chargers: LB Junior Seau (suicide due to brain trauma), LB David Griggs (car accident), RB Rodney Culver (plane crash), LB Doug Miller (struck by lightning), C Curtis Whitley (drug overdose), DE Chris Mims (heart failure), DL Shawn Lee (heart attack), LB Lewis Bush (heart attack); Coach Duane Painter’s wife (suicide the night of the game) and their daughter (died after falling in ocean scattering mother’s ashes).
The late LB Doug Miller and the late DE Chris Mims: