Rank 'Em: Greatest Sports Upsets

Created: January 30, 2008, 12:23 PM

Where does Eli Manning and the Giants' upset of the Patriots rank on your all-time list?

The New York Giants entered Super Bowl XLII against the New England Patriots as a double-digit underdog. The Patriots were the heavy favorite, having finished the regular season as the second undefeated team in NFL history, going 16-0. Yet the Giants went down to the Super Bowl in Glendale, Ariz. and pulled the upset, winning 17-14.

Only history will say where the Giants' win will rank in history. From the U.S. beating England in the 1950 FIFA World Cup to Appalachian State defeating the No. 5 ranked Michigan 34-32 in 2007, upsets have littered the sports world.

Below are 20 of the biggest upsets in sports history. Where do they all rank? Let us know what you think, SportsNation!
 

 
  • Man 'O War, the greatest thoroughbred of the first half of the 20th century, went to the post 21 times and won 20 races. His only loss came to a horse named "Upset" by a half-length.
  • Columbia coach Lou Little led the Lions to a shocking 7-0 shutout upset over heavily-favored Stanford, a team that had only been scored upon four times the entire season.
  • In the 1950 World Cup, the US upset top ranked England 1-0 in the thirty-seventh minute as Joe Gaetjens scored the only goal of the game.
  • In the 1955 US Open, Jack Fleck won an 18-hole playoff by three strokes over his idol Ben Hogan.
  • In the 1966 NCAA Championship, Texas Western coach Don Haskins made history by starting five African-American players for the first time and defeated the powerful Kentucky Wildcats 72-65.
  • In Super Bowl III, the New York Jets, led by the confident and even cocky Joe Namath at quarterback, upset the Baltimore Colts 16-7 to give the AFL its first championship.
  • In the 1960s the New York Mets were the doormat of the National League, never finishing higher than ninth out of 10 teams. That script was flipped in 1969 when the Amazin' Mets became the first expansion team to win a division title, a pennant, and the World Series.
  • In the 1980 Winter Olympics, the upstart United States hockey team, composed of amateurs and college players, defeated the all-powerful Soviet Union 4-3 and went on to win the gold medal.
  • In 1982, Division II Chaminade, led by Ernest Pettway, upset top-ranked Division I Virginia 77-72 in one of the greatest regular-season upsets in college basketball history.
  • The No. 6 seed NC State Wolfpack upset high-flying Houston 54-52 for the national title thanks to a last-second dunk by Lorenzo Charles, sending coach Jim Valvano on a mad dash around the court in celebration.
  • No. 8 seed Villanova, led by Ed Pinckney, downed Georgetown 66-64 for the national title and to this day remains the lowest seed to win the NCAA tournament.
  • Dodgers pinch-hitter Kirk Gibson, who could barely walk, hit the game-winning home run in Game 1 to set the pace and his teammates followed, winning the World Series in five games.
  • On February 11, 1990, Buster Douglas knocked out 42-1 favorite Mike Tyson in the 10th round of the heavyweight championship.
  • The No. 8 seed Denver Nuggets defeated the No. 1 seed Seattle Sonics in the first round of the 1994 NBA Playoffs.
  • Allison Feaster led No. 16 seed Harvard to a 71-67 victory over No. 1 seed Stanford in the first round of the 1998 women's Division I basketball tournament.
  • In the 2000 Olympics, Rulon Gardner won Olympic gold while breaking a 13-year unbeaten streak of Russian Alexander Karelin in the super heavyweight class.
  • Adam Vinatieri made a game-winning 48-yard field goal against the heavily favored St. Louis Rams, AKA The Greatest Show on Turf, as time expired to give the Patriots their first Super Bowl victory.
  • Baron Davis and the No. 8 seed Golden State Warriors defeated the No. 1 seed Dallas Mavericks 111-86 in the first round of the 2007 NBA playoffs.
  • Jerry Moore's Appalachian State squad became the first Division I FCS (I-AA) football team to defeat a Division I FBS (I-A) team ranked in the AP poll with a 34-32 win over Michigan in 2007.
  • MVP Eli Manning and the New York Giants upset the heavily favored - and undefeated - New England Patriots. Manning hit Plaxico Burress for a TD with 35 seconds left to hand the Pats an 18-1 finish.