Remember that play? It would have changed everything.
Sure it’s revisionist’s history now, but one simple flick of Brett Favre’s wrist changed the careers of Brad Childress, Leslie Frazier, Jen Sterger, Drew Brees, Randy Moss, and many more.
But what if Favre had just thrown an incompletion? You won’t believe how different things would be today.
An incompletion instead of an interception would have given the Vikings the ball on the Saints' 38-yard line. Ryan Longwell would have kicked a 55-yard field goal to send Minnesota to the Super Bowl.
He was two-for-two from 50+ yards last year and is eight-for-eight from that distance over the last three years. In a dome, Longwell would have had no trouble.
Super Bowl XLIV wasn't Peyton Manning's best effort and the Vikings were every bit as good as the Saints last year.
Brad Childress would have never been fired. As a Super Bowl winner, Childress would have kept his job no matter what the Vikings record was this year.
Super Bowl winning coaches don't get fired the following year.
Leslie Frazier would be the coach of the Buffalo Bills. Frazier has been a head coach candidate for years and finally would have gotten a job during the offseason after helping the Vikings to a Super Bowl win.
Seattle interviewed Frazier but seemed locked into Pete Carroll. But a Super Bowl win would have earned Frazier the job in Buffalo over Chan Gailey.
Jimmy Clausen would be a Viking. Unconvinced of the long-term prospects of Tavaris Jackson, the Vikings would have taken a quarterback with their first choice in the 2010 NFL Draft.
It's possible that the Vikings would have taken Colt McCoy, but Clausen was almost unanimously thought to be the better pro prospect.
No one would know who Jen Sterger is. With Favre no longer active, the NFL would have easily been able to brush the Sterger situation under the rug.
Even ESPN wouldn't devote all its news coverage to the story if Favre wasn't in the league anymore.
Randy Moss would still be a Patriot. Minnesota wouldn't have been looking for a quick-fix at wide receiver and would have never traded for Moss. That means he never would have ended up on the Titans.
With a new quarterback in place the Vikings wouldn't have been looking for a short-term solution at wide receiver, and the New England Patriots certainly wouldn't have placed Moss on waivers for the AFC competitor Tennessee Titans to grab.
The Patriots wouldn't be 13-2. With their me-first receiver still on the roster, the Patriots offence wouldn't be as explosive as it is now.
It took ditching Moss for this team to discover its identity. The offence, with all its unselfish and versatile parts, is now perfectly suited to Tom Brady. But when Moss was involved there was clearly an elephant in the room.
The Jets beat New England when Moss was on the team, but when the Patriots diversified their offence the Darrelle Revis effect was mitigated. Revis took away a huge part of the offence when Moss was a Patriot, but now that New England has a bunch of smaller threats, there's no one clear guy for Revis to eliminate and his hold over the game disappears. With Moss still on board, that 45-3 thrashing a few weeks ago never happens.
He did a lot of great things for New Orleans, but without a title he wouldn't have won the award. It may have gone to Favre if there wasn't any scandal surrounding him, but it's more likely that one of Armando Galarraga, Edison Pena, Brooks Laich, Roy Halladay, Sidney Crosby, the San Francisco Giants, Ron Artest, Josh Hamilton, Ndamukong Suh, Rafael Nadal, Kurt Warner, Kevin Durant, Geno Auriemma, Mike Krzyzewski, or Francesca Schiavone would have won the award.
Galarraga gets the nod for one of the best acts of sportsmanship we've seen in years.
A 2008 study by the Economic Inquiry revealed that successful NFL teams can have a significant impact on local economies and can raise local per capita incomes by over $100 a year. A Super Bowl winning team would have had an even greater effect. The Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area is the 16th largest in the country and has around 3 million residents. The rest of the state would surely have seen a boost too, so we're talking about some big bucks.
The Vikings would be getting a new stadium in Minnesota. With the additional Super Bowl revenue, the Vikings would be deep into plans to build a new stadium.
The play wouldn't have stopped the Metrodome's roof from collapsing, but the extra revenue from the Super Bowl would have been a big help towards getting a new stadium. Plus, there's no way Minneapolis would allow rumours of a potential 'Vikings to Los Angeles' move to circulate the year after they won the title. Plans would already be in action to build the team a new home.
Without Moss the Patriots wouldn't be 13-2, and the Steelers (11-4), Ravens (11-4), and Jets (10-5) would be competing with them for homefield advantage in the AFC this weekend.
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