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I'm surprised nobody mentioned... what if Donald Trump didn't sink the USFL?

would the USFL merged with the NFL.

What if Isiah Thomas didn't sink the CBA?

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What if Harold Ballard was a nice man... we would have a NHL team in Cincinnati.

Maybe. The Stingers didn't have great support.

Maybe that was because it was a WHA team, not an NHL team.

Somehow Houston, the Canadian teams (at least the ones that didn't go up against NHL teams), and Cleveland (before they moved to an arena in the middle of nowhere) were able to make it work.

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I'm surprised nobody mentioned... what if Donald Trump didn't sink the USFL?

would the USFL merged with the NFL.

What if Isiah Thomas didn't sink the CBA?

The first sporting event I ever attended was a CBA game in 1979, so I though I'm not a big basketball fan, I always had a soft spot for the CBA and at least followed the standings every now and then...

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General
What if there was no betting on sports, Vegas or underground?
What if the home games weren't blacked out on television?
What if refs, players and coaches weren't blackmailed, shaving points or betting on games?
What if there was no collusion between owners? Players?
What if athletes never got injured? (What if nobody ever got injured?)
What if athletes all played fair and didn't use steroids or HGH or other PEDs?
What if you can time travel and actually settle sports arguments or whether the Kobe's Redeem Team could defeat the 1992 Dream Team? (I know, I'm getting carried away here.)
What if there was no substance abuse issues off the court/field/ice?
I read that someone had asked, "what if the South had won the Civil War?" My take on that would be, what if there was no racism? (I'm not implying that the Civil War was started because of it.) We definitely wouldn't have to need a Negro League because everyone would just play in either the Majors or the Minors. There wouldn't be a need to celebrate Jackie Robinson because of his race, but we'd still celebrate him because of his achievements.
What if every fan stayed civil and didn't riot after wins and losses? (Or didn't beat up other fans, e.g., Bryan Stow.)
What if you could change the result after the game, even if the teams had left the court/field, if you found the winner/winning team cheated? (They do it at the Olympics and the Tour de France.)

NBA
What if the league never expanded so much?
What if the league had more Canadian teams?
What if Bill Russell had played for the Lakers?
What if there were no "territorial picks"?
What if the Lakers never acquired Peyton and Malone? What if they had acquired Malone back in 1998?
What if Kobe and Shaq had gotten along?
What if Barkley had joined the Rockets a year earlier?
What if Michael Jordan's dad had never been killed in that carjacking incident?
What if the league, specifically the refs, didn't hate Dennis Rodman?
What if Kobe, LeBron and every good player who skipped college actually went to three or four years of college? (There'd be less wear and tear, for one, and more maturity.)
What if the 3-pt. line was implemented at the same time as the ABA? (I know, I know; the ABL used it back in 1961.)
What if there was always a 24-second shot clock?
What if Yao Ming and Sabonis had played in the NBA earlier in their careers?
What if Jay Williams didn't get into that motorcycle accident?
What if the season wasn't so long? What if you played two-seasons in a year?
What if Pete Maravich's heart wasn't defective?

NFL
What if Buffalo had won all four back-to-back-to-back-to-back Super Bowls? (Heck, just one would've been good.)
What if all scoring played had been allowed to be reviewed before?
What if there was goal-line technology like there is in soccer, but also extended to out-of-bounds play (sideline technology), as well as field goals and PATs (uprights technology)?
What if you could have more than one forward pass?
What if helmets were not allowed?
What if you must play both offense and defense (iron man football), except the QB?
What if the NFL adopted the same rules as the CFL? (Three downs, one-yard neutral territory, etc.)
What if the NFL had adopted the two-point conversion sooner?
What if the players stopped dropping the ball BEFORE they get into the end zone?
What if everything isn't excessive celebration nowadays?
What if Barry Sanders played for a better team (or had better pieces around him)?
Tuck rule.

MLB
What if there was a time limit/time clock in baseball?
What if every stadium had the same dimensions?
What if unwritten rules were written down somewhere?
What if there was no dead-ball era, i.e., they always had plenty of newer balls to play with?
What if there was no Black Sox scandal?
What if teams never stole signs? What if managers could talk to every player on the field via radio at all times?
What if the NL also had the DH? What if the AL didn't?
What if there were no union strikes?
What if there was no Cuban embargo? What if Cuba wasn't a dictatorship?
What if there were two short-stops?
What if there were no corked bats?
What if aluminum bats were allowed?
Steve Bartman.

