Biggest Sports Upsets

The Top Ten

1 US def USSR Hockey 1980

I was a student at the University of Minnesota during the match
Herb Brooks was the coach and was also Minnesota's coach and half the team was from the U of M. The entire campus and Twin Cities were mesmerized by the team's performance. Every T.V. was tuned to the games and every conversation involved them at some point. Did they win was the question everyone asked when they got out of class. When they beat the Russians and then won the gold medal against Finland the campus and the Twin Cities went berserk. I can remember clearly to this day Mike Ramsey showing us his gold medal when the team returned home.

The Americans were either amateur or collegiate, while the Soviets lived and breathed hockey. In an exhibition game,soviets demolished us 10-3. But we came into the medal round stronger and more motivated and in that game heart beat skill. It would've been better if it was a gold medal match!

Nothing comes close. This is not anything like an underdog pro team beating a heavily-favored pro team. Its more like North Carolina or other good college basketball team beating the NBA champion Golden State Warriors.

College kids defeat the best team in the world to the United States only gold medal in men's ice hockey. You can get no bigger upset

2 Giants Defeat Patriots In Super Bowl XLII

This game was probably the biggest upset ever, nobody thought the Giants had a chance. When making their predictions for who would win the game, all of the announcers voted against the Giants for EVERY PLAYOFF GAME. They weren't supposed to beat the Buccaneers in the first round. Plus, this game had one of the greatest plays in Super Bowl history in which David Tyree a non factor in any other game that season managed to catch a crucial third and long throw (that Eli barely got the chance to throw) on his HEAD! Amazing game, and an amazing upset.

On one side, you have (arguably) the greatest team in football history. It has had an absolutely perfect season, and has easily brushed away much better teams. On the other, you have the 6th seed, the worst team in the playoffs, and a team that has already lost to the Patriots that year. And yet, the Giants pulled it off. The biggest upset ever, and a great game to boot!

No one, including this longtime die-hard Big Blue fan, ever thought they'd have a chance against the 18-0 Patriots. But after the final season finale against those same Patriots, something lit a fire under the G-Men. And the rest is history!

No competition. The Patriots were on the verge of becoming the greatest NFL team of all time. Giants pulled together through skill and epic plays to take down what would have been the most historic team in NFL history

3 Appalachian State def Michigan 2007

Just for clarification, I am a buckeyes fan.
If I say michigan sucks. To a michigan fan, and their gonna be like "No ThEy don't"
THen I'm like- "Take a trip back to 2007, and remember how SUCKY y'all really are."
#MICHIGANSUCKS

The "no huddle" run to perfection. A well coached team caught a giant sleeping. Upsets in 2007 were common - it was one of the best seasons ever to watch games.

As a MICHIGAN FAN, I'm still in shock. This is the biggest upset of all, we will rebound. Hats of to Appalachian State. You humbled us.

I was born in Boone and I've always loved App State. This is definitely my favorite upset of all time.

4 Duke upsets UNLV 1991 Final Four

May never get over it, Jerry Tarkanian was sheer genius and recruited the best talent in the country for several year. UNLV was the best show in Vegas at the time.

Nevada Las Vegas returned the same team that beat Duke for the National Championship 103-73 the largest margin ever.

5 Buster Douglas def Mike Tyson 1990

Nothing is more dramatic in sports than a heavyweight knockout; a mountain of muscle, superhuman, crumbling to the canvas. The fact that it was 'Iron' Mike Tyson at the hands of an underachieving journeyman made it, as veteran commentator Bob Sheridan repeated, 'unbelievable.'

Mike Tyson was the most terrifying boxer ever to step between the ropes, he demolished his opponents with pure fear along with his terrifying power. Buster Douglas had lost his mother two weeks beforehand, the grief of which meant he didn't care what Tyson would do to him. Coupled with chaos and incompetence in Tyson's camp, Buster pulled off the upset of the century.

Back in 1990 would of ranked No 2, but seeing Tyson after...

