Red Comet

Legendary Sports Moments Had Things Gone Differently

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1996-97 NFL playoffs: Jacksonville pull off the upset against New England in the AFC title game, and the Panthers pull off some black magic to beat the Packers in Lambeau over in the NFC. the Super Bowl is played between two teams with a combined four seasons played.

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What if the Quebec Nordiques don't move in 1995 and either stick around for one more season or somehow get a miracle arena deal in Quebec City and don't relocate at all?

-For one thing the legendary rivalry with Detroit doesn't happen, since the only way they'd face each other is in the '96 Stanley Cup Finals - a possibility but unlikely IMO, since it's hard for me to imagine a Roy-less Quebec team getting past Florida's stifling defence in the East; the same team that knocked off the powerhouse Penguins in real life.

-For another though, if Quebec doesn't move the Patrick Roy trade doesn't happen as is, since not only would Montreal be totally unwilling to deal their star goalie to a provincial rival, but since the schedule would be totally different the 11-1 loss to Detroit that served as the final straw for his relationship with coach Mario Tremblay doesn't happen either.

So does that relationship mend in a timeline where the Nordiques survive to play1995-96? If not, do the Canadiens, with the benefit of more time to see how things are degenerating, do the smart-in-hindsight thing and fire Tremblay to keep their franchise player happy? If they don't, where does Roy go when he eventually asks for a trade? (I would personally argue for St. Louis, since Mike Keenan was their GM and he was always looking to make a trade; also he'd have motivation in trying to keep up with the powerhouse Red Wings.) Wherever he does go, how does that change the playoff picture and the makeup of the league in 1996 and beyond?

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Posted (edited)
On 5/2/2020 at 5:23 PM, ~Bear said:

Surprised no one has mentioned Larry Fitzgerald's TD in Super Bowl 43. Had the Steelers not marched downfield and scored, that catch goes from one of the all-time forgotten plays to an all-time great play. On top of that, if the Cardinals stopped the Steelers, the Santonio Holmes catch also wouldn't have happened, and Ken Whisenhunt becomes a SB-winning coach :blink: 

 

Also from SB 43: What if Kurt Warner's fumble (which Pittsburgh recovered) was reviewed and overturned, with Arizona managing to miraculously score? We would have had the Super Bowl Champion Arizona Cardinals. Let that sink in--it still sounds odd to this day.

 

Since The Last Dance is still fresh in people's minds: Game 6 of the 1998 NBA Finals. I'm barely touching the event that is infamous in Utah Jazz fandom known only as "The Push Off." What if Howard Eisley's 3-pointer (which was out of his hands by a second) had not been waived off, or that Ron Harper's jumper (which was allowed but may have been after the shot clock expired) was waived off? "The Push Off" and "The Shot" never happen, as it's a potential 5-point swing in what was a 1-point game. With Jordan being Jordan and the 1990s Bulls being the 1990s Bulls, Chicago could still have won Game 6, and who knows what would've happened in Game 7, but the point is: We'd at least have a Game 7.

 

Also: 2011 World Series, Game 6 (what is it with these Game 6's?). Neftali Feliz strikes out David Freese. No miraculous comeback for St. Louis as the Texas Rangers put an end to the St. Louis Cardinals' "Devil Magic" and win the title.

 

And now, finally: Not sure if it quite what we're looking for, but Super Bowl 50 (or to this Panthers fan, Super Bowl L). Cam Newton actually dives on the fumbled ball. Would Carolina have actually made it a closer game or won? What would have Cam Newton's legacy be like now?

 

Edited by DustDevil61
Added 2011 World Series, Super Bowl 50, wordage cleanup

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Posted (edited)

1998 NBA Finals Game 6 had at least three moments (not named “push-off, or no?”) which could have nullified Jordan’s finals-winning shot in some form:

 

- Howard Eisley sinks a three pointer in the second quarter to beat the shot clock, but it gets waived off by Dick Bavetta claiming he hadn’t gotten it off it time. Broadcast replays showed that Eisley had gotten the shot off. It’s impossible to say everything else would’ve happened as it had after, and maybe Jordan never takes the shot. But for the sake of the subject let’s say the game’s forthcoming events happen same way, then the score is 89-85 by the time Jordan strips the ball from Malone and hits his shot. It brings the Bulls within a point rather than win the game; the Bulls would’ve been at the mercy of fouling and would’ve had to either tie it or win it with little time left after, with no guarantees either would’ve happened.

