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Sports Then and Now

How A Dwayne Bowe Fumble Changed NFL History Forever

Posted on July 26, 2009 by Alex Johnson
A miscue by Dwayne Bowe late in a December 14, 2008 game had a ripple effect on NFL history.

A miscue by Dwayne Bowe late in a December 14, 2008 game had a ripple effect on NFL history.

The National Football League is a league rich in history.

There are many events over the course of the years that have changed the league’s history forever.

For example, consider back in the early days when Lamar Hunt was denied an NFL franchise. Therefore, he created the American Football League which later merged with the rival league.

If Hunt was granted the franchise he wanted in Dallas there never would’ve been an AFL which means possibly we never would’ve seen the creation of some of the league’s best teams ever.

Or what if instant replay hadn’t been implemented in 1999?  The Patriots never would have even been in Super Bowl XXXVI.  Who would be the dynasty of this decade?

There are so many examples of events that changed NFL history, including one example that took place in the 2008 season.

In the December 14 matchup between the San Diego Chargers and Kansas City Chiefs, the game came down to a San Diego onside kick with 1:13 remaining in the fourth quarter and the Chiefs up 21-16.

Mike Scifres’ onside kick bounced right into the waiting arms of usually sure handed Dwayne Bowe—and bounced out.

The Chargers recovered, scored, and won the game.

History was changed.

If Bowe held on, the Chiefs would’ve won the game.  With a Kansas City victory most likely Chiefs President Carl Peterson wouldn’t have stepped down the next day, opening the job later filled by Scott Pioli.

Not only that, but with a Chargers loss Denver would’ve clinched the AFC West that day.  With the Broncos in the playoffs, more than likely coach Mike Shanahan would not have been fired, and Josh McDaniels wouldn’t have been hired.

Therefore, Jay Cutler would still be the quarterback of the Broncos, and Kyle Orton would still be in Chicago.

With a Chargers loss, they would’ve faced the Buccaneers the next week as a team out of the playoff race and nothing to play for.  As a result, the Bucs likely would’ve won and clinched a playoff berth themselves because they wouldn’t have been challenged by a rejuvenated San Diego team.

Instead, San Diego beat Tampa which collapsed at the end of the season and missed out on the tournament resulting in the firing of coach Jon Gruden and GM Bruce Allen.  Raheem Morris and Mark Dominik were hired as head coach and GM replacements respectively.

If Tampa beat the Bolts, the Philadelphia Eagles would’ve been eliminated from the playoff race.  Instead, Philly went all the way to the NFC Championship game.  Who knows if another team could’ve beaten Arizona and gone to the Super Bowl?

But after the Bowe drop, the domino effect resulted in Pioli hired as the Chiefs GM, who hired new coach Todd Haley, McDaniels as coach in Denver, Cutler traded to Chicago after a dispute with McDaniels, Morris as head coach of Tampa, etc…

Wow…what one single play can do to history.

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