6 Greece Football Team European Champions 2004

This Greece side had no star names in their team. They had only played in 2 major tournament before and never one a single match. Every game they played in the 2004 tournament knockout stages, you was expecting them to get beat heavily. But game after game their spirit grew and in the final against the host Portugal, which boast players such as Figo, Cristiano Ronaldo and Deco the Greek tactical out played them. Portugal's 2004 team was an attacking team but Greece soaked it up and scored from a corner in second half and hung on to claim a the trophy.

I think this is the biggest sporting shock ever because it is not just one game, it was a tournament! Great team performance!

Nobody expected this. The others are mostly a two horse race as to who will win, where as if all the teams were identical in the Euros, there would be a 6.25% chance of winning. Also, they were boring! Watching them after that final game you wouldn't think it was a final. Aside from maybe Leicester winning the premier league, this is the biggest sporting shock ever.

I understand that many Americans don't even have an idea of how big this was, but it was HUGE in world sport, whether you're football fan or not. You could count their win against France as a complete shock but they won it all - against all odds, against much better players, coaches, traditions. Sheer willingness to succeed and an incredible devotion.

150-1 odds. Beat Portugal (hosts and one of the favorites) twice. They tied Spain in the first round group play, they beat the defending champion France in the Quarters, the overall favorite Czech Republic in the Semis and Portugal again in the final. Did not give up a single goal in the elimination games! All this while 150-1 odds to win it all. Amazing!

7 #8 Golden State beats #1 Dallas in first round of 2007 NBA Playoffs

Dallas was favorite to win the whole thing that year.

8 #16 seed UMBC upsets #1 seed Virginia in 2018 Men's NCAA Tournament
9 Patriots def Rams Super Bowl 36

At the time the patriots were a joke. They never could put together a Superbowl-winning season. they had a Quarterback Tom Brady who was drafted in the sixth round. They barely made it through the postseason but when it counted they performed. Even with John Madden saying they should kneel the ball and play for overtime they tried. Which set up Adam Vinatieri to hit the game-winning field goal and set himself up as one of the best field goal kickers of all-time

Patriots were a wild card team I believe? They didn't destroy anyone that season. They just won when they had to.

Start of a dynasty for the Pats.

10 Broncos def Packers Super Bowl 32

How is broncos beating the packers an upset broncos r the best and the packers suck

The Broncos were the underdogs against the reigning champion Packers. So it's an upset.

It was my 33rd birthday that day and I told everyone at the party I would run down the street in my birthday suit if the Broncos won! OMG! It was a brisk 18 degrees out by that time of the night! bRRRRR! Go Giants!

The Contenders

11 2004 Detroit Pistons def L.A. Lakers - NBA Finals

Supposed dream team of Gary Payton, Karl Malone, Shaq and Kobe. Nearly swept if not for game 2 buzzer tying shot by Kobe. End up losing 4 games to 1.

Detroit basketball

12 Jets beat Colts in Super Bowl III

New AFL league champs stun established NFL champs. This was the game that started the mergers of the two leagues

How is this not top 3. At the very least, it’s the second greatest super bowl upset.

13 Red Sox come back from 0-3 to beat the Yankees

This should be ranked higher because the Red Sox didn't have any superstars like the Yankees did. Ortiz didn't emerge as a superstar yet and no one really stood out in that lineup maybe except for Manny. Boston did have good pitching though like Pedro and Foulke. The Yankees on the otherhand had great players like Jeter, A-Rod, Rivera, and Posada. I think almost anyone even Red Sox nation doubted the Sox after being killed in the first 3 games especially in Game 3.

What makes this an even greater upset is that 1) Red Sox-Yankees was already a huge rivalry, 2) In Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS (which was also Red Sox-Yankees), the Yankees' Aaron Boone hit a home run that sent them to the World Series, so the Red Sox winning this ALCS was the perfect revenge, and 3) In the bottom of the ninth inning of Game 4 the Red Sox were just three outs away from getting swept.

