Regrets are an inevitable part of life. They come with the territory of breathing and are a part of the unwritten deal we all sign for the right to exist.
Although some contrition can feel enormous - such as the misery born when a relationship breaks down or after committing a far more criminal act - others are forgotten in the blink of an eye.
In terms of the unpredictable game of football, there are a plethora of scenarios that have made or broken careers.
What if your side picked a different player from a certain Draft?
What if your star spearhead had kicked straight when it mattered?
What if a bout of flatulence cost your team a Premiership?
Well, for fans of every creed we have sought to answer the question that has rankled you for years and kept you up at nights for far too long.
We can't promise that we won't open old wounds, as let's face it, that is the entire point of the exercise.
However, if we can help you find closure by looking at the facts and asking what if the doors slid the other way, then we have done our job.
As always, feel free to critique our non-linear traipses, as we are tipping some of you are unlikely to enjoy some of the conclusions we have drawn.
From Adelaide to the Bulldogs, from Fitzroy to the Bears, here are every club's biggest 'what if' moments since the dawn of the AFL era in 1990.
What if Mark Bickley never farted at half-time of the 1993 Preliminary Final?
Footy fans, especially those that reside within the bounds of South Australia, will always remember Mark Bickley as the man that captained the Crows to back-to-back Premierships in the late ‘90s.
However, if not for a bout of flatulence in the bowels of the pre-developed MCG, could ‘Bicks’ and his murder have earnt a medallion earlier?
Although this does sound as though my tongue is almost through my cheek, had the midfielder, playing in just his 63rd of 272 AFL games, chosen a less corrosive breakfast option, then history, and a pair of trophy cabinets, were sure to appear altered.
As the Crows entered the changerooms for coach Graham Cornes’ half-time address on the September 18, 1993, they held a commanding 42-point lead over Kevin Sheedy’s yet to be lauded ‘Baby Bombers’.
What Cornes said to his group, that included South Australian veterans such as Greg Anderson, Scott Hodges, Andrew Jarman, Tony McGuinness and captain, Chris McDermott, was about keeping their foot on the gas for the remainder of the match.
Yet, before they charged back out, their young teammate took Cornes’ address a bit too literally and backed out a silent, but apparently deadly one.
According to one half of Adelaide’s ruck partnership that day, David Pittman, Bickley’s intestinal evacuation tore through the huddle and mentally sidetracked the previously slick side.
“I think the guys will all attest that ultimately it was Bickley’s fart that caused us to capitulate in the second half,” Pittman told Fox Sports in 2017.
“It was outrageous. You would try to keep a straight face, but even Graham was trying hard to ignore it, but no one could.
“It was too pungent. The huddle was trying to move as one away from it.”
Engine room dynamos, Mark Ricciuto and Nigel Smart respectively added that “everybody could not concentrate” and that “it had an impact”.
Despite this sulphuric side-tracking, surely the Crows’ seven goal lead would be too much for Essendon to overcome in just a half of football.
Since entering the competition ahead of the 1991 season, the Adelaide Crows had only managed to defeat the Dons once from four starts, with no victories coming in Victoria.
The pair’s previous clash prior to their Prelim' date almost 28-years ago came in Round 9 at the MCG when Sheedy’s boys clobbered Cornes’ to the tune of 46-points.
With their opponent’s past of holding the upper hand in mind, the fledgling Crows were sure to be expecting a fightback across the final hour of their first final’s series – even before Bickley dropped his guts.
Still, had Cornes’ message ran unimpeded and Adelaide had managed to post more than just a pair of goals across the third and fourth terms, then momentum would have likely seen them play off against Carlton in the 1993 decider.
However, with the Blues finishing less than two percentage points short of the minor premiership that year, and the fact that they had defeated the pride of South Australia by three goals in the semi-final just seven days before Bickley broke wind, the Baggers would have been warm favourites to claim their 16th flag had the pair met in the Grand Final.
So, to surmise quickly as I adjust my tinfoil hat, had Mark Bickley decided that musical fruit wasn’t a viable meal option ahead of a final, Adelaide would have likely upset Essendon before falling flat at the MCG a week later against Carlton.
With this in mind, there would have been no magical Michael Long run and goal, there would have been no Wanganeen/Long Brownlow/Norm Smith double in the International year of Indigenous people, the ‘Baby Bombers’ tag would have been just another piece of unused alliteration, and of course, Carlton would have appeared certain to have another cup in their case.
Even though a butterfly did flap it’s wings ahead of the third quarter of the 1993 Preliminary Final, perhaps a message for ‘Bicks’ to lay off the beans wouldn’t have made that much difference from a Crows’ perspective at all.