NHL
What if there was no icing?
What if there were no goalies but the goals were smaller?
What if the puck was white? (Yeah, stupid, but as long as we're asking alternate sports questions...)

NCAA basketball/football
What if Butler won against Duke with that final desperation shot in the final?
What if Chris Webber didn't call a time-out Michigan didn't have?
What if freshmen were allowed to play on varsity squads? Would Kareem have won four titles?
What if there was always a shot-clock in college?
What if the Marshall football team didn't perish in that plane crash?
What if the Ivy League sent teams to the football playoffs? What if there was no playoffs (at any level) and schools actually cared about academics like they say they do?
What if you don't lose your eligibility for doing something that's not illegal? (Read: stupid NCAA rules.)

Cycling
What if Lance Armstrong never cheated, or cheated then confessed immediately?

Soccer
What if there was no bribery scandals, either for awarding a city the World Cup or for reffing the events?
What if goal-line technology was implemented as soon as it was invented?
What if soccer allowed challenges (and stopped the clock to do so) and video reviews?
What if Maradona had been called for a hand ball against England?
What if Peru hadn't lost to Argentina in 1978 by six goals?

Olympics
What if there was no bribery scandals, either for awarding a city the Summer or Winter Olympics or with judging and reffing the events?
What if Team USA had won the 1972 basketball gold medal? What if team USA won because they got three chances to beat Russia instead?
What if Team USA had won the 1988 basketball gold medal? Would we still have assembled the Dream Team?
What if Shaq had been chosen instead of Laettner? What if Isiah Thomas wasn't injured?
What if athletes were allowed to compete regardless of their age? (Skating and gymnastics.)
What if NBC actually televised the events LIVE like the rest of the world?
What if the tragedy at Munich never happened?
What if the Soviet Union never dissolved?

Little League Baseball
What if the format wasn't USA versus the World, where the American team was always guaranteed at least second place?
What if there was no pitch count limits?
What if players must use wooden bats?

NASCAR
What if Dale Earnhart didn't die in that crash?
What if the use of the HANS device was widely adopted sooner?
What if there were tracks that ran the other way, i.e., clockwise?
What if cars today weren't practically identical?
What if they actually continued to use stock cars, like the Nissan GT-R?

Volleyball
What if volleyball salaries/prize money were as high as in the NBA/NFL? Would the sport be dominated by Kobe, LeBron and Megatron?

Golf
What if the Augusta National Golf Club didn't exclude women as long as they did?
What if you cannot just call or Tweet the officials to get players disqualified? (What if you could do that for other sports?)

Boxing
What if nobody bit anyone?

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What if Penn State wasn't refused entrance into the Big East in 1982?

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I was a big Ricky Rudd fan growing up and he said the toughest decision he ever made in his NASCAR career was leaving Rick Hendrick and forming his own team in 1994.

It ended up taking a few years of his prime away and I've wondered what if Rudd stayed at Hendrick up until 2000? Would he be the one lifting the Championship instead of Terry Labonte?

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What if Penn State wasn't refused entrance into the Big East in 1982?

They still go to the Big 10 in the early 90's, to much money, stability and prestige to pass up. Penn State's basketball program wouldn't have improved in the Big East and Paterno would have clashed with Dave Gavitt so the Big East would be happy to see them go. Paterno would have blocked Pitt from joining the Big East so they would have still been stuck in the Eastern 8/Atlantic 10 for basketball, they most likely would have replaced Penn State after they left and would have been a full football/basketball member when the football conference started up.

Boston College and Syracuse still had basketball first mentality at the time so they wouldn't have left the Big East for the proposed Raycom Super Conference so the raids of the Big East by the ACC in 2005 and 2011 would still have happened.

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Referee Walter Coleman rules the play stands as call, the Oakland Raiders lose to the Steelers in the AFC Championship and Jon Gruden is hired to coach the Buccaneers to Super Bowl XXXVII. The Steelers are creamed by the Rams, Kurt Warner wins a second Super Bowl MVP.

Tom Brady loses the job in an open competition to Drew Bledsoe in training camp and is traded to the Cleveland Browns for a two first round picks

Brady flops in Cleveland and bounces around Cade McCown style and is hosting Patriots pre game show on WEEI

Bledsoe takes the Patriots to Super Bowl XXXVIII and beats the Panthers

The Eagles beat the Steelers in an all Pennsylvania Super Bowl XLIX

Steelers win XL

Bledsoe retires

Colts win back to back titles Super Bowl XLI and XLII

Cardinals stun Steelers in Super Bowl XLIII Kurt Warner retires after third SB MVP

Colts win this SB in four years

Ravens win Super Bowl XLVI Ray Lewis retires

Broncos win Super Bowl XLVII

Seahawks end Broncos and Mannings quest for another ring

Seahawks win back to back

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What if Penn State wasn't refused entrance into the Big East in 1982?

