(WARNING: If you are a Game of Thrones viewer and have not caught up on the “Trial By Combat” episode, there are spoilers in this post. Then again, if you’ve managed to get on the internet and avoid spoilers for an entire week and change, you’re a cyber miracle, anyway, so congrats on that!)

Season Four has been a pretty amazing season of Game of Thrones thus far.

We’ve seen the death of Joffrey, the rise of Jon Snow, and thanks to the imprisonment and trial of the lovable imp Tyrion, we now all jokingly use (well, I hope jokingly) the phrase “trial by combat” when it comes to resolving any sort of workplace issue or domestic dispute.

Which brings us to Oberyn Martell.

For someone that was only in our lives for about a half dozen episodes, I don’t know that I’ve found a more fascinating television character. He’s so great, I think I’m about to gush over him the way Jon Gruden did over Johnny Manziel for the two months leading up to the draft.

In fact, let’s give the Jon Gruden breakdown on Oberyn Martell:

“Here you got this guy, this Ooooberyn Martell, and man, he is awesome. He comes into town, and he’s hangin’ out at brothels all day, havin’ himself an orgy or two, with chicks and dudes, and he just don’t care…then someone calls him out, and he’s got these craaaaaazy sword skills, man. Like spinnin’ it around and flippin’ up and down and all over…man, that is awesome….”

Actually, the similarities between Manziel and Oberyn are undeniable. Both are widely feared because of their unpredictability, both have an absolutely insatiable appetite for orgies (admittedly, I’m just assuming with Manziel), and let’s face it, when it comes time for Manziel to go, it will probably unfold something like this…

(WARNING: Um, graphic doesn’t being to do it justice…)

This was one of the top five “stunned, HOLY SHIT” moments I’ve had watching something fictional on television (so things like the O.J. chase and Damien Lillard don’t count), putting it right alongside the Red Wedding, Hulk Hogan’s heel turn in 1996, Vito’s head popping up from that security guard’s lap, and Natalie losing her virginity on Facts of Life.

(Ok, maybe not that last one.)

The angst over the Oberyn death was exacerbated, though, by the fact that a) we all love Tyrion, and Oberyn’s dying meant Tyrion was now going to die, and b) Oberyn was a bad ass. I wasn’t ready for him to die yet.

And therein lies the genius of Game of Thrones — when characters die, we are generally left wanting “more” of them (except Rob Stark, who died about half a season too late).

Fortunately, with the magic of the internet and YouTube, we knew some creative soul would make a video that could at least temporarily send us to a happier place, and the internet obliged! Behold, the Oberyn Martell denial video!

I do believe that Gruden would label that video as “aaaawesome”, as well. Bravo, internet!

It got me to thinking, what if we could create “denial” versions of sports footage, to rewrite history and briefly send us to a joyous place where our teams didn’t totally rip out our hearts and poop on them right in front of us and our families? What if…

So here are a few Houston sports moments I thought I could put out there for Denial Video Treatment (going forward called “DVT”). Hopefully the internet, as it usually does, has a lot of free time on its collective hands.

Lorenzo Charles buzzer beater in the 1983 NCAA Championship Game
What Happened: Through a combination of missed free throws and no shot clock, massive favorite University of Houston allows Cinderella N.C. State (Jim Valvano sighting!) to hang around. Tied at 52, Derrick Whittenburg’s air ball from 30 feet ends up in the hands of Lorenzo Charles who dunks it with no time left. OUCH.

Denial Video History Change: Guy V. Lewis gets his championship and gets into the Hall of Fame like two decades sooner. Jim Valvano winds up being better known for being a quirky, charismatic, possibly dirty head coach lost in the sea of coaches in the 80’s ACC than as a giant killer with big dreams. Akeem gets a title at both college and NBA levels. A lot of stuff going on here. Speaking of AKEEM….

John Stockton’s buzzer beater in the 1997 Western Conference Finals
What Happened: Trailing the Jazz 3-2 in the 1997 Western Conference Finals, the newly constructed Barkley/Hakeem/Clyde Rockets led by seven with under two minutes to go. I’ll let Greg Gumbel pick it up from here…

Denial Video History Change: The Rockets still would have had to close out in overtime and win a Game 7 on the road, so no lay ups here, so to speak, but this was Charles Barkley’s best shot at a title outside of Phoenix 1993. I have to admit, I had zero recollection of the Rockets having Sedale Threatt on the floor in crunch time. WOW, was their point guard play shitty. (Also, in this eight minutes of footage — Greg Osterag getting a double-double, Greg Gumbel with NBC, a Jim Gray sighting, Barkley’s lazy closeout on Stockton, and about 100 seconds of basketball that Stockton could have plunked down with the Hall of Fame and said “Here you go…”)

Mike Renfro’s “non catch” in the 1979 AFC Championship Game
What Happened: Trailing 17-10 late in the third quarter, the Oilers drove down inside the Steelers ten yard line. This would have tied the game at 17…

Denial Video History Change: Again, a touchdown here just ties it up. The Oilers still would have had to win the fourth quarter on the road, but everyone who lived here at the time still bitches about this, so what the hell….if y’all say so….

By the way, if we need one for the Texans, how about this….

Moving on….

Any number of things in Game 6 of the NLCS
What Happened: I needed one for the Astros, and the moment that comes up as a sad, tragic moment for the ‘Stros is always Pujols bomb off Lidge in the 2005 NLCS, but the Astros wound up winning that series. So I said, what the hell, here’s the embedded video for all of Game 6 the year before, which was probably a better Astros team….

Denial Video History Change: Win this game, and yeah, you’d have been playing a Red Sox team that was on a ghost-aided magical run, but at least it would’ve been one more chance at winning a World Series.

The finish to Wrestlemania 17 at the Astrodome in 2001
What Happened: I had to get a WWE reference in. It’s my gimmick. So this was maybe the greatest Wrestlemania ever, 2001 in the Astrodome, but maybe the most disappointing ending. Steve Austin, who no fan was ready to boo and see as a heel, much less a heel teamed up with Vince McMahon, turns heel, beats the Rock, wins the title. This is generally viewed historically as the end of the Attitude Era.

Denial Video History Change: Austin wins the title as a baby face, maybe even chair shots McMahon in the process, and we trudge on. Hell, if you’re going to have controversy, at least involve WCW, which the WWF had just purchased a few days prior to Wrestlemania.


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