- 8/7/2008, 3:02 PM - Victims
No player stands as a greater symbol of the dangerous audacity of the Campbell's Chunky Soup Curse, the greatest corporate evil since United Fruit changed its exploitative brand to Chiquita, than the Curse's assault upon LaDainian Tomlinson, a future first-ballot Hall of Famer.
Tomlinson had established a reputation as an unbreakable runningback, no small achievement in the NFL. Runningbacks rise and fall just as quickly as linebackers can destroy their knees.
Tomlinson was invincible.
Then one day, he did the unthinkable. He endorsed Campbell's Chunky Soup.
Going into the 2007 NFL season, many Curse watchers thought the Curse was attempting the impossible.
Curse watcher Al Michaels commented, "I really thought the Curse was really attempting the really impossible. Really."
But it was not impossible.
Added Michaels, "It wasn't impossible. Really."
From week one it was clear the Curse would have to fight for every injury to sideline LT. Hobbled, Tomlinson missed the last several drivers of the Chargers opener.
Over the season, the Curse simply couldn't put LT away. Hobbled, nicked, dinged, rattled but never sidelined, LT continued.
Then the playoffs hit. The Curse, already frustrated by its failure to put LT away by Thanksgiving, revealed an audacious plan. In alignment with the New England Patriots and their coach Bill Belichik, the most evil man not associated with a mass extermination of a distinct ethnic group (although Steelers fans will disagree, as Balichik's continue slaughter of their people has not end in sight), the Curse revealed a fool-proof plan.
With the help of the Pawts, the Curse would destroy LaDainian Tomlinson. The Curse would settle for its greatest prize being also its latest prize ever.
Said the Curse, "I'm an evil curse. I'm patient. I'm eternal. Like the rising sun, I will be here long after the last beer stain dries from the last NFL game ever."
Tomlinson, already dinged up going into the AFC championship, only carried the ball twice before being sidelined. The Pawts-Chunky Axis had won.
"I'm proud to be associated with the Curse, " said Pats coach Bill Belichik. "It's an honor to win. And everything else is dishonor. Seriously. Why haven't the Chargers committed ritual suicide yet?"
The Curse had one more evil twist in story.
"I knew it was coming," reflected Belichik in an April 2008 interview with ESPN Radio. "You don't do business with as much evil as I do and not know that evil turns around fast and hard on you."
The Curse, in the guise of former pitchman Michael Strahan and the New York Giants defensive line, destroyed the Pats and left New Englanders whining like the prideless titty babies they are and will always be.
The Curse had gotten what it wanted. It had the head of LaDainian Tomlinson. One more sad monument to the most immutable truth of modern times: no one can defeat the Chunky Soup Curse (except for safeties).