by Adam Greer
Bizarro is a superhero who stands for the exact opposite of everything Superman represents. He causes mass destruction and major potential disasters to society. His opposite behavior stems from believing in what he is doing; as the correct way. Similar to Bizarro, (or maybe the opposite, depending on how you look at it) this bracket represents the Bizarro sports world. Imagine if some of the greatest moments in sports had opposite outcomes.
In this bracket, I break down each seed and explain the “almost” life-changing events, that took place. Each winner will be determined by YOU! Fans can click on the link below, to decide the winner of each match-up. I urge fans to vote for winners that would’ve changed the biggest course of sports history. As fans vote, I will add more details to the events for better comparisons on the match-ups.
Below has all the information for each seed.
You can vote on each match-up here: Bizarro Bracket
The What If Region
1. Brees was a Dolphin – In 2006, Drew Brees became a free agent after the Chargers were being cheap. He wanted to go to Miami but the team doctors did not pass his physical. Thus, signing with New Orleans.
2. Houston beat NC ST, 1983 – Houston had two chances to put the game away at the free throw line. They missed both and NC ST did the rest. Had Houston won, we’d consider them one of the greatest teams of all time. Would’ve finished with a record of 32-2!
3. Gary Anderson makes kick, 1998 – In the NFC Championship game, the Vikings were up 7 with under 2 mins to go. They set Anderson up for a FG to go up ten, and end the game. He missed, Falcons go on to score 13 unanswered points to win. Maybe the best NFL team to never win it all.
4. Nancy Kerrigan never got whacked – Imagine if Tonya Harding went to the 1994 Olympics without this hanging over her scores. There was absolutely no way she was winning gold by the judges. Does this change if Kerrigan never got whacked?
5. USA made World Cup, 2018 – The general public has been questioning the entire USA men’s soccer system. From our committee to the waterboy; nobody can be trusted. We suck. But, had we made the World Cup, would we just shut up and play soccer?
6. There was no 3 point line – Youtube an old NBA game with no three-point line. The spacing is awful. It looks like a rugby game. Imagine if that’s how the game was played today!
7. Laettner missed the shot – One of the greatest college basketball moments ever. Would the 90s Duke teams be remembered the same way? Probably not.
8. Michael Dyer was tackled, 2010 – In the 2010 BCS Championship Game, Oregon and Auburn were tied at 19 with 2 mins left. Auburn had the ball at their own 40 when Cam took the snap and gave it to Dyer. Dyer ran it to the right side as Oregon players closed in and piled on. Dyer fell on another player as everyone stopped. Although Oregon players and even Auburn players thought he was down, he got up and kept running. Instead of a 5-yard run, it turned in to a 40-yard run and closed out the game.
9. Chris Webber traveled – In 1993, Chris Webber famously called a timeout when Michigan didn’t have any left. North Carolina missed their second free throw and Webber grabbed it. As Webber was looking to inbound it to Jalen Rose, he traveled. But the refs missed it and allowed the play to continue. This lead to Webber dribbling into the corner and calling timeout. Had the refs, simply called the travel. Would this have changed the Michigan-Webber relationship?
10. USA basketball gold, 1972 – One of the worst moments in Olympic history. USA men’s basketball won gold, not once, but twice. However, the refs made the American’s try and win it a third time; in which we lost. This loss sparked USA basketball to improve and come back pissed off to win. It was a good wake up call. I always wonder if we would have the same expectations, had we actually won.
11. Bush push was a flag – USC drove the length of the field to beat Notre Dame. As Matt Leinart tried to score, he was pushed back by Notre Dame. Luckily for USC, Reggie Bush sprinted up and pushed Leinart into the end zone. The refs never called the penalty and awarded USC the touchdown. Imagine how Notre Dame and USC would be if this play goes the other way.
12. No conferences in NBA – Adam Silver and many other NBA fans have always discussed changing the playoff format. Although this is more hypothetical, imagine how the past NBA finals would have played out.
13. Dale Earnhardt won Daytona, 2001 – Dale Earnhardt was one of the greatest drivers of all time. In 2001, his 3 car crashed into turn 4, at Daytona. Although NASCAR lost a hero, his death impacted the need for higher standards of safety in cars.
14. Blazers draft Jordan – In 1984, Portland drafted Sam Bowie. He was coming off a stress fracture at Kentucky, so it made total sense. This is a great what if, but let’s be honest, Jordan would’ve dominated there. But the famous Jordan Bulls would’ve been Pippen’s Bulls.
15. Phelps comes in second, 2008 – This is a 15-seed because had Phelps come in second place, he still would’ve been the best Olympian ever. However, this finish is the greatest moment of his career and closed out 8 golds in 2008.
16. Blake Gideon made catch, 2008 – #1 Texas was beating #7 Texas Tech when Longhorn’s safety Blake Gideon dropped an easy interception with 9 seconds left. The game would’ve ended and Texas would’ve survived. However, Gideon dropped it causing for one of the best finishes in college football history. Had Gideon caught the pick, my BGSU dorm would’ve messed out on yelling and screaming, a play later.
