Alexander Wolff wrote an article describing his analysis of the Sports Illustrated jinx. Here is an excerpt of his sidebar with some background about the article:
[W]e conducted a thorough exploration of what happened to everyone who has appeared on our cover … On the one hand, we listened as sober statisticians went over the basics of “regression to the mean,” which would explain why a hitter who gets hot enough to make the cover goes into a slump shortly thereafter. On the other hand, we heard from sports psychologist Jim Loehr, who believes that there is an SI Cover Jinx of sorts. Only he calls it ‘a failure to efficiently metabolize heightened expectations’ or some such … In investigating virtually all of SI’s 2,456 covers, we found 913 “jinxes” — a demonstrable misfortune or decline in performance following a cover appearance roughly 37.2 percent of the time. One of the most fascinating things we discovered seemed to buttress Loehr’s contention that the Jinx is more likely to strike athletes in fine-motor-skill sports like golf and tennis than smashmouth sports like boxing. Golfers were “jinxed” almost 70 percent of the time and tennis players after more than 50 percent of their appearances, while boxers suffered barely 16 percent of the time.