The Insane Theory :
NBA commissioner David Stern makes his second appearance on the list. If the NBA was the Mafia David Stern would be its Vito Corleone, if Vito Corleone came from the Shire instead of Sicily.
Hell, he's even a member of the Council on Foreign Relations (a group that some think secretly runs the world). Players dread getting called to his office in New York, and there are unconfirmed reports that upon leaving their meetings with Stern, they can be heard repeatedly muttering the phrase "one of us."
Stern, seen here, preparing for his new job as a Bond villain.
Theorists have said that for the duration of Stern's reign, things have played out a bit too conveniently, in the sense that big market teams seem to get all of the advantages. Many people, most notably ESPN.com's Sports Guy, point to the fact that the first year the league used a lottery to determine draft position, the league's biggest market team, the New York Knicks, somehow managed to land the top pick. They drafted Patrick Ewing, widely considered to be the sweatiest man to ever play the game.
Even worse, those same big-market teams seem to get some pretty favorable calls in the playoffs. This past season there were rumors that Stern was pulling the strings in order to get his most storied franchises, Boston and Los Angeles, into the finals.
How? Why, by having the referees make sure the calls went the right way. But even if Stern was as corrupt as Satan, the refs would never go along with such a scheme, right?
Why it Might be True :
Two words: Tim Donaghy.
Donaghy was an NBA referee, and an FBI investigation turned up evidence that he had a bit of a gambling problem. You can see where this is going. Rumors swirled that Donaghy owed money to the Mob (presumably the one that's not run by Stern) and started betting on games he worked so he could assure he got the right outcome.
A sports betting site figured out that nearly 60% of the games worked by Donaghy saw the participating teams going over the Vegas point projections, a number so high that gambling experts insisted could not have been reached without an outside influence.
"Kobe, I gotta be honest, I'm in a bit of a bind and I could really use a favor."
So we have at least that much evidence that refs are corruptible. Now consider what Donaghy had to say about the 2002 playoff game between Sacramento and the Lakers, which many say is a prime example of referees stepping in and making sure the big market team won.
We're not going to say any more. We'll let you be the judge. Partially because the evidence isn't at all conclusive, but mainly because David Stern fucking terrifies us.
The Insane Theory:
The 1958 NFL Championship between the Baltimore Colts and the New York Giants has often been called the greatest game in NFL history, with the Colts pulling out a 23-17 overtime victory behind the strong play of legendary quarterback Johnny Unitas and his Dolph Lundgrenesque crew cut.
What we're here to tell you, however, is that if it had been a 2.5 point spread it likely would have ended in a 20-17 decision. The word is that Baltimore owner Carroll Rosenbloom had laid $1 million on his Colts to cover the Vegas spread of 3.5 points, a move that would have made Pete Rose green with envy. So when his team marched into easy field goal territory in sudden death overtime, word came down from the man in charge to go for six--and risk losing the game--in order to cover the pointspread.
So instead of trying a sure-thing field goal from the nine-yard-line, the Colts ran two more plays with Alan Ameche punching it in and giving Rosenbloom a fat payday. In the years after the game, Rosenbloom denied he'd manipulated the outcome. Instead, he said he simply didn't think kicker Steve Myrha would hit the field goal, providing early evidence that everyone hates kickers.
"Mothafucka's got to get paid."
Why it Might be True :
While Rosenbloom may have been correct in his assertion that Myrha pretty much sucked, as evidenced by his dismal 4-of-10 performance during the regular season, the fact remains that without Myrha the game would never have gone to overtime in the first place.
Myrha had previously hit a 20-yarder in the fourth quarter, a distance not too different from what he would have faced in overtime. Still, after the Colts had gotten inside the 10-yard-line, they defied all football logic by having Unitas throw a dangerous pass rather than hand the ball off on the next play to edge closer for the field goal.
Then, with the ball at the one (a distance from which even we could have kicked a field goal), they again decided to risk it and run another play. Of course, the next play happened to be Ameche's touchdown, so no one second guessed them.
The Insane Theory :
Back in the 1960s, the Boston Celtics were absolutely dominant and when playing at home, damn near unbeatable. The mastermind behind the Celtics was famed cigar lover Red Auerbach.
Many believe Red was the greatest coach in basketball history. That is, if by "coach" you mean "son of a bitch." That's because many believe that the Celtics were only invincible at the Boston Garden because Red was a dirty cheating bastard.
Why it Might be True :
After Red's death in 2006, sports writers from around the nation started telling their stories about what a rascal Auerbach was, many of which confirmed the underhanded pranks that he liked to play on opponents.
It was little things, mostly, like turning off the air conditioning and hot water for the opposing locker room. Or, you know, having the water fountains in the opposing locker room hooked directly into the sewage line.
That's right. In fact, in his obituary in USA Today, these deeds are mentioned so casually that you might think making the opposing team drink your feces was all part of the game.
We actually prefer to think this is either a trumped-up rumor or maybe something they stole from an old Ernest movie. It's just too disgusting.
We do know one thing, though: if, after your death, people actually celebrate the fact that you literally made opponents gargle your shit, you're a goddamn legend.
For some people we know cheated (including a cameo from our good friend Sonny Liston) read about The 7 Ballsiest Sports Cheats Ever. Or take in some culture with our look at The 10 Most Insane "Sports" in the World.