 

- In a similar play, with the Jazz up 79-77 with four minutes to go in the game, Ron Harper supposedly beats the shot clock to tie the game, though again, broadcast replays show the opposite; Harper did not get it off in time. Bob Costas even comments on the five point swing the Bulls get with Harper’s shot upheld and Eisley’s taken away. If Eisley’s shot still doesn’t count and neither does Harper’s, then Jordan’s shot (again, IF he still takes it) only brings the Bulls within one point and we’re back to the mercy of what the Bulls can do with 5.2 seconds left. However, if Eisley’s shot counts and Harper’s doesn’t, then Jordan’s shot makes it 89-85, Jazz. There’s likely not enough time in 5.2 seconds for the Bulls to win, and it likely goes to a Game 7, again in Salt Lake City.

 

- Let’s say everything, including Jordan’s shot, happens exactly as it had. There was, again, still 5.2 seconds left and Jerry Sloan has called a timeout. John Stockton eventually missed the last shot of the game, a three. But simply put, what if he hits it? Jazz win 89-87, forcing game 7. Depending on what happens in Game 7 (I won’t attempt to write an alternate history guess, there’s no telling what could’ve happened), there’s a chance it’s Stockton’s shot, not Jordan’s that becomes a defining, historic shot.

 

You could add a fourth or even fifth possibility regarding if the refs call a push-off on Jordan or if he misses the shot (still potential for a Bulls offensive rebound and score), but in any case, that game is full of them. I still haven’t brought myself to watch the end of The Last Dance so I have no idea if any of these moments are addressed outside of Jordan’s shot, but man...what a game. And really, a forced game 7 still could’ve gone to the Bulls. Maybe Jordan hits another big shot in that one, and that shot is the legendary one. Maybe it’s Harper or Kukoc. But who knows? Maybe the Jazz take it and get a ring too. Maybe it’s Stockton, Malone, Hornacek, or Russell who hits a big one. We’ll never know.

 

EDIT: @DustDevil61 beat me to it as I typed! Same line of thinking, haha.

 

DOUBLE EDIT: A sixth possibility is that Jordan doesn’t steal the ball from Malone and never takes the ball down and shoots at all. The Jazz could have scored and widened the lead, or many other things could’ve happened (missed shot, foul, later turnover, etc) that takes more time and could’ve lent to multiple outcomes that bar Jordan’s shot from ever happening.

Edited by FinsUp1214
Thought of the sixth possibility

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Another one I thought of (I’ve been watching some classic 90’s NBA games as of late):

 

Just before Mario Elie’s series-winning “kiss of death” shot with 7.1 seconds left in Game 7 of the 1995 West Semis vs. Phoenix, Robert Horry threw a high pass that Elie had to reach up for. If Horry’s pass was too errantly high and went out of bounds, Elie never gets the shot off and Phoenix gets posession with the score still tied at 110. With a little over an extra second of time, there’s a chance Phoenix wins in regulation (or overtime), and if they did, it would’ve been Phoenix or San Antonio vs. Orlando in the finals. 

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I watched ESPN's "Last Dance" documentary on the 1998 Bulls.  The Dynasty was broken up too soon!  What if they had stayed together?  Certainty more playoff runs and possibly one more championship left in them. They could had been what the Spurs are now (20+ consecutive playoff appearances)  Would Elton Brand and Ron Artest be to MJ and Scottie to what Tim Duncan was to David Robinson in San Antonio? Would Phil Jackson still go on to coach Shaq and Kobe (R.I.P.) on the Lakers? Would we had been spared as MJ as a Washington Wizard? (still can't believed that happened!)

 

If "Dollar" Bill Wirtz was still alive, the Blackhawks would had never won any of those Stanley Cups and Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane would be star players on OTHER teams and the Blackhawks would continue to be awful with half-empty arenas and none of the games on TV.

 

Until 2016, I had painful memories of the Bartman game (2003 NLCS). Cubs/Yankees and especially Cubs/Red Sox in the World Series could had happened that year!  Instead, we had yet another World Series appearance by the Yankees (great players/manager but I had grown tired of seeing them every year in the WS, much like the 90s Braves earlier) and a Marlins franchise that was only 10 years old and already with a World Series win (speaking of which, what if the 1997 Indians had ended their drought much sooner instead?)  The What-ifs regarding the 2003 and 2004 Red Sox have already been mentioned earlier by other users.  2015 NLCS between Cubs and Mets could had been as painful as the 2003 NLCS had the Cubs not won it all in 2016.