The Red Sox always had that curse on them. Everyone thought they would lose. NO OTHER TEAM IN SPORTS HISTORY had comeback from a 0-3 deficit. They finally broke the curse and showed the world they could beat the Yankees. Also the performance by David Ortiz was astounding. He hit so many clutch home runs he deserves to be in the hall of fame just for that.

No team has ever come back in the ALCS after trailing by three games. The fact that this is considered the "greatest rivalry in all of sports" by many should only magnify the emotion that was felt after this comeback.

14 NC State def Houston 1983 Final 4

This one should be #3 or 4 easily. Nobody predicted it would be close much less a "pass" that was slammed home at the buzzer to win.

Valvano beats Phi Slamma Jamma. What a game.

15 Boise State def. Oklahoma 2007 Fiesta Bowl

Boise state had an undefeated season and yet was not even considered for the national championship game. And then despite being underdogs against 2 loss Oklahoma, and despite being seconds away from defeat TWICE, they pulled off two incredible plays and won the game.

Trick plays!
The hook and lateral.
Halfback pass to the tight end
Statue of Liberty

Outstanding game!

the trick play that defeated a powerhouse

16 Villanova def Georgetown 1985 Final 4

The U.S. win over the Soviet's in Olympic Ice Hockey in 1980 was big but the Soviet's were showing signs they were vulnerable BEFORE the U.S. defeated them. VILLANOVA defeated Georgetown with a 78.6 Percent Shooting Percentage which is STILL a record for Best Shooting Percentage in a NCAA Championship Game and they achieved that as Double Digit Underdogs!

This was a game that redefinied the term "cinderella."

17 Stanford def. USC 2007

This was a much bigger upset than the App St / Michigan game! Stanford was ranked over 100 at the time they played! App St is a perennial powerhouse in football.

This is definitely a top ten nominee. Not even Stanford believed it after it was already over.

41 point underdog Stanford upsets USC and shocks the nation

18 Twins beat Braves in 1991 World Series
19 Denmark Football Team European Champions 1992

Because when the that final whistle from that game got blown, almost the entire nation went out their doors and started partying and celebrating, no other sport upset can ever match this! EVER!

A wild-carded team without their best player Michael Laudrup which made history by defeating great teams as Holland (previous champions) and Germany

20 Dodgers def A's 88 World Series

Kurt Gibson walk off HR and A's were never the same.

21 Leicester City win 2016 English Premier League (5000-1)

Yes, that's 5000-1, odds widely given by bookmakers at the start of the season in August, 2015. The Premier League boasts many of the world's richest and most successful clubs and players, but for the past 25-30 years had been only won by a small group of elite, wealthy clubs like Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal.

With just a few games to go at the end of the 2015 season, Leicester City (who had only been promoted to the division that year) were facing almost certain relegation to a lower league, but managed to somehow cling on and win enough points to stay up for another season by the skin of their teeth. When the next season began, no one gave them a chance of even staying in the league, with bookies offering 5,000-1 on them winning the title. With no star players in their ranks, the team worked relentlessly match after match, combining great teamwork with a tireless work ethic, plus a fortunate lack of injuries, and breakout seasons from 2 relatively unknown players ...more

How is this so low everything above have better odds

I wish Manchester United won the league that year

Should be number 1 easily

22 Australia beats Argentina - 2006 World Cup Germany

This never happened, where is your information from?

23 #16 seed Harvard def #1 seed Stanford in 1998 Women's NCAA Tournament

Only time a 16 seed has beat a 1 seed, and Stanford had home court advantage!

24 Holy Cross 55 def. Boston College 12 and then the Cocoanut Grove fire

stunning upset followed by real tragedy

25 USSR controversially defeats USA for Gold Medal in 1972 Olympics Basketball

Oh please drivein101. The Soviet Union beat the US and you know it. 51-50 was the true final score.

True final score: USA 50, USSR 49 -- Political final score: USA 50, USSR 51

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