15 sporting events we’d choose to witness if we had a time machine
Program your flux capacitor for these highlights
The original 'Back to the Future' film celebrated its 30th anniversary this year. The wildly successful franchise captured the imagination in many ways, even in the sporting realm. According to 'Back to the Future II,' released four years after the first film, the Chicago Cubs were supposed to win the World Series in 2015. That prediction didn't come to pass, but it got us thinking: If you had a time machine like Marty McFly's DeLorean, what top sporting moments from the past would you most want to experience? Here are our space-time destination suggestions.
1908: Chicago Cubs win World Series
Given what 'Back to the Future II' predicted (incorrectly), this is pretty much your mandatory first visit, no? So study up on the roster featured here, which includes Heinie Zimmerman, John Kling, Johnny Evers and Frank Schulte. Will history ever (finally) repeat itself for the Cubbies? You've got a time machine, so technically you could also travel forward and find out. But no spoilers, please!
Getty ImagesChicago History Museum
1932: Babe Ruth allegedly calls his shot
It's the stuff of legend ... and essentially impossible to confirm. Did The Bambino really predict his home run in Game 3 of the World Series? Or was he just stretching? Or helpfully informing the pitcher where the fence was? With your DeLorean, you can finally put the issue to rest, once and for all.
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1938: Seabiscuit defeats War Admiral in 'Match of the Century'
The undersized Seabiscuit, seen here in 1938, captivated a nation that at the time was mired in the Great Depression. America needed an underdog (under-horse?) to pull for, and boy did our grandparents find one. In November of '38, he faced off vs. the intimidatingly named and heavily favored War Admiral in their Pimlico Special match race. Of course, Seabiscuit (who was War Admiral's nephew, btw) ended up winning by four lengths, proving that you can't judge a steed by its cover. Seabiscuit's story has been recounted in books and films, but you've got the horsepower to go back and watch this drama unfold before your eyes.
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1962: Wilt Chamberlain scores 100 points in one game
It's one of the greatest records in all of sports -- and while there's audio to back up the fact that this happened, there is no known video footage of Wilt's jaw-dropping feat. You could go back and watch it live, though, and that's way better.
1972: The Immaculate Reception
Some consider it the greatest NFL play of all time, or at least the most controversial. Did that pass from Terry Bradshaw really touch John Fuqua -- or the ground -- before it was scooped up by Franco Harris? You could tell us for sure!
Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Image
1974: Muhammad Ali wins Rumble in the Jungle
Even if you're old enough to remember this bout, the chances that you saw it live in what was then known as Zaire? Pretty low, we're guessing. How could this not be on your list? Ali's rope-a-dope strategy vs. George Foreman was genius, but just how effective was it, really? Well, you tell us.
1980: USA hockey team beats Soviet Union in Miracle on Ice
There's plenty of footage to prove that this upset happened, but even today, it's still hard to fathom. If you get patriotic goosebumps reading about it, just imagine how you'd feel being there yourself in real time.
Getty ImagesFocus On Sport
1980: Bjorn Borg defeats John McEnroe in Wimbledon classic
It's perhaps the greatest tennis match ever, featuring one of the best rivalries in the sport's history and played out on one of its grandest stages. Even the nicknames are amazing: Fire and Ice. Over their careers, Borg and McEnroe met 14 times head to head in official matches and finished dead even, 7-7. But this one was extra-special, and the crowd knew it, showering down cheers on both men -- yes, even McEnroe, who had been booed before the match even began and was visibly moved after losing the epic battle. Are you gonna pass up a chance to sit in the stands for this one?
Getty ImagesRob Taggart
1982: The Play (Cal vs. Stanford), aka 'The Band is out on the Field!'
Sure, you could go back and witness Doug Flutie's Hail Mary in 1984 instead. Hail Marys are cool, and that one was incredible. But how often does something like THIS happen in college football? And forget the band for a second. Were ALL of those lateral passes actually legal? The TV replay of it -- and there's only one -- doesn't help much, but maybe YOU could. Seen here, by the way, are some key participants of The Play. From left to right, game announcer Joe Starkey; Stanford quarterback John Elway; panel host Craig Hummer; receiver Kevin Moen; and trombonist Gary Tyrrell. He's the guy who got smushed by Moen at the end of the fracas.
Getty ImagesDon Feria
1992: Duke beats Kentucky in greatest college hoops game ever played
If you're a Duke fan, watching Christian Laettner hit 'The Shot' in real time would be amazing. If you're a Kentucky fan? Not so much. But even UK supporters have to admit: The East Regional Final in Philly back in 1992 was one hell of a game. If you have a time machine, you should go there. But just remember, Wildcats: No altering the past! It doesn't work out well for anyone. Ask Marty McFly.
Amy SancettaAmy Sancetta
1997: Tiger Woods wins The Masters, his first major
A young hotshot named Tiger rained down utter desolation on the field that year in breathtaking fashion, capturing the tournament with a record-low score of 18 under par -- with his nearest competitor 12 strokes back. It ushered in an era of dominance the likes of which has rarely been seen in sports. (We kind of miss that guy.) And the best moment from this event wasn't even the green jacket ceremony. It was when Tiger hugged his dad, while breaking down in tears. Can't miss this one.
Getty ImagesStephen Munday
1997: The Montreal Screwjob
Calling this a 'sporting event' is a stretch, but professional wrestling does require skill and athletic ability. And in terms of controveries involving two legends of the 'sport,' this one's a doozy. A (supposedly predetermined) title match is alleged to have veered wildly off-script when Bret Hart lost to Shawn Michaels. It reportedly wasn't supposed to go down that way, but the ref called for the bell anyway -- allegedly on orders from WWE CEO Vince McMahon, whom Hart later (we think) punched in the face, for real, behind closed doors. With pro wrestling, it's hard to know where the fiction ends and real life begins, but YOU could sort out this whole mess. And of course, with the benefit of hindsight, you would know to situate yourself backstage for the real fireworks.
Steve Haag (Gallo Images) & Etha
1998: Dale Earnhardt Sr. wins the Daytona 500
The Intimidator was 46 that year and had already accomplished pretty much everything possible in his sport ... but he'd never won NASCAR's signature race, until this day. You're not going to win many races yourself behind the wheel of a street-legal DeLorean (the stainless-steel frame and gull-wing doors do you no favors), but you can watch one of the greatest race car drivers of all time pull off an emotional win, so go do that.
ISC Archives via Getty ImagesRacingOne
1999: Brandi Chastain leads USA women's team to World Cup glory
Chastain kicked the winning penalty shot vs. China, and her celebration has become legend. An entire nation erupted in jubilation with her, and it represented a high-water mark for the sport in this country. And why wouldn't you want to be a part of that? It was by all accounts an absolute scorcher that day at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, but the good news is you've got a time machine, so you can immediately jump back to the Miracle on Ice if you want. Or, you know, turn on the A/C. Pretty sure DeLoreans have those, too.
AFP/Getty ImagesROBERTO SCHMIDT
2015: Holly Holm defeats Ronda Rousey, UFC 193
There's no shortage of spectacular MMA bouts you could choose to witness firsthand. (We're closing in on UFC 195, and when a sport's marquee event hits the hundreds, you've got options). Dan Henderson vs. Mauricio 'Shogun' Rua at UFC 139 is routinely regarded as one of the top bouts of all time, but really, take your pick. We pick the Rousey-Holm fight because it gave us one of the biggest upsets of all time. Rousey, a megastar who'd become a force of nature (and, to some, the new face of the UFC), had been mowing down opponents with ease ... until she finally met her match. And it wasn't really even that close, making this bout all the more shocking.