1998 NFC Championship Game in a Parallel Universe: What if Gary Anderson Split the Uprights?

The following post is merely a satirical prediction of how the alteration of a piece of NFL history impacted a parallel universe. As I mentioned in previous posts, this parallel universe in named after LeBron James, a man with multiple championship rings.

What Happened on Earth

With a 27-20 lead late in the fourth quarter of the 1998 NFC Championship Game, the Minnesota Vikings looked to be on their way to Super Bowl XXXIII.

All placekicker Gary Anderson had to do to seal the NFC title for the Vikings was make a 38-yard field goal. Prior to this field-goal attempt, Anderson split his previous 39 attempts through the uprights.

This time, however, the kick sailed wide left. From there, the Atlanta Falcons scored the tying touchdown and won 30-27 in overtime.

The Falcons would go on to lose the Super Bowl 34-19 to the Denver Broncos. The Broncos, who won the previous Super Bowl against the Green Bay Packers, won a second consecutive AFC title by beating the Miami Dolphins and the New York Jets in the playoffs.

The night prior to Super Bowl XXXIII, free safety Eugene Robinson was arrested for soliciting oral sex from an undercover police officer.

Ironically, Robinson accepted the Bart Starr Award for "high moral character" from Athletes in Action earlier that day. He would start in the Super Bowl, but according to Bob McGinn's The Ultimate Super Bowl Book, Robinson's arrest was a distraction.

"I think it was a huge mental distraction, if nothing else," Atlanta defensive coordinator Rich Brooks said, according to McGinn's book. "That, I think, took whatever advantage we had [in the Super Bowl] away from us."

What Happened on LeChamp James

In previous posts, I have mentioned that Cris Carter was a Super Bowl champion and that, as a result of Terrell Davis' absence, the Broncos did not get to Super Bowl XXXIII.

As you might have guessed, Carter's Super Bowl win came in the 1998 season. He would be named the game's Most Valuable Player of Super Bowl XXXIII, catching three passes for three touchdowns to help Minnesota beat the Jets 27-24.

After all, all his does is catch touchdowns.

A fact that didn't sit well with rookie sensation Randy Moss.

Moss, who caught eight passes for 195 yards (as opposed to Carter's 58 yards) said during the postgame celebration that he would've liked to catch a touchdown pass in the Super Bowl.

"It's just not fair that I do all the work and that old a------ gets to do the touchdown dance," Moss said. "I don't care if they fine me for saying this. I'll pay the fine with straight cash, homey."

When Moss refused to apologize for his postgame rant or show up to the following season's training camp, the Vikings traded him to the Dallas Cowboys.

Moss was, reportedly, a little upset when the Cowboys passed up on him in the 1998 NFL Draft. When Moss showed up in Dallas, he let his feelings be known.

Afterwards, Michael Irvin had some inspirational words for him: "Man, shut up and smoke this crack pipe. It'll calm you down."

From there, Moss smoked his first crack pipe. Unfortunately, it would not be his last.

He would test positive for crack three times, which got him banned from the NFL. The third of those drug tests was taken prior to a 2002 preseason contest at Lambeau Field against the Packers.

After scoring a touchdown in that game, Moss celebrated by mooning (and by mooning, I mean actually taking off his pants and shaking his bare behind at) the crowd and shaking his genitals.

Luckily, the younger NFL fans did have at least one player they could see as a positive role model: Eugene Robinson.

For his 11 season as a Seattle Seahawk, in which he intercepted 42 passes and recorded 942 solo tackles, Robinson had his No. 41 jersey retired.

At the jersey retirement ceremony, Seahawks owner Paul Allen praised Robinson for not only his performance on the field, but his "high moral character" off it. 

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