Top 10 Biggest Sports Upsets

The Top Ten
1 US upsets 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 TV 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.

2 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 years. 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.

3 Appalachian State upsets Michigan, 2007

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 off to Appalachian State. You humbled us.

Just for clarification, I am a Buckeyes fan. If I say "Michigan sucks" to a Michigan fan, they're going to 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

4 Giants upset Patriots, Super Bowl XLII

This game was probably the biggest upset ever. Nobody thought the Giants had a chance. When they made their predictions for who would win the game, all of the announcers voted against the Giants for EVERY PLAYOFF GAME. They weren't expected 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.

5 #8 Golden State upsets #1 Dallas, 2007 NBA Playoffs

Dallas was the favorite to win the whole thing that year.

6 Greece wins UEFA Euro 2004 Championship

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

7 Jets upset Colts, Super Bowl III

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

How is this not top 3? At the very least, it's the second-greatest Super Bowl upset.

8 NC State upsets Houston, 1983 NCAA Tournament Final Four

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.

9 Buster Douglas upsets 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.

10 Patriots upset Rams, Super Bowl XXXVI

At the time, the Patriots were a joke. They never could put together a Super Bowl-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 went for it. And this 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.

The Contenders
11 Boise State upsets Oklahoma, 2007 Fiesta Bowl

Boise State had an undefeated season and yet was not even considered for the national championship game. Then, despite being underdogs against a 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!

12 Red Sox come back from 0-3 to beat the Yankees, 2004 ALCS

This should be ranked higher because the Red Sox didn't have any superstars like the Yankees did. Ortiz hadn't emerged 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 other hand, had great players like Jeter, A-Rod, Rivera, and Posada. I think almost anyone, even Red Sox fans, doubted the Sox after being swept in the first 3 games, especially in Game 3.

What makes this an even greater upset is that 1) the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry was already huge, 2) in Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS (which was also Red Sox-Yankees), Aaron Boone hit a home run for the Yankees 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.

13 Villanova upsets Georgetown, 1985 NCAA Tournament Final Four

The U.S. win over the Soviets in Olympic Ice Hockey in 1980 was big, but the Soviets 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 the best shooting percentage in an NCAA Championship Game. They achieved that as double-digit underdogs!

14 Stanford upsets USC, 2007

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

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

15 Broncos upset Packers, Super Bowl XXXII

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! Oh my god! It was a brisk 18 degrees out by that time of the night! Brrr! Go Giants!

16 Denmark wins UEFA Euro 1992 Championship

Because when the 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-card team without their best player, Michael Laudrup, made history by defeating great teams like Holland (previous champions) and Germany.

17 Dodgers upset A's,  1988 World Series
18 Australia upsets Argentina, 2006 World Cup
19 #16 Harvard upset #1 Stanford, 1998 Women's NCAA Tournament

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

20 Holy Cross upsets Boston College, 1942
21 USSR upsets USA, 1972 Olympics Basketball
22 Leicester City win 2016 English Premier League

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. However, they managed to 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 two relatively unknown players who ended up having career-defining, and even record-breaking, seasons.

A year to the day after sitting bottom of the league with time running out on their hopes of avoiding relegation, they were sat at the top, almost unreachable by the chasing pack of superstar-packed, red-faced challengers.

Not just one game. Not just one lucky punch or night-of-their-life performance. An entire 38-game, 9-month season against arguably the best teams in the world. They lost just 3 games.

The most unbelievable story ever seen in the world of sport.

23 Twins upset Braves, 1991 World Series
24 Texas Western upsets Kentucky, 1966 NCAA Tournament Final Four

Are you kidding me? Best basketball upset of all time, like the Emancipation Proclamation of basketball! Definitely put Rupp in his place!

No other small college basketball team will win the National Championship!

Ranks #1 of all-time sports upsets.

25 #16 UMBC upsets #1 Virginia, 2018 Men's NCAA Tournament
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