What if . . .
- . . . Alex Rodriguez had been traded to Boston?
- . . . The '94 MLB strike never happened?
- . . . Babe Ruth was sold elsewhere?
- . . . Williams and Dimaggio didn't go to war?
- . . . Michael Jordan had continued playing baseball?
- . . . N.C. State hadn't pulled off its miracle?
- . . . The Blazers had better injury luck?
- . . . Big Ben was drafted by the Giants?
- . . . Donald Trump had made the Bills great?
- . . . Drew Brees had passed his Dolphins physical?
- . . . These field goal attempts had been good?
- . . . George Halas had died in a boat wreck?
- . . . Jim Harbaugh had stuck with Alex Smith as 49ers quarterback?
- . . . The NFL map looked like this?
- . . . Peyton Manning went to San Diego?
- . . . Teddy Roosevelt hadn't revolutionized football?
- . . . Terrell Owens was elected to the NFL Hall of Fame?
- . . . LeBron James had chosen soccer over basketball?
- . . . U.S. soccer got the right call in the '02 World Cup?
- . . . Cleveland had been saved by George Steinbrenner?
- . . . These draft moments had happened differently?
- . . . Injuries had never altered these five careers?
- . . . Lance Armstrong had been whipped by cancer?
- . . . Muhammad Ali had never met Malcolm X?
- . . . PEDs had been legal all along?
- . . . Steve Bartman had never gone to Wrigley?
- . . . Things had happened differently for these four illustrious coaches?
- . . . Tiger Woods had pursued a career as a Navy Seal?
- . . . These trades had actually happened?
- . . . Wayne Gretzky hadn't been traded to the Kings?
What the F? Four what-if scenarios that need to be put to rest forever
by Kelvin C. Bias
Would the Cubs have broken the curse in ’03 if Bartman wasn't at Wrigley? Unlikely. That and three other What-ifs that are really So-whats.
WHAT IF ... Steve Bartman watches Game 6 of the 2003 NLCS between the Marlins and the Cubs at home, instead of in Section 4, Row 8, Seat 113 at Wrigley Field.
NEW ENDING: There’s no guarantee Cubs LF Moises Alou catches Marlins batter Luis Castillo’s foul ball, even without fan interference; in fact, Alou guessed he wouldn’t have (before recanting). Let’s pretend he does. The Marlins’ bats still come alive and SS Alex Gonzalez’s fielding error makes him the real goat.
WHAT IF ... Diego Maradona’s infamous ‘Hand of God’ goal (below) is disallowed in the 1986 World Cup quarterfinal.
NEW ENDING: Four minutes later the Argentine legend still scores the Goal of the Century, dribbling past five English defenders. In real life, Gary Lineker scored in the 80th minute, but with only a one-goal lead La Albiceleste park the bus and hold on 1–0. A week later they hoist the Jules Rimet trophy.
WHAT IF ... The Seahawks hand the ball to Marshawn Lynch on second-and-one at the Patriots’ one-yard line, trailing four points in the waning moments of Super Bowl XLIX.
NEW ENDING: Remember, Lynch had been stopped on third-and-one from the Pats’ eight early in the third quarter; in fact, he was only one-for-five in goal line attempts in 2014. (Seattle was 29th in goal-to-go scoring.) New England, braced for a run, stuffs Lynch twice. Same result.
WHAT IF ... Michael Jordan sticks to basketball, and only basketball.
NEW ENDING: Do the Bulls rip off a Celtics-like eight straight championships? Dream on. In Chicago’s first three title seasons, plus the two sans-MJ, they were 3–7 against the Rockets. In our fantasy 1993–94 and ’94–95 Finals, a top-of-his-game Hakeem Olajuwon shreds Luc Longley and the Rockets keep the crown.