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Which Super Bowl win was the biggest upset in NFL History?

  • Super Bowl III

    Votes: 3 25.0%
  • Super Bowl XLII

    Votes: 5 41.7%
  • Niether

    Votes: 4 33.3%
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
As you all know, there have been many upsets in the history of sports, and players have become legends because of them, and some haven't as a result of not being able to continue the performance they had in that single upset game. This wasn't the case at all though for either of these two football games that you see in the poll.

Now as you see, I have Super Bowl III