Human nature will always want to be on the winning side. I.e., on the side of a team that has shown consistent results in winning competitions and possesses the best players, etc. However, what if the team which seems to be the alpha team loses?
You will feel disappointed, and even more so if you have been indulging in some NFL betting on the favorite. That is exactly what an upset means in the NFL. A highly ranked team, losing to what is considered a lessor or unranked team. Such games hit hard again when you turn on the tv or probably go through some web pages on your phone, and then you come across the news or a recap on how the supposedly ranked or higher team lost to a lower team.
No matter how it’s pushed aside when such events happen, history never forgets! According to the NFL, there have been many stunning upsets among the nearly 16,000 professional football games played since the league’s inception in 1936. However, after taking a keen look at these historic NFL upsets, the team at sportsintel.com have compiled a list of the top five.
1. Super Bowl IIIThis was the first professional football title to be dubbed “The Super Bowl,” and it is now widely regarded as the greatest upset in NFL history. The Baltimore Colts were predicted to win big in this one, as many writers and commentators regarded the NFL teams to be far superior to any of the AFL teams. The game kicked off as predicted, with the Jets punting on their first possession and the Colts penetrating deep into Jets territory. But then something unusual occurred. After failing to score a touchdown, the Colts’ offense missed a 27-yard field goal attempt.
The Jets were pinned at their goal line. Funnily, the game’s MVP, Joe Namath of the New York Jets, made a famous guarantee on television three days before the event at the Miami Touchdown Club that his team would win. Many others were skeptical because the AFL’s Jets aren’t even comparable to the NFL’s Colts. However, following the Jets’ 16-7 victory, they believed. The Colts made a late surge, with an aged Johnny Unitas coming off the bench to score the game’s only touchdown. However, it was too late. The AFL had won its first important game against the NFL.
2. Super Bowl XLIIThe New York Giants’ dramatic Super Bowl XLII victory over the New England Patriots ranks as one of the biggest upsets in NFL history. The Giants were a 14-point underdog, facing the first team to reach the Super Bowl with an 18-0 record. The game venue was Glendale, Arizona, at the University of Phoenix Stadium. 12 points favored the New England Patriots over the New York Giants, who were seeded fifth.
The game was competitive the entire way, with the Patriots leading 7-3 at halftime and a scoreless third quarter. Eli Manning delivered the ball to wide receiver David Tyree, who leaped in the air to catch it, trapped the ball between his hand and helmet to keep it from slipping out on his way to the ground. That catch resulted in the game-winning score and the Giants’ third of four Super Bowl victories. With a 17-14 victory, the Giants ended New England’s pro football immortality.
3. Super Bowl XXXVIThe Super Bowl XXXVI, between St. Louis Rams and New England Patriots, didn’t go as presumed. No one expected a Patriots dynasty because they weren’t even supposed to be in the game, let alone win it. Aged 24, the youngest quarterback in Super Bowl history demonstrated once again that opinions and forecasts are nothing. Not only was this the New England Patriots’ first Super Bowl victory, but it was also quarterback Tom Brady’s first NFL season as a starter.
This was a tough contest between Warner, an experienced veteran quarterback of St. Louis ram, and Brady, who was only a rookie behind center at the time, thus it was up to the Patriots’ defense to keep the more experienced veteran within striking distance, which they did. With 1:21 remaining, Brady went into a huddle at the New England Patriots’ 17-yard line and declared, “We’re going to win this game, we’re going to spread the ball around, and we’re going to win it. You must believe.” Brady’s following 81 seconds were filled with the kind of skill that seems like magic that only comes along once or twice in a generation. This led to a score point of Pat 20 – 17 in favor of the patriot.
4. Browns vs. Eagles in 1950The Cleveland Browns defeated the Philadelphia Eagles 35-10 in front of 71,237 fans in Philadelphia’s Municipal Stadium on Saturday night, Sept. 16, 1950, in the 31st National Football League season’s opening game. The NFL’s 1948 and 1949 winners, the Philadelphia Eagles, faced the Cleveland Browns, who had won all four of the AAFC’s championships, in a matchup dubbed the “World Series of Professional Football.”
The Philadelphia Eagles were expected to humiliate the Cleveland Browns for the entire sixty minutes in this game. The Browns defeated the defending NFL Champion Philadelphia Eagles 13-7 without throwing a single pass. The Eagles got ten first downs to the Browns’ one. The Eagles had 86 rushing yards against the Browns’ 70. The victory has gone down in Brown’s history as one of the most significant, and the zero-feat that made it so memorable is unlikely to be repeated in the NFL again.
5. Super Bowl XXXIIIt was certainly the most emotional if the Green Bay Packers and the Denver Broncos game wasn’t the most dramatic Super Bowl upset in history. It was hyped as a showdown between two great gunslinger quarterbacks: an older John Elway and the up-and-coming Brett Favre. Thanks to a migraine-ridden running back, the Denver Broncos defeated the defending Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers 31-24. Terrell Davis rushed for 157 yards and three touchdowns, including the game-winning touchdown with less than two minutes remaining. After three heartbreaking Super Bowl losses, Elway finally got his first Super Bowl ring with this victory.
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