This week's Five Burning Questions are inspired by the old Marvel Comics "What IF" series (I think I only read one of those when I was six, but the concept is cool.) While there is no limit to the "What IF" questions one may pose, it occurs to me you can categorize them into three distinct varieties.
The first category of 'What If' questions are inspired by events of fate, like 'What If Phil Luckett doesn't screw up the overtime coin toss on Thanksgiving day 1998?
Second, you have the 'What If' questions that get asked so often that they're robbed of their potency - such as 'What If' the Steelers had selected Dan Marino with the 21st pick in the 1983 NFL Draft?
Third come the 'What If's' that are driven by decisions - conscious decisions made by the individuals that impact the franchise's fortunes for generations such as, "What IF the Steelers decide not to trade for Jerome Bettis because they know they can get Mike Alslott in 1996."
Today Behind the Steel Curtain's "What IF" edition of the Five Burning Questions attempts to ignore the second variety of hypotheticals while weaving together as much of the first and third variety as possible.
1. The whole "Suck For Luck" phenomenon inspires our first question. What IF Bill Austin's 1968 Steelers hadn't "lost by winning" and therefore given Chuck Noll the first pick in the 1969 draft allowing him to pick O.J. Simpson instead of being forced to "settle" for a guy named Greene?
2. The article's not on-line, but in Steelers Digest Bob Labriola once detailed the Steelers unsuccessful attempts to get the guy they wanted in the 1985 draft. What IF Chuck Noll had out-maneuvered Bill Walsh and selected Jerry Rice?
3. What IF after the Steelers 1989 season, Chuck Noll had retained Tom Moore instead of hiring Joe Walton as offensive coordinator?
4. After the dark 1999 season Dan Rooney had to choose between Bill Cowher and Tom Donahoe. What IF Rooney had chosen Donahoe over Cowher?
5. What IF Philip Rivers had fallen to the Steelers instead of Ben Roethlisberger in 2004?
Back-end Bye Week Bonus Question:
What IF, you were forced to give thanks to the Steelers for ONE thing, what would that be?
Dive into them folks and be sure to defend your answers!