The What if Game

In the world of football there are moments that change everything. There are moments when the future of a football team is decided. A great example of this is “The Catch.” in the 1982 NFC Championship, Joe Montana found Dwight Clark in the back of the end zone for a somewhat miraculous win. The 49ers went on to have one of the NFL’s legendary dynasties. Playing the what if game puts history under fire imagining the different possibilities. What if the ball sailed over Clark’s head? Lets play the what if game in more recent moments.

What if the Ravens traded up to draft Matt Ryan in the 2008 draft. If memory serves me correctly the Ravens would have had to include Terrell Suggs. The Ravens would had given away one of their best players and who knows what else to get Matt Ryan. In reality they got Joe Flacco, who has a ring that Ryan does not.

Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco have had similar levels of success. Matt Ryan has flashier statistics but Flacco has been more clutch in the playoffs. We also have to remember that Matt Ryan has had much better offensive talent around him. The Falcons have had Roddy White, Julio Jones and Tony Gonzales. With this phenomenal group Ryan failed to get Atlanta over the hump. The price of the trade was not worth it and this is evidenced by Flacco’s resume.

What if Lee Evans caught the game winning touchdown against the Patriots in the 2011 AFC Championship game? The 2011 Baltimore Ravens would have gone to the Super Bowl to play the Giants. The Ravens defense would have beaten up Eli Manning and Joe Flacco would have torched the New York secondary. Joe Flacco would have been a Super Bowl hero a year earlier.

However if Lee Evans never dropped the pass, Baltimore would have never found Justin Tucker. In reality Billy Cundiff showed his true colors, shanking a kick that would have ensured an overtime. Cundiff was a basket case kicker. He was a ticking time bomb. He was going to miss a big kick, it was only a matter of when he would. If Cundiff never got to kick in the AFC Championship game, he would have hurt us later. Can you imagine if it happened in the Super Bowl? If any good came from that heartbreak, we learned we need a new kicker. Justin Tucker has been phenomenal for the Ravens.

There are thousands of “What if’s” in football. This is just a couple ones that caught my intrigue.

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