The term “measuring stick” game is seldom used in professional football. The term indicates a game that will determine whether or not a team is the real deal or not and is used more in a college football setting since those teams can change drastically from year to year.
In the NFL, any game against a team quarterbacked by Kirk Cousins has been viewed as a measuring stick game. He’s good, not great, and if you can dominate against an offense like that, you probably have a good shot at a Lombardi Trophy. That’s always been a joke among NFL circles, not something to give much thought over, but lo and behold, someone did the research and it’s absolutely not a joke.
Reddit user u/krazikat posted on the r/nyjets subreddit on Wednesday about the “Cousins Curse.” No team that has lost to Kirk Cousins in the regular season has gone on to play in a Super Bowl. Several teams have reached the playoffs and some went pretty far, but no team has reached a Super Bowl.
Cousins has started 131 games in his career dating back to three games in 2013, all of which were losses. His first win as a starter didn’t come until Week 7 of the 2014 season — his eighth game started — against the Tennessee Titans. Cousins didn’t play for the remainder of that year. Obviously, the Titans didn’t go on to win the Super Bowl. In fact, they had the second overall pick in the 2015 draft and selected quarterback Marcus Mariota. If Cousins lost that game, I don’t know where he’d be today.
Cousins did take over as Washington’s starter at the beginning of the 2015 season though, and that’s when we can really start looking at the curse. Washington won nine games that year, and even reached the playoffs, but none of those wins came against other teams to reach the postseason. Maybe that explains why they got bounced in the first round by Green Bay. In 2016 though, Cousins beat two playoff teams — the Green Bay Packers and New York Giants. The Packers are already cursed. We know this, but in 2016, they double-dipped after failing to beat the team they nearly doubled up in the playoffs the year prior. As for the Giants, 2016 will always be remembered as the infamous “boat picture” year.
Despite not reaching the playoffs himself in 2016, 2017, or 2018, Cousins continued to doom several opponents in his path. The Rams fell in 2017. The Eagles the following year. Then, the Saints and Eagles again in 2019. 2020 saw the Chicago Bears’ and Green Bay Packers’ Lombardi dreams dashed, and most recently, it was the Packers again and the Pittsburgh Steelers.
It just can’t happen. 2020 and 2021 were two of Green Bay’s best chances of winning a Super Bowl, but both times, their lone loss against Mr. “You Like That” ruined any chance they had. So, who should start tanking in 2022? The Vikings are 9-2 and have taken down some serious Super Bowl contenders. The two most obvious are the Buffalo Bills and Miami Dolphins. Cousins took both those clubs down on the road. I’m sorry to break it to you Bills’ Mafia, but you won’t be getting revenge for that AFC Championship loss this year. And Dolphins fans...Mike McDaniel ain’t getting a chip in his first season as head coach. I hope those pills aren’t too hard to swallow. It just wasn’t meant to be.
Perhaps that’s why this curse was posted in the Jets’ subreddit. The Vikings are getting ready for a home matchup with the New York Jets this weekend, and despite having to change their quarterback recently, the Jets do have Super Bowl aspirations. Maybe not as much as their divisional counterparts, but there are aspirations nonetheless. So, here it is. This isn’t just a measuring stick game for N.Y. This is a measuring stick for Mike F’n White. The man has looked unbeatable early in his career and seems to be a massive upgrade over the likes of Zach Wilson and Joe Flacco. Can he beat Kirk Cousins though? Can he keep the Jets’ Super Bowl dreams alive?
Losing to Kirk Cousins has never been a good feeling. I mean, we’re talking about the guy who offered to put himself in a plexiglass box to avoid COVID. Ever since he made that statement, losing to him has felt like getting hit in the nuts with a boomerang and then having it come back around for seconds. Now though, a loss will feel even worse. Not only did you lose to milquetoast, boring-ass Kirk Cousins who wanted to be a bubble boy at NFL training camp, but your Super Bowl hopes are dashed as well. That’s a real insult to injury situation, and clearly, nobody has ever recovered.