We’ve been going through numerous hypotheticals this week, and this seems like a fitting wrap. We’ve talked about Jim Harbaugh, Jim Druckenmiller vs. Jake Plummer, and Ahmad Brooks. Today, we’ll use the SB Nation NFL Twitter prompt. If you could change one play in NFL history, what would it be?
Congratulations, you have the power to change the outcome of any one play in NFL history.— SB Nation NFL (@SBNationNFL) June 15, 2018
Which moment are you changing?
I thought this one over specific to the San Francisco 49ers, and I came up with three notable plays:
1. Roger Craig’s fumble against the New York Giants in the 1991 NFC title game
2. Kyle Williams fumble in OT of the 2012 NFC title game
3. Take your pick of the final four goal-to-go plays in Super Bowl 47 against the Baltimore Ravens.
There are arguments to be made for a host of other plays, but these three are ones that really jumped out at me in the context of this question. For the Super Bowl, it could be one of the passes being completed, or it could be the team not calling the timeout just prior to when Colin Kaepernick had an easy run into the end zone.
I took some time to rank them out, and I ended up putting Super Bowl 47 first, Roger Craig second, and Kyle Williams third. My thinking was that if they convert any part of that goal-to-go drive, they almost certainly win their sixth Lombardi and preserve the undefeated Super Bowl record. The Ravens would have had a little under two minutes remaining, but the 49ers would have led by four at that point.
I thought about the Craig fumble No. 1 primarily because it cost the team a chance at an unprecedented third straight Super Bowl. The 49ers had established themselves as the team of the 80s, and that would have further cemented the dynastic legacy. Add in the fact that Steve Young would have started the Super Bowl over an injured Joe Montana, and that only adds to the intrigue.
At the same time, there were no guarantees the 49ers would have won the Super Bowl. They probably would have, but we don’t know for certain. Additionally, the legacy of those teams was already pretty high, so not getting that third one didn’t exactly destroy their legacy.
On the other hand, taking home Super Bowl 47 would have further added to the franchise legacy. The 49ers were prepared to move on from Alex Smith, but how does that change what went down with Colin Kaepernick over the next few years? Does it change what happens with Jim Harbaugh. There are so many what ifs if the 49ers win that game.
Which would you be more likely to change? Or maybe you have a strong preference for another play in 49ers history?
Which play would you most likely change the outcome?
This poll is closed
Roger Craig fumble in the 1991 NFC title game
Kyle Williams OT fumble in 2012 NFC title game
Any of the goal-to-go plays against the Ravens in Super Bowl 47