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What the IF? A hypothetical sports journey

John Reidy Avatar
May 27, 2016


Just-my-take (1)The reason we love things like time travel in movies is because of the big What If? What if the Nazis won World War II? What if Cliff Burton never died? What if Terrell Davis never tore his ACL?

Hypothetical situations can keep you entertained for hours debating friends and loved ones, and will never come to a conclusion because they can’t be proven or summed up in anyway.
But they sure are fun.

Sports arguments are filled with nothing but hypotheticals and here are three hypothetical sports situations I’d like to posit for you amusement and endless debate over the holiday weekend.

If you could take on the injury of an important player on a team you follow, would you? And how much would it take? Let’s take for example Terrell Davis who famously tore his ACL running down a defensive back who had just intercepted a Brian Griese pass. With the reigning league MVP in Davis, the Broncos had a pretty good shot at a third Super Bowl victory. But Davis blew out his knee and he was never the same again. The Broncos went on to stumble to a 6-10 season and the What If? of a Broncos three-peat would be torn asunder like TD’s knee.

But if you could have magically taken on Davis’ knee injury and kept him on the field, what would it take? Free medical attention would, of course, be offered, but I think a payday of around one million dollars would have to be at least the starting point. If Lebron James breaks his ankle tonight, I’m sure dozens of fans would line up to take on the injury. But if you think about how much money there is to be made with a healthy Lebron remaining in the game, a million dollars seems like a good start. Because if you’ve ever broken a bone or had surgery, you feel it for a long time. But a million dollars would help you get through. And you were just going to sit on the couch and watch them play anyway right?

Here’s another.
If you could guarantee your favorite team would win a championship before you died, what would you sacrifice? If you’re a Cleveland Browns fan, do you offer your proverbial left nut? Or do you allow your soul to be harvested by a cartoonish grim reaper minutes after the final gun sounds as you bask in the glory of finally seeing it happen? It may depend on the team. While Browns fans may give precious body parts to see a championship, Pats and Broncos fans might just give up carbs for a few months to see one since it’s all too common now. But if I told you last year the Broncos would win the Super Bowl if you agreed to wear Raiders gear for an entire year after, would you have taken the deal?

But here’s a real fun one.
What if you could pick any NFL team to be bad for the rest of recorded history. I’m talking like Browns bad until the end of time. That team would be horrific forever, but the catch is that two other rival teams would have to win championships within five years of making the deal.

For our purposes here, we’ll be choosing between AFC West teams. I’d be ok with the Chargers winning a Super Bowl, because San Diego is a beautiful city that has known nothing but losing for a long time. And the team has threatened to move so many times, the fans there have lost perspective on what it means to compete for a title. Phillip Rivers may be retired by then so you wouldn’t have to see him celebrate and it would just be like seeing your ex with a marginally good looking person, but who had bad teeth. You’d take it.

The Chiefs I’d be ok with as well. Despite their large size and low IQs, Chiefs fans are some of the best in the NFL. And they too have suffered for a long time. Think about it: KC is one of the more storied franchises in the NFL and Chiefs fans are stuck with Andy Reid and Alex Smith. You can cut them a little slack and let them win a Super Bowl can’t you?

So the obvious choice to keep a team dreadful until the end of time would have to be the Raiders. Raider fans are garbage people that infest our country like the noxious sludge you find at the bottom of your outside trash can where you keep the grass clipping and dog poo. I have to see at least three to four Raiders stickers a day while driving around Denver and it would give me nothing but pleasure to know that these morons will never get to celebrate anything nice ever again. You’d suffer through Chargers and Chiefs Super Bowl wins just for that wouldn’t you? You would.

But unfortunately, it’s just a hypothetical. Even so, its purpose is to take us out of our boring, daily reverie. We have big imaginations and in sports talk, we don’t wonder whether x + y = z, but if z + f = q. It’s the nature and the core of the sports debate. Since most arguments can be borne out on the field, the better debates are ones that can’t ever be proven. And that’s what makes them fun.

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