They still go to the Big 10 in the early 90's, to much money, stability and prestige to pass up. Penn State's basketball program wouldn't have improved in the Big East and Paterno would have clashed with Dave Gavitt so the Big East would be happy to see them go. Paterno would have blocked Pitt from joining the Big East so they would have still been stuck in the Eastern 8/Atlantic 10 for basketball, they most likely would have replaced Penn State after they left and would have been a full football/basketball member when the football conference started up.

Boston College and Syracuse still had basketball first mentality at the time so they wouldn't have left the Big East for the proposed Raycom Super Conference so the raids of the Big East by the ACC in 2005 and 2011 would still have happened.

What if the Big 10 blocked Penn State, and they went to the ACC instead? This almost happened, from what I understand.

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General

What if athletes never got injured? (What if nobody ever got injured?)

I read that someone had asked, "what if the South had won the Civil War?" My take on that would be, what if there was no racism? (I'm not implying that the Civil War was started because of it.) We definitely wouldn't have to need a Negro League because everyone would just play in either the Majors or the Minors. There wouldn't be a need to celebrate Jackie Robinson because of his race, but we'd still celebrate him because of his achievements.

What if you could change the result after the game, even if the teams had left the court/field, if you found the winner/winning team cheated? (They do it at the Olympics and the Tour de France.)

NBA

What if the league never expanded so much?

What if the league had more Canadian teams?

What if Kobe and Shaq had gotten along?

What if Kobe, LeBron and every good player who skipped college actually went to three or four years of college? (There'd be less wear and tear, for one, and more maturity.)

What if Jay Williams didn't get into that motorcycle accident?

NFL

What if Buffalo had won all four back-to-back-to-back-to-back Super Bowls?

What if the NFL adopted the same rules as the CFL? (Three downs, one-yard neutral territory, etc.)

What if Barry Sanders played for a better team (or had better pieces around him)?

Tuck rule.

NCAA basketball/football

What if Chris Webber didn't call a time-out Michigan didn't have?

Cycling

What if Lance Armstrong never cheated, or cheated then confessed immediately?

Soccer

What if Maradona had been called for a hand ball against England?

Olympics

What if Team USA had won the 1988 basketball gold medal? Would we still have assembled the Dream Team?

What if Shaq had been chosen instead of Laettner? What if Isiah Thomas wasn't injured?

What if NBC actually televised the events LIVE like the rest of the world?

What if the tragedy at Munich never happened?

What if the Soviet Union never dissolved?

NASCAR

What if Dale Earnhart didn't die in that crash?

Volleyball

What if volleyball salaries/prize money were as high as in the NBA/NFL? Would the sport be dominated by Kobe, LeBron and Megatron?

Quick takes

General:

- No injuries, from ever, perhaps annual salaries aren't as inflated? Perhaps guys stay in school 4yrs both basketball & football.

- From what I've read, there's absolutely zero chance in any alternate universe whatsoever the South defeats the more progressive & much greater populated (not to mention urban aka harder to conquer) North.

- NCAA strips titles without blinking.

NBA:

- Fewer local tv markets, not really plau$ible.

- More Canadian teams would've moved with their NHL cousins during the 90's.

- If Kobe & Shaq actually liked each other? Another 3 titles, at least, guaranteed. Perhaps not in a row or bunched up... yet that duo & talent they could invite to the Lakers would be a winning machine.

- There'd have been more fascinating Final Fours... & even richer AD's & college coaches.

- Jay Will was all things equal coming into an era of guard dilution. Sure he could've made the Bulls more competitive, yet I don't see championships on his watch alone.

NFL:

- I've always thought & said that had the Bills defeated the Giants, they would not have returned to the SB right away. The redemptive hunger kept them sharp, until they ran out of juice. I do think they would've returned to another SB game, yet that core isn't beating DAL-SF-GB no chance. 1-1 SB record. Not as famous as 0-4.

- CFL would either be dead because same athletes talent pool... or CFL perhaps as a direct developmental NFL league.

- Barry would've gone to multiple SBs on a great AFC team. Probably would've won a ring.