 

I'm still angry about the 1994 strike.  We could had had Expos/White Sox in the World Series (or Expos/Yankees or Expos/Indians).  Expos would most likely still be around, but would Washington DC still be without a team?  Would the Braves had extended their playoff streak in 94 (they were one game ahead of the Astros in the Wild Card race when the season abruptly ended).  Maybe the Braves would had upset the Expos in the NLCS and won the WS sooner and ultimately repeat in 95?  Maybe Don Mattingly leads the Yankees to the World Series instead and Mattingly gets that ring two seasons earlier before the era of Jeter/Riviera/Posada/Torre?  Plenty of what-could-had-beens that season.

 

I was in diapers when the 1985 Bears won the Super Bowl.  I was hoping that 2006 Bears would upset the Colts so that Bears fans/media would stop memorizing about 1985 so much.  Had that happened, would Peyton Manning led the Colts to another Super Bowl appearance or would he remained in the class of "Great QBs that Didn't Win the Super Bowl" alongside Dan Marino, Dan Fouts, Jim Kelly, Warren Moon, Boomer Esiason, etc.

 

On a side note, this topic reminds me of this classic Gatorade commercial

 

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Posted (edited)

I don't want to be that guy, but I was more looking for moments that happened that were amazing and spectacular but were then overshadowed. Like Jermaine Kearses's catch in Super Bowl XLIV that was then overshadowed by the pants-on-head decision to throw the ball at the goal line. 

 

And that's the last I'll say of it. I really should be appreciative people are posting at all IMHO.

Edited by Red Comet

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The Braves combining to shutout the Twins through 9 innings of game 7 of the 1991 world series. Usually shutting down a team through 9 in a World Series elimination game would be legendary. Unfortunately for Atlanta, Jack Morris pitched 10 shutout innings, allowing 7 hits, in the single greatest pitching performance in World Series history

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2 hours ago, Maroon&Gold said:

The Braves combining to shutout the Twins through 9 innings of game 7 of the 1991 world series. Usually shutting down a team through 9 in a World Series elimination game would be legendary. Unfortunately for Atlanta, Jack Morris pitched 10 shutout innings, allowing 7 hits, in the single greatest pitching performance in World Series history

 

 

 

meme-larsen.png

 

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22 hours ago, Red Comet said:

I don't want to be that guy, but I was more looking for moments that happened that were amazing and spectacular but were then overshadowed. Like Jermaine Kearses's catch in Super Bowl XLIV that was then overshadowed by the pants-on-head decision to throw the ball at the goal line. 

 

And that's the last I'll say of it. I really should be appreciative people are posting at all IMHO.

If Derek Fisher doesn’t do *that* (or the clock operators don’t start the clock late) Tim Duncan has the signature shot of his career. 

 

https://youtu.be/NSnAvhvfniw

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On 5/26/2020 at 2:01 PM, disman00911 said:

I watched ESPN's "Last Dance" documentary on the 1998 Bulls.  The Dynasty was broken up too soon!  What if they had stayed together?  Certainty more playoff runs and possibly one more championship left in them. They could had been what the Spurs are now (20+ consecutive playoff appearances)  Would Elton Brand and Ron Artest be to MJ and Scottie to what Tim Duncan was to David Robinson in San Antonio? Would Phil Jackson still go on to coach Shaq and Kobe (R.I.P.) on the Lakers? Would we had been spared as MJ as a Washington Wizard? (still can't believed that happened!)

 

I didn't like that team, but you are right. That's what I was telling my friend the other day. MJ said that they should have played until they lost, and he is right. However, according to Jackie MacMullan of ESPN and Around The Horn, Reinsdorf didn't want the team to linger around as long as the 60's Celtics did. That's why I think he should have just let Krause break it up in 97 like he wanted to.

 

Krause was ready to trade Pippen to Boston for the sixth overall pick (which Jerry was going to use on T-Mac), but MJ and Reinsdorf said no. If Reinsdorf decided it was time to break it up. MJ and Phil are done right there, and Tim Floyd takes over as the new HC.

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if pass interference is called against Jimmy Smith in SB XLVII and the 49ers score, they complete a 22-point comeback. more importantly, Kaepernick has a ring.

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ESPN will re-air the game I will mention in this post tonight.

 

2003 Fiesta Bowl. If the refs did not call pass-interference on Glenn Sharpe allowing the 2002 Ohio State Buckeyes to win the BCS title, The Miami Hurricanes' already great early 2000's dynasty would have been longer, Larry Coker has two rings (at least, who knows how much more NC's they would have won, they could have been 2010s Bama), their dominance would have carried over to the ACC.

