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WHAT IF?

48 PEYTON TO THE CHARGERS?

50 JOLTIN' JOE AND TEDDY BALLGAME HADN'T GONE TO WAR?

52 DREW BREES DIDN'T FAIL HIS DOLPHINS PHYSICAL?

55 A-ROD TO THE RED SOX?

56 THE U.S. HADN'T BEEN ROBBED AT WC 2002?

57 THE BAMBINO WENT TO THE WHITE SOX?

58 ROIDS WERE O.K.?

59 GRETZKY HADN'T MOVED?

60 TRUMP HAD MADE THE BILLS GREAT?

61 ALI HAD NEVER MET MALCOLMX?

62 STEINBRENNER HAD SAVED CLEVELAND?

64 TIGER HAD CHASED HIS NAVY SEALS DREAM?

68 LEBRON HAD PLAYED SOCCER?

WHAT IF. THOSE TWO LITTLE WORDS CUT TO THE HEART OF WHAT WE LOVE ABOUT SPORTS. THEY KEEP US RIVETED EVEN AFTER A LOSING SEASON. (OR NINE OF 'EM IN A ROW, BLESS YOU, BROWNS FANS.) THEY'RE ABOUT HOPE AND VINDICATION; THEY ALLOW US TO DREAM UP DYNASTIES AND WIPE AWAY MISTAKES. WHAT IF... OVER THE NEXT 20 PAGES, SI EXPLORES THE MOST COMPELLING (REALISTIC) CONJECTURES AND THE COULDA-WOULDA-SHOULDA-BEEN TURNING POINTS WITH THE MOST EXPANSIVE RIPPLE EFFECTS. BRACE YOURSELF. YOU HAVE JUST CROSSED OVER INTO THE IMAGINARY ZONE