Flickr/Charles roderick In the 1986 World Cup quarter-finals, Argentina beat England 2-1 behind Diego Maradona’s two goals, one of which involved the use of Maradona’s hand which has since been dubbed the “Hand of God” goal. The hand ball is not in question, as Maradona has come out and admitted it’s true, it’s whether or not the referees saw it and turned a blind eye. Argentina would go on to win the World Cup.
Wikipedia/Rdikeman In 1997 the Orioles manufactured an electrical malfunction to postpone a game that Cal Ripken Jr. wasn’t going to make in order to preserve his consecutive games played streak. The alleged reason why he wasn’t going to make it was because he got in a fight with Kevin Costner who he found in bed with his wife.
flickr/Marco Paköeningrat Michael Phelps won a record eight gold medals in Beijing, but many believe the gold he won in the 100m butterfly should’ve gone to Serbian Milorad Cavic. Video and photo evidence can be argued to go either way but maybe the most condemning evidence is that Mark Spitz, the man who held the record for most golds at an Olympics before Phelps, said he received an email from Omega, the official timekeeper of the race, saying Phelps actually lost the race.
Flickr/Cliff In the 1965 rematch between Muhammad Ali and Sonny Liston, many people think that Liston took a dive. Liston had always been tied to organized crime which hinted that there could’ve been money on him to go down and video evidence shows the right hand that dropped Liston didn’t seem like enough to floor the heavyweight.
Wikipedia/Ytoyoda The 1984 Pepsi 400. Richard Petty going for win #200. Ronald Reagan, the first sitting president ever to attend a NASCAR race, in attendance. Petty helped campaign for Reagan in North Carolina. It all seemed too good to be true, and things got stranger when Cale Yarbrough pulled into pit road too early and helped Petty take the checkered flag.
A lot was on the line during the 1995 Rugby World Cup, as it was the first major event in South Africa since the end of the country’s apartheid. New Zealand were the heavy favorites but the team was sick the day of the final and it is believed that one of their meals was poisoned earlier in the week to help cripple the favorites.
In Game 6 of the 2004 ALCS, Curt Schilling pitched the Red Sox to victory with sutures in his ankle. The camera caught Schilling’s sock soaked with blood while on the mound, but many believe the sock was painted red to add to the story of the Red Sox playoff run and subsequent World Series championship.
Wikipedia/Pats1 The Patriots were found to be spying on opponents and the league caught them. The conspiracy lies in the fact that the NFL destroyed the evidence, of what has now been deemed Spygate, just two weeks after they received it, leading many to believe there was more damning evidence.
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flickr/Ver en vivo En Directo In 2012, Manny Pacquiao dominated his fight against Timothy Bradley which went to a decision and Bradley came out on top. Many have speculated that both Bradley and Pacquiao’s promoters, Top Rank, rigged the decision in an effort to get a rematch and make double the money.
flickr/Jason H. Smith When Michael Jordan stepped away from basketball to pursue a career in baseball many people questioned the move, as he had just won his third straight championship. Some say his move was a quiet agreement with the NBA to absolve his gambling debts.
Wikipedia/Sarah Stierch The 2001 Pepsi 400 was the first race at Daytona after Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s father passed away, and many believe NASCAR wanted Junior to win as a feel good story. Earnhardt went from sixth to first in the final two laps leaving many to ponder whether the other drivers let him win.
Wikipedia/Michael Miller After the 2004-2005 lock out, the NHL had to revitalize some interest in the league. Sidney Crosby, the most electrifying player to enter the league since Wayne Gretzky, would help. Conspiracists think the NHL made sure Sid the Kid landed in an American market and specifically with a struggling franchise who had a once glorious past–enter Mario Lemieux and the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Many believe that David Stern and the NBA wanted the Los Angeles Lakers to win the 2002 Western Conference Finals over the Sacramento Kings and advance to the NBA Finals. Game 6 of the series is what comes into question, and Tim Donaghy, a former NBA referee who got caught for betting on games he officiated, has publicly stated that the officials made calls in favor of the Lakers.
Wikipedia/Jacobdonahue In a storybook ending, Derek Jeter hit a single to right field to drive in the game winning run against the Orioles in his final game. However, there’s evidence to show that the pitcher essentially gifted Jeter an easy pitch to hit and that the Orioles’ defense was aligned so that there was a huge hole on the right side of the infield.
flickr/Austin Kirk Super Bowl XLVII was all but a blowout, with the Baltimore Ravens leading the San Francisco 49ers 28-6, until a power outage stopped play for 34 minutes in the 2nd half. Terrell Suggs has been adamant in saying the NFL, and Roger Goodell, were behind the blackout in order to get a more competitive game.
One of the most popular sports conspiracies, this one involves the NBA rigging the 1985 Draft lottery so that the consensus #1 pick, Patrick Ewing, could be drafted by the New York Knicks and revitalize a franchise in the biggest media market. Many people believe the Knicks lottery envelope was frozen or had a bent edge so that Commissioner Stern would know which one to pick.
In 1973, former #1 men’s tennis player Billy Riggs challenged Billie Jean King to a Battle of the Sexes. Riggs ended up losing the match many thought he would win easily, aiding the conspiracy that he threw it to settle his gambling debts.
In an effort to popularize hockey in America, the NHL pushed Canada’s greatest asset, Wayne Gretzky, to Los Angeles in what has been called “The Trade.” The move actually ended up benefitting the NHL and hockey in America, but many question why the move was made after The Great One brought four championships to the Edmonton Oilers.
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