SB Nation is having another theme week, and the topic this time is ‘What if...’ — all week long, we will take a look at different scenarios, and we’ll continue things today by getting you all involved: so share your answers with us!
Football is inevitably a game of ‘what if...’ as just a single play could change the outcome of games one way or the other. Just look at last year’s New England Patriots playoff run — one that ended with the team winning its sixth Super Bowl title. Had Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Dee Ford not lined up offsides two weeks earlier in the AFC Championship negating an interception, the Patriots may not have been able to make the trip to Atlanta.
Such thought experiments are mostly pushed by those on the losing side, and far more often than not the last 20 years this was not the Patriots. The team was still on the losing side every now and then, and asking ‘what if...’ could potentially alter the outcome of those games. The most prominent example might just be New England’s loss in Super Bowl 42 against the New York Giants, when the quest for a perfect season was spoiled.
The Patriots had numerous moments in this game with any one of which potentially changing the final result. The three most prominent of them all came on the Giants’ game-winning drive late in the fourth quarter:
- What if New England stopped the Giants on 4th and 1?
- What if Asante Samuel held onto a possible interception by Eli Manning?
- What if David Tyree’s helmet wasn’t made of Velcro?
If any one of those three plays ends in a different result, one not favoring the Giants, the Patriots might come away victoriously in Super Bowl 42 and in turn won their fourth title seven years earlier than they ultimately did. Alas, the plays unfolded like they did and New England came up short. Thoughts of ‘what if...’ still float around this game and the lost goal of going 19-0, but there are more moments in Patriots history like that.
So what would you do if you could change any play in the franchise’s past? Would you change the outcome of Super Bowl 42 or another game? Let us know in the comments!