The Top 10 Greatest Upsets over the Last Five Years (2003-2008)

David ArreolaSenior Analyst IDecember 4, 2008

As the year is coming to an end, the championships of 2008 have come to an end.

It has been a crazy five years in the sports world. Upsets have been at an all-time high and I couldn't be more excited.

Unless my favorite team is playing, I always find myself cheering for the major underdogs in a game. There is a mixture of their fans going insane with the overall atmosphere going crazy.

So, I have decided to compile a list of the top 10 upsets in the sporting world over the last five years. All sports are being counted, from basketball to curling. Not that there is a curling upset on here...

Of course I live in America so my list is dominated by American sports. Sorry guys, I don't have that many television channels.

These are all upsets I have actually watched. I've seen highlights of all of them at least and believe me, they are worthy of this list.

Enough formalities. The list:


10. Russia Upsets the Netherlands, 3-1, in the Knockout Round of Euro 2008

The Netherlands just finished an undefeated group stage and their offense was firing on all cylinders with a tournament leading nine goals. Ask any sane man and they would have said the Russians didn't stand a chance and they should just quit.

Wrong. Behind Roman Pavlyuchenko and Andrei Arshavin the Russians routed the Dutch, 3-1.

Anyone who saw this game has simply gasping after every Russian goal.

Unfortunately, the dream ended days later in a 3-0 loss to eventual champions Spain.


9. Florida Gators Rout Ohio State, 41-14, in the 2007 BCS National Championship

For two weeks this game was dissected and all the "professionals" predicted an Ohio State blowout. The Buckeyes had just pulled off a 12-0 season and became the first team to ever score a perfect 1.000 in the BCS Rankings.

Nobody gave the Gators a chance and after Ten Ginn took the opening kickoff to the end zone, it looked like those "professionals" would get their laugh.

That was until Troy Smith got the ball. The Gators defense smothered the Buckeyes and only allowed 82 yards of offense.

The Gator offense went on a tear and put up 41 points on the Buckeyes. Needless to say, the "professionals" were wrong.


8. New York Giants shock the Green Bay Packers, 23-20 (OT), in the 2007 NFC Championship Game

I will not lie, I am a Packer fan. When I saw Tony Romo get picked off in the end zone of the divisional playoffs, I leapt for joy.

The Giants would have to come to Lambeau Field and beat the 14-3 Packers in -6 degrees Fahrenheit. There is no way the Packers could lose right?

The Giants destroyed the Packers defense on the ground and dominated through the air. Lawrence Tynes missed a GW field goal at the end of regulation to go to overtime.

With a final interception by Brett Favre, the Giants completed the most heart breaking loss of my life.

The Giants would go on the win the Super Bowl.


7. Steelers Demoralize the Colts, 21-18, in the 2006 NFL Divisional Playoffs

The Colts were 14-2 and it looked like Peyton Manning would finally get that ring. The Colts offense looked unstoppable all season and the Steelers were the very last seed in the AFC playoffs.

It was supposed to be a formality, until Ben Roethlisberger showed up.

Roethlisberger led the Steelers to a 14-0 lead.

Manning crawled the Colts back to make it 21-18. After he was sacked on 4th down in front of his own end zone with mere minutes remaining, it was over.

Enter Jerome Bettis.

All the Bus had to do was lower his head and get two yards for a touchdown.
Just like that, it happened. He fumbled. Nick Harper picked up the ball and was running to pay dirt. That was until Roethlisberger proved his heroism again as he made a foot tackle to save the touchdown.

Manning put Mike Vanderjagt, the most accurate kicker in NFL history, in position to tie the game.

I will never forget the unity of Peyton Manning, Tony Dungy, Jerome Bettis, Bill Cowher, and millions of others watching the game.

In unison they all said "He missed it."

The Steelers would go on to win the Super Bowl that year.


6. Golden State Warriors Shock the Mavericks, 4-2 (series), in the Opening Round of the 2007 NBA Playoffs

Mavericks were the best team in the NBA. No doubts there. They were expected to make a championship run being the future NBA MVP, Dirk Nowitzki.

The little Golden State Warriors weren't even considered to be contenders.

That my friend is why we play the playoffs. Behind Baron Davis and their electric crowd at the Oracle Arena, the Warriors not only defeated the best team in basketball, but they did it with room to spare.

The 4-2 win proved it was not a fluke and the Warriors were the feel good story of the playoffs. Until they were bounced in the next series 4-1 by the Utah Jazz.


5. Appalachian State Silences Michigan, 34-32, in Its 2007 NCAA Football Season Opener


Don't big schools like Michigan schedule easy teams opening week? Oh yeah, Appalachian State is a I-AA school.

It was so lopsided that Las Vegas didn't even give a spread.

The Mountaineers played hard football and knocked the Wolverines out of the AP Poll with the stunning victory.

The Wolverines did get their chance to save themselves from eternal embarrassment. But, Corey Lynch of the Mountaineers blocked the GW field goal attempt to seal one of the greatest college football upsets of all time.

Appalachian State would go on to win a third straight I-AA title.

The only reason I have this at No. 5 is because it was regular season and the Wolverines later proved they were not as good as the preseason polls predicted.




4. New York Giants Defeat the Perfect Patriots, 17-14, in Super Bowl XLI (2008)


At 18-0, one win away from being THE BEST football team in NFL history. They had the records; all they needed was one win. This was the New England Patriots. A win and immortality would be theirs.


Brady would have his fourth Super Bowl ring and could possibly become the greatest quarterback of all-time. Coach Bill Belichick would become only the second coach in NFL history to win four Super Bowls. It was a win away.


The Giants were a wild-card team who just squeaked by their last two opponents. It was simply too much of a task to beat the Patriots.


That was until Eli Manning was down 14-10 and he was given one final chance to steal the win. Before Manning would surrender the Championship, he was granted one last play of true greatness. David Tyree made arguably one of the greatest plays in NFL history by converting on a 4th down after Manning had narrowly escaped the pocket.


As Plaxico Burress caught the go ahead touchdown, the whole nation knew they had witnessed the greatest upset in NFL history.


Eli Manning also gained a new nickname: Eli Manning, official dream killer of the NFL.


I know some of you are saying that four is too low. Honestly, the next three were too big to not have as the top three.




3. George Mason beats UConn, 86-84 (OT), in the Elite Eight to go to the 2006 Final Four


George Mason was an 11th-seeded Cinderella team. The nation watched as the Patriots disposed of powerhouses like Michigan State and North Carolina in the previous rounds. However, the winner of this game would go to the Final Four.


The University of Connecticut was the No. 1 seed and had struggled to this point. However, their size was a huge advantage over the mid-major school from Washington D.C.


But, behind the crowd, George Mason pulled of the college basketball of upset of the century. A top seed had never lost to an 11th seed in NCAA tournament history.


George Mason had a five-point lead in the dying seconds of the second half. UConn scored big baskets while the Patriots missed key free throws. UConn forced OT and was within two points of stopping Cinderella cold in her tracks.


When Denham Brown’s (who also tied the game with a lay-up to force OT) three-point attempt missed its mark, the George Mason bench rushed the field as if they had won the Championship.


That honor would not be reached as they lost to eventual champion Florida, 73-58, in the Final Four.




2. Boise State Completes an Undefeated Season by Beating Powerhouse Oklahoma, 42-41 (OT), in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl


Sure the Boise State Broncos were 12-0 coming into the game. But, Oklahoma has a tradition of winning and was simply more talented. There was simply no way the Broncos could match up to Bob Stoop’s defense.


Tell that to Jared Zabransky and Ian Johnson.


Many have called this game the greatest college football game ever.


Boise State built an early lead, but the Sooners talent took over in the fourth quarter as they came back to tie the game.


After Zabransky was picked off late in the fourth quarter, Boise State was down 35-28. With two seconds left facing fourth and 16 Boise State converted a hook and ladder play to score and force OT.


The Sooners’ Adrian Peterson scored on the first play of OT.


Boise State then faced another 4th down in front of the end zone. A half-back pass was called and they converted and score a touchdown.


What happened next will always haunt the Oklahoma defense. A back yard play would end up deciding the game.


The Statue of Liberty was the play call. Ian Johnson walked into the end zone as the Sooners were caught completely off guard.


The greatest upset in the last five years and in my opinion the greatest upset EVER, happens to be the earliest on this list.




1. Greece Shuts out the Host Nation, Portugal, 1-0, to Win Euro 2004


In the world of international football to host a tournament is to gain an advantage that no other team could hope to equal.


Not only is the entire stadium cheering for you, but your entire country is outside the stadium cheering just as loud.


It is a feeling that is indescribable.


Portugal was the far more talented team. Players like Figo, Deco, and Cristiano Ronaldo were expected to light up the weaker Greek side.


Greece had just edged into the finals and their style of football was looked down upon because of its ultra-defensive tactics. Upsets rarely happen in international football. When they do, the host nation never is upset by an inferior team. It simply does not happen.


Outside of Greece, there was no man alive willing to give the Greek a chance. In fact they were given a 100-1 chance of winning the game.


In the 57th minute of play, Angelos Charisteas joined the ranks of Hercules as a Greek legend as he scored off a corner kick. This absolutely silenced one nation and ignited another.


Despite dominating possession and shooting their lives out, the Portuguese could not score on the Greek defense. They would not score all game.


Greece had just beat Portugal for the European Championship in their own country. It is an upset that is simply unbeatable and will never happen again.