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Kragthorpe: Some retouching could enhance Utah sports history

Published June 2, 2014 6:25 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Wasatch High School's controversial editing of yearbook photos in the apparent interest of modesty for girls was oppressive and sexist, and a bad idea all the way around.

But do-overs in sports? That's another matter.

What if the lasting images of some historic moments in Utah sports could be altered just slightly, changing the way we remember them? Here are five snapshots from the past 30 years that could use some retouching:

• BYU's 1984 football schedule

The Cougars finished 13-0 and were voted the national champions, but their nonconference schedule of Pittsburgh, Baylor, Tulsa and Utah State was decried as not strong enough to merit a No. 1 ranking.

If that schedule could be altered to show some combination of nationally ranked Washington, Miami and Boston College — teams that Cougars would face over the next four seasons — then their title would have a lot more legitimacy.

Javier Morales' shot in the 2013 MLS Cup

Prior to Sporting Kansas City's tying the game and eventually winning in a shootout, Real Salt Lake easily could have taken a 2-0 lead and almost certainly would have won another championship. All it would take to adjust that outcome is a replay showing that Morales' shot hit the goalpost and caromed inside the net, rather than trickling across the face of the goal and enabling SKC's goalkeeper to grab the ball.

• Utah's loss to Colorado in 2011

Utah-BYU games have produced enough what-if moments for each school that they pretty much even out. The missed opportunity that really haunts Utah came in the final game of the Utes' first Pac-12 regular season.

By beating lowly Colorado, the Utes would have earned the Pac-12 South title, thanks partly to USC's ineligibility. As poorly as they played, the Utes had a chance to force overtime. A desperate drive ended when Coleman Petersen missed a 48-yard field-goal try, wide right.

If editing makes that attempt successful, the Utes could have gone on to win in OT and the perception of them as Pac-12 members would be considerably improved.

• Utah State's 2012 football season

Nobody knew it at the time, but Utah State had a lot at stake during the 2012 season. The Aggies finished 11-2 with a Famous Idaho Potato Bowl win over Toledo. But by beating Wisconsin and BYU — maybe even just one of them — the Aggies could have gone to the Orange Bowl. All it would require is retouching of Josh Thompson's field-goal attempts from 37 and 38 yards in the fourth quarters of losses to Wisconsin (16-14) and BYU (6-3).

• In Game 6 of the 1998 NBA Finals, Chicago's Michael Jordan hit the winning shot with 5.2 seconds remaining, giving the Bulls the title in Salt Lake City. If the Jazz had held on, they could have won Game 7 at home.

But what if a replay could be altered to show that Jordan pushed off on Bryon Russell, freeing himself to take that shot? What, that actually happened? Never mind.


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