The Should’ve Could’ve Would’ve Region
1. Butler beat Duke, 2010 – Gordon Hayward missed a halfcourt shot at the buzzer to beat Duke, in the title. After the shot hit the rim, Jim Nantz seemed almost disappointed when he realized Duke (by default) had won the title.
2. Reggie makes layup, 2004 – The Pacers were up 1-0 in the Eastern Conference Finals vs. the Pistons when Reggie Miller had a chance to put the Pacers up, 2-0.
3. Brady fumbles vs. Oakland, 2001 – We all know this one. What if the Tuck Game never happened. Jon Grunden would’ve stayed in Oakland longer and possibly, won the Super Bowl.
4. James Quick got the first down, 2016 – Lamar Jackson found James Quick going over the middle vs Clemson. Louisville was going in for the win. The problem was, Quick didn’t realize how many yards he needed to gain. Imagine Clemson being eliminated from the playoff and possibility of this launching Louisville football to the next step.
5. Steinbrenner buys Indians – Before Steinbrenner bought the Yankees, he wanted the Indians. The problem was, the Tribe weren’t for sale. Imagine the Indians spending as much money as possible and NOT being last in attendance. That’s bizarro.
6. Thunder close out Golden State, 2016 – Durant stays, Cavs win the title last year? This sucks to think about…
7. VT and Miami stay in Big East – The Big East broke up because of football but imagine the ramifications for college basketball had this not happened. It created a domino effect with other teams. Also, the ACC is launching their new network this fall. Obviously, that doesn’t happen without the Canes and VT.
8. Oklahoma State goes to BCS Title, 2011 – Oklahoma State got screwed over in the BCS era. They were a great team that never made it to the title game. Had they reached the title game, it would’ve been a great matchup vs. Auburn. Would OK ST be an A caliber program today?
9. Grady Little pulled Pedro – Does Boston win the World Series a year before? Is Pedro’s legacy altered? Is Aaron Boone the manager today without this moment?
10. Ohio State beats Purdue, 2000 – I was at this game. Brees threw a bomb to beat Ohio State. Purdue went on to win the Big Ten. John Cooper was fired at the end of the season. If Ohio State beats Purdue and wins the Big Ten; is Jim Tressel ever hired in 2001?
11. Len Bias lives, 1986 – Len Bias died on a drug overdose the night he was drafted by the Celtics. He was a very talented player at Maryland. This is a tragedy that left so many what-ifs.
12. Cardinals won SB XLII – Kurt Warner’s legacy would’ve gone from 1 ring to 2. He would be propelled to the next level of great QBs.
13. Ray blocks for Rev, 1971 – In the movie, Remember the Titans, Ray was racist and refused to block for Rev. Rev ended up getting hurt and out for the season. Sunshine came in and the rest is history. Does TC Williams win state if Rev was still running the triple option?
14. Clinton wins election, 2016 – The National Anthem drama doesn’t happen but an even better what-if; would Trump own an XFL team in 2020???
15. Salary Cap in baseball – If the MLB had a salary cap, would the league look the same today? Probably not.
16. Buckner stopped ball – Kinda mainstream but nevertheless, Boston fans might be a little nicer today, had they won in 86. `
The Almost Region
1. JT was short, 2016 – Ask @WLScopilot about this lol.
2. Bledsoe never got hurt – The Patriots traded Jimmy G because they knew his value and his ability to play QB. Would they have traded Brady if Bledsoe never gave him an opportunity to play? What team would Brady be on now?
3. LeBron wasn’t compared to Jordan – What if we actually just enjoyed Lebron James ability to play basketball. What if we weren’t constantly comparing him to Jordan. Would Skip Bayless or Nick Wright be employed?
4. Colts run the fumble back – Nick Harper had a chance to get Peyton Manning another ring. The Bus would’ve been remembered for this fumble and not winning the Super Bowl. Probably Ben’s best non-Super Bowl play ever. A great, what-if.
5. Norwood makes kick, 1991 – We probably still make fun of the Bills going 1-3 in Super Bowls but it would change the course of history for this dynasty. 1 ring is better than 0 rings. Just ask the Bills and every other NFL franchise without a Super Bowl.
6. Cubs win World Series, 2003 – In 2016, I had to listen to Joe Buck and Fox cheer for the Cubs to win the world series. If Steve Bartman doesn’t get in the way, the Cubs break the curse in 2003. If you add Little pulling Pedro, we would’ve had Cubs vs. Red Sox with a huge sports draught ending.
7. No fantasy sports – Without fantasy sports, what else would Browns fans have on Sundays? Also, would we have the red zone channel, the stat tracker or even iMessages filled with friends bashing each other over a game?
8. No Challenges or Reviews – Would save us so much time! I know, they need to get the call right. But damn, reviewing everything nowadays gets old. Go watch a March Madness game in the final two minutes; it takes about 30 mins with reviews. Also, Dez caught it.