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An overshadowed moment(s) I just remembered:

 

1995 NBA Eastern Conference Finals, Game 4: Three go-ahead shots took place before Rik Smits finally ended it at the buzzer with a long-range 2, giving the Pacers a 94-93 win.

 

Any of these shots could have been the winner had the shots after them not been hit:

 

- Brian Shaw (ORL), 3-pt with 13.3 seconds left

- Reggie Miller (IND), 3-pt with 5.2 seconds left

- Penny Hardaway (ORL), 3-pt with 1.3 seconds left


All of them still left enough time for Smits to win it instead. Crazy game!

 

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16 hours ago, TrueYankee26 said:

ESPN will re-air the game I will mention in this post tonight.

 

2003 Fiesta Bowl. If the refs did not call pass-interference on Glenn Sharpe allowing the 2002 Ohio State Buckeyes to win the BCS title, The Miami Hurricanes' already great early 2000's dynasty would have been longer, Larry Coker has two rings (at least, who knows how much more NC's they would have won, they could have been 2010s Bama), their dominance would have carried over to the ACC.

 

I think the reality is that Larry Coker just wasn't that good of a head coach, didn't run a very good program, and basically just managed to almost get two national championships out of what he inherited from Butch Davis -- one of those teams being probably the greatest college football roster of all-time.  For one, those two teams were built under Davis, who ran a tight ship and guided Miami through sanctions.  They had strong leadership and didn't suffer the mental lapses Coker's later teams would.  Coker was more of a players coach -- if I remember correctly he got the job because he was who the players wanted.

 

Once the talent from the 2001 and 2002 teams left, there was no chance Coker was going to keep up what Miami had going.  His recruiting director from the time admitted they relied on sites like rivals.com to determine which high schoolers to target rather than doing their own scouting.  You can throw a rock in South Florida and there's a good chance you're going to hit an elite football prospect and they still took the laziest approach possible to recruiting.  Miami also didn't/couldn't keep up with the investments in football that other programs were making at the time.

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Dolphins sign Brees instead of Culpepper, Maybe Saban stays in south Florida and wins more games, actually pushes Pats for a few AFC east titles and then who knows. Bama never becomes Bama under Saban and Les Miles wins a couple more Nattys at LSU. Coach O eventually keeps USC job and starts building Pac 10 powerhouse. But, I like to sniff markers so, what do I know. 

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Two ideas I had in my head for this topic.

 

1. What if the Baltimore CFLers (Stallions in 95) won the 1994 Grey Cup over the BC Lions. Maybe winning the 1995 one would help the CFL be popular that the Browns couldn't move to Baltimore?

 

2. What if the Mighty Ducks came back from behind in Game Seven to beat New Jersey to win the Stanley Cup?

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On 5/29/2020 at 10:21 AM, See Red said:

 

I think the reality is that Larry Coker just wasn't that good of a head coach, didn't run a very good program, and basically just managed to almost get two national championships out of what he inherited from Butch Davis -- one of those teams being probably the greatest college football roster of all-time.  For one, those two teams were built under Davis, who ran a tight ship and guided Miami through sanctions.  They had strong leadership and didn't suffer the mental lapses Coker's later teams would.  Coker was more of a players coach -- if I remember correctly he got the job because he was who the players wanted.

 

Once the talent from the 2001 and 2002 teams left, there was no chance Coker was going to keep up what Miami had going.  His recruiting director from the time admitted they relied on sites like rivals.com to determine which high schoolers to target rather than doing their own scouting.  You can throw a rock in South Florida and there's a good chance you're going to hit an elite football prospect and they still took the laziest approach possible to recruiting.  Miami also didn't/couldn't keep up with the investments in football that other programs were making at the time.

 

Yeah, Miami would get good coaches, and they wouldn't stay for too long. You had Schnellenberger leave to go to the USFL after five years (which, in my opinion, was a mistake on his part), and then Jimmy Johnson left five years later (he had to. The 49ers and Cowboys were interested in him). Then, after the Erickson era (which did lead to two national titles and then a decline), Butch Davis leaves after six seasons to go to the Browns (another mistake).

 

As for Coker, you are right about the players wanting him. They said that in the 30 for 30 documentary The U Part 2. That documentary seemed to hint that they were looking at Barry Alvarez to replace Davis, but the players wanted to keep the status quo.

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