*Having said THAT - look at LeDainian Tomlinson. His Charger teams were perennial powers & they didn't even get to a SB. QB Rivers, TE Gates, warm climate... & nothing.

- Brady fumbles the Raiders to probably a loss v the Rams. Belichick went with Brady over Bledsoe with both healthy - Bledsoe still gets traded for more value. Patriots still go to a few SBs & probably win a couple rings.

NCAA:

- Fab Five become the 2013 Seattle Seahawks 2 decades earlier.

CYCLING:

- Armstrong maybe wins a single Tour de France. Keep in mind that entire US Postal team was juicing... & it does take a team to win that thing no matter what ppl say. Then again, he'd have needed a clean field to compete against & most were (still are) juicing.

Keep in mind- alt universe clean Armstrong? That guy is riding every single year but we never ever hear about him or know his name - because that guy isn't winning.

SOCCER:

- ENG footy is fuelled in part by its destiny to follow up 1966. They're like the Toronto Maple Leafs who feel entitled to be due for a championship - just because the sport was grown from its roots lols. Trust me, I'm a fan of both teams lols.

OLYMPICS... now we're talkin...

- Dream Team probably doesn't play in the Olympics but David Stern probably creates a World Cup for pros like his peon Gary Bettman has for NHLers. To that point, the NHL probably doesn't ever start going to the Olympics either.

- Shaq might not have seen too many minutes anyways. Isiah Thomas was not injured - it was a one Michael Jordan who froze him out of eligibility, you can look that up right now.

- NBC is a f'n joke for that. Even in the globalized tech age, & when sports has become the single remaining must watch live tv programming... they're still tape delaying.

... this is how fcuked up that is... the 100m sprint Final wasn't even shown live. Unless one of their pet MSNBC/CNBC/cable feeds had it...

That fact is completely unacceptable.

- Large event security remains lax for at least a couple more years/decades.

- If the USSR ramained intact through their financial burdens? They'd still be top 5-10 medalist nation. Keep in mind, their sporting machine hasn't really ever gone away. Citizens are 2nd class compared to their prime athletes & programs.

NASCAR:

- Earnhardt brought a lot of casual sports eyeballs to the show... his death galvanized even the mainstream... though this current dip in interest probably would've been merely delayed. I think of NASCAR as WWE in cars - personalities/storylines - take away the stars like Hogan & Austin, it erodes - but those guys still walk away old age eventually.

VOLLEYBALL/Soccer:

- Absolutely. Same goes for soccer I think also - if the USA had been a soccer power for the past 50yrs, guys like Kobe, LeBron, Megatron, Russell Wilson, Barry Sanders, Mike Trout, Phil Kessel, etc etc would be playing in WC final fours every other tourney.

That's already what Brazil does yes?

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If Kobe & Shaq actually liked each other? Another 3 titles, at least, guaranteed. Perhaps not in a row or bunched up... yet that duo & talent they could invite to the Lakers would be a winning machine.

It depends. Actually, that team had more talent around the two in 1998, when their relationship wasn't made as public (from what I remember). It seemed to me that the problem was team chemistry as a whole, not just their relationship. If I am correct, then Phil Jackson made more of a difference than I thought, and it wouldn't have mattered if they didn't like each other or not. Shaq even said in 2000 on ESPN that he would have wanted to be traded if they didn't get a better coach like Phil.

I've always thought & said that had the Bills defeated the Giants, they would not have returned to the SB right away. The redemptive hunger kept them sharp, until they ran out of juice. I do think they would've returned to another SB game, yet that core isn't beating DAL-SF-GB no chance. 1-1 SB record. Not as famous as 0-4.

I still think that they return in 1991, and lose to the Skins in a much closer game. However, in 92, they aren't as motivated to beat the Saints, Dolphins, and 49ers on the road (games they should have lost, anyway), and they go 8-8 and miss the postseason. That opens up the door for the Oilers to make their SB run, and they go to Pasadena and lose to Dallas.

Then, in 93, the Bills bounce back and win the East since Marino got hurt, but they win 10 games instead of 12, and don't get home field. KC plays the Oilers a week later, and that makes the difference. Oilers go back, and take care of Dallas this time. Also, the Oilers don't break up, and Moon retires an Oiler.

From 94 on, Buffalo may make one more SB trip, but since the Oilers are still viable with Moon, they don't have Pittsburgh's number anymore, and there are future threats in Denver, New England, and Jacksonville looming on the horizon, the odds are against them.

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If Kobe & Shaq actually liked each other? Another 3 titles, at least, guaranteed. Perhaps not in a row or bunched up... yet that duo & talent they could invite to the Lakers would be a winning machine.

It depends. Actually, that team had more talent around the two in 1998, when their relationship wasn't made as public (from what I remember). It seemed to me that the problem was team chemistry as a whole, not just their relationship. If I am correct, then Phil Jackson made more of a difference than I thought, and it wouldn't have mattered if they didn't like each other or not. Shaq even said in 2000 on ESPN that he would have wanted to be traded if they didn't get a better coach like Phil.

If they kept Shaq and Kobe together, I think the Lakers might have gotten one more title tops. At the time I thought they made the wrong call keeping Kobe over Shaq, but I was dead wrong. I didn't realize how great Kobe was and also how close to the end Shaq was. 2005-06 was his last year averaging 20 ppg, and he was missing time like crazy. If anything, keeping Shaq around leads to the Lakers behaving differently. They don't have the cap space to trade for Gasol, so they wouldn't win in 09 and 10.

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What if Mario Lemieux's career isn't decimated by injuries (and cancer)? Does he break some of Gretzky's records? Where would he stand all-time?

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Cardinals related:

What if the Yankees got that 4th victory against Boston in 2004 ? I have to believe the Cards would have 3 WS wins in 12 years instead of 2. That Yankees rotation left a lot to be desired and the Cardinals would've beaten them in 6, maybe 5. The '04 team was the second best Cardinal team of my lifetime behind the next one in my second what if scenario.

What if Denkinger made the right call ? Whitey wouldn't have waited 10 years to get into Cooperstown and the Cards of the 80's would've been considered one of the great teams in history. Instead they're a footnote.

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What if Mario Lemieux's career isn't decimated by injuries (and cancer)? Does he break some of Gretzky's records? Where would he stand all-time?

I don't think he breaks Wayne's records, yet he's probably a lot closer.

Wayne has more assists than anyone else has total points.

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Referee Walter Coleman rules the play stands as call, the Oakland Raiders lose to the Steelers in the AFC Championship and Jon Gruden is hired to coach the Buccaneers to Super Bowl XXXVII. The Steelers are creamed by the Rams, Kurt Warner wins a second Super Bowl MVP.

Tom Brady loses the job in an open competition to Drew Bledsoe in training camp and is traded to the Cleveland Browns for a two first round picks

When Brady got the Pats to the playoffs, the job was his for good, in my opinion. Belichick is more of a team-oriented guy. Bledsoe was expendable at that point because of his contract.

If the Rams do beat the Steelers, they may get back again the next year because the vibe around the team would have been much better. And, Warner probably stays a Ram for life. However, I don't know if they become a dynasty because of draft day retardation.

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What if Mario Lemieux's career isn't decimated by injuries (and cancer)? Does he break some of Gretzky's records? Where would he stand all-time?

I don't think he breaks Wayne's records, yet he's probably a lot closer.

Wayne has more assists than anyone else has total points.

Gretzky's career points-per-game average was 1.92. Mario's was 1.88. I think it's very reasonable to think that he could've beaten some of Gretzky's records.

Look at his stats from the late '80s/early '90s - if you pro-rate the numbers, he was on pace to beat Gretzky's single-season goals (92) and points (215) records for a few of those years. That's not even taking into account how more productive he would've been if he was playing all those games at 100%.

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Cardinals related:

What if the Yankees got that 4th victory against Boston in 2004 ? I have to believe the Cards would have 3 WS wins in 12 years instead of 2. That Yankees rotation left a lot to be desired and the Cardinals would've beaten them in 6, maybe 5. The '04 team was the second best Cardinal team of my lifetime behind the next one in my second what if scenario.

What if Denkinger made the right call ? Whitey wouldn't have waited 10 years to get into Cooperstown and the Cards of the 80's would've been considered one of the great teams in history. Instead they're a footnote.

I also like the Cardinals (they are one of my favorite teams), and I agree with you about all of this.

With the 1985 one, I wonder if Andujar returns if they win it all instead of leaving for Oakland as a FA. I also wonder if they would have given the Mets more of a run in 86 without that WS hangover.

If they win in 04, though, are they as motivated in 06, or do the Mets win that year?

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Andujar's temper tantrums were wearing thin with Whitey and Gussie, but I think he would've been back for another year. The Cards of 1986 don't beat the Mets , but the N.L. East would've been competitive all year long.

TLR and the 06 Cards still would've been motivated to win it all. Especially TLR. He needed a 2nd WS to finally get out of Whitey's shadow.

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