9. Dan Marino won Super Bowl – Dan Marino’s stats are incredible. For playing in the 80s and 90s, he was really the first to fling it around the field. He’s remembered for being great, but imagine his status if he won the Super Bowl in 1984.
10. Alabama beat Auburn, 2017 – If Alabama beats Auburn, we get Alabama vs. Georgia in Atlanta, in December. The committee would’ve been in a very difficult decision. While also, changing the course of the Rose Bowl.
11. Phil Knight doesn’t go to Oregon – Would Oregon football be flashy if Phil Knight didn’t go to Oregon? I’m pretty sure they would be another Oregon State, but having Nike altered the universe for the Ducks. From jerseys to the brand and the facilities; Phil Knight and Nike put the Ducks on the map years ago.
12. Georgetown gets Iverson, the football player – Allen Iverson was one of the best high school football players in the nation. Georgetown wanted him as a football player but he wisely chose basketball. Had he picked football, would the Hoyas be a legit FBS school in the Big East? Awesome what-if to think about.
13. Charlie Conway makes varsity – Adam Banks made varsity, setting off Conway and the JV. Had the varsity taken Conway, would the rivalry be the same? Conway would’ve been the cocky freshman who made varsity that left his former Ducks behind. Similar to Hogan joining the NWO; Conway would’ve been the snake on the Warriors (before Durant).
14. Lewis Billups makes the interception – The 49ers beat the Bengals when Montana hit Taylor for a TD, to win. On the play before, Lewis Billups dropped a would-be interception and Super Bowl win for the Bengals. If he holds on, the great Bengals dynasty gets a ring and Browns fans would be even more depressed.
15. Ewing makes finger roll, 1995 – Patrick Ewing had a chance to beat the Pacers in Game 7. He missed a wide open finger roll to go to the finals. Not saying they win it all, but you never know with John Starks running the show. Sorry, Spike you choked again.
16. MD Jennings makes the interception – This play represents the NFL official strike. After this play happened on MNF, a deal got done two days later. If this play is called an interception, the strike goes on.
The We Had That Game Region
1. Rudy was offsides – If only this were true. We wouldn’t have to hear or watch a two-hour movie about a kid that sucked at football.
2. Kings beat the Lakers – If the Kings beat the Lakers, does this alter the Lakers dynasty and shut up the conspiracy theorist?
3. No NFL Films – We love football. It’s the best sport ever. Would we feel the same without NFL Films behind the scenes and access that we get more than any other sport?
4. Michigan punts, 2015 – This is probably the most embarrassing play in the history of Michigan football. What is ironic about this play; it kept Ohio State out of the playoff 😦
5. Oklahoma beats Boise – This is a big one because it set the tone for Boise State’s program and mid-majors attitude towards power 5 schools.
6. Houston beat Jordan’s Bulls – Jordan’s Bulls never played the Houston Rockets in the mid-90s. Jordan most likely loses one of those series. Which would make his record more like Brady’s. It’s a shame we never got this matchup.
7. Penny Hardaway stayed healthy – The 90s Magic teams are one of the greatest what-ifs in sports. Hardaway and Shaq were incredible. Injuries and bad trades ruined everything.
8. USA goes to Olympics, 1980 – I don’t get involved in politics, but there’s always a great what-if when we skip Olympics. President Carter decided it’s best we don’t go. Thus, making a major build up for 1984.
9. Barry Bonds was clean – Barry Bonds was the greatest hitter of all time. Had he been clean, he’d be right up there with Tiger, Brady, Jordan, Lebron, Manning. But we always leave him off because of the steroids.
10. John Madden flew – It’s amazing John Madden announced games all over the country but never flew. He would take his bus and log in the hours of travel. This would take a toll on anyone; even for an old fart like him. But I didn’t mind him calling games. You never know how long his career would’ve been had he flown.
11. Urban Meyer coaches at Toledo – Nick Saban’s wife got a call from Urban Meyer asking if there was room on his staff at Toledo. Saban heard of Urban being an up and coming coach. But he never called him back. Imagine if these two would’ve been on the same staff.
12. Marshawn Lynch runs for the touchdown – Let’s be honest, this play altered the course for the Seahawks ever since. It also impacted Malcolm Butler and Brady’s career. Who knows what happens if Lynch scores a TD.
13. Jose Mesa got the save – The 90s Indians were great, but not having a World Series win was always the “yea but” part. This also impacts the Cavs title in 2016, as it would’ve been Cleveland’s second recent championship win.
14. Chargers keep Eli – This has been talked about plenty, but would Phillip Rivers actually calm down because he had two rings in New York?
15. Babe Ruth stayed in Boston – Boston and New York will forever be the best rivalry in all pro sports. But their baseball hatred is at another level. Although the Babe-trade isn’t the entire rivalry; it is definitely the starting point.
16. No sideline reporters – NO MORE SHITTY QUESTIONS!!!