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Top 20 Conspiracy Theories in the World of Sport

Whenever something influential and controversial happens in the world of politics and current events, there is always some shifty eyed gent in the corner of any run-down bar ranting about how the government had some heinous goal behind the event. While no matter where you live, your government probably has you indoctrinated with its own propaganda and wastes unforgivable amounts of you and your family's money, saying the CIA was behind the murder of John Lennon and Bob Marley may be going a few steps too far.

Yes, those are conspiracy theories in which some believe. John F. Kennedy is another, as is Princess Diana (for those looking for an interesting list, check out our celebrity conspiracy theories article on The Richest, written by a supremely intelligent author) . Conspiracy theories may be interesting and some may be highly plausible, but there are plenty that make no sense.

No matter which category a theory falls under, they all involve money, power and influence. These important elements also exist heavily in the world of sports. Accordingly, there are a slew of conspiracy theories that involve athletes and sports leagues. A couple of months ago, the sporting world got its newest theory, that the Seattle Seahawks had thrown the 2015 Super Bowl. Second and goal on the one and Marshawn Lynch doesn't get the ball. It seems like a simple coaching decision that would have earned kudos for the Seahawks's staff had the high percentage pass play worked. Plenty of people have argued that a conspiracy is afoot, given the "blunder."

From athletes framed for infractions to coaches and players conspiring to lose games on purpose, and even some alleged rigging conspiracies involving league and team executives, the complex world of sports has its share of theories. Much like political conspiracy theories, those in sports vary from the probable to the ludicrous. Here is our list of the most notorious and interesting of such controversies. There are more so if we forgot your favorite, do us a favor and educate our writer by throwing it in the comments section.

20 Was Super Bowl III Thrown by the Colts?

via sikids.com

19 Michael Jordan: Gambling Suspension

via espn.go.com

18 1998 World Cup Final: Ronaldo Sickness

via worldsoccertalk.com

17 1919 World Series Black Sox Scandal

16 Rick Tocchet's Gambling Ring

via cbssports.com

15 Cal Ripken's Prolonged Streak

14 Jimmy Hoffa is Buried Under Giants Stadium

via neatorama.com

13 New England Patriots: Cheating

Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

12 Michael Phelps Lost A Race at the 2008 Games

via businessinsider.com

11 Curt Schilling and the Bloody Sock

via truesportsmovies.com

10 2002 Lakers-Kings Conference Final: Game Six

via uproxx.com

9 Gretzky's Trade to Los Angeles

via sportsnet.ca

8 1995 Rugby World Cup Final - All Blacks Food Poisoning

via blogs.espnscrum.com

7 The "Hand of God" Goal

Diego Maradona, widely considered to be the greatest Argentine footballer of all time, scored two goals against England during their quarter final game at the 1986 World Cup. One became known as one of the nicest goals ever, after a great run by Maradona, while the other came to be known as the Hand of God goal, given his use of his hand to score. Watch the video, he quite clearly used his fist to redirect the ball into the goal, but it was not called.

6 Rigged 1985 NBA Draft

via thebirdwrites.com

This theory states that in essence, David Stern had the 1985 NBA draft rigged so that the first envelope picked in the draft lottery would be the New York Knicks. According to proponents of the theory, the Knicks, who were doing terribly at the time, were a big enough market that the league was willing to "help them out" so that they would be more successful. Success on the court means money in the bank. The theory held that one envelope was frozen so that Stern would know the Knicks' envelope by touch, thereby making it's selection easier. This one is a bit far fetched but that never stops conspiracy buffs.

5 Super Bowl XLVII: The Blackout

via fastcompany.com

This was the Super Bowl in 2013 between the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers. At half time, it looked as if the Ravens were on the verge of running away with the game, 28-6, and after the half hour power outage that occurred, plenty of people, among them Ravens legend Ray Lewis, believed there was some kind of foul play at work.

Some argued that the league pulled the plug, allowing the 49ers to regroup and plan, which is supposedly supported by their 17 unanswered points following the outage. This was so that the second half would not be boring.

4 Bobby Riggs: Battle of the Sexes II

via history.com

3 Manny Pacquiao VS Timothy Bradley

via bleacherreport.com

2 Bobby Thomson: The Shot Heard 'Round the World

via blogs.wsj.com

1 Muhammad Ali vs Sonny Liston: Phantom Punch

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Just over a month ago, the boxing gloves worn by Ali during his 1965 rematch with Sonny Liston were sold for just under one million dollars. The first round knockout is our number one on this list of conspiracy theories and according to many, the theory is absolute fact.

Just a couple of minutes into the fight, Ali caught Liston with a quick right that floored him. The fight wasn't stopped immediately, but Liston appeared to be in no condition to fight. Some claim that Ali (admittedly, one of the best boxers of all time) legitimately caught him with a quick punch to the button. Others, however, claim various theories, ranging from Liston having thrown the fight due to gambling debts, having bet against himself and even a theory that his life and those of his family were threatened by the Nation of Islam.

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Top 20 Conspiracy Theories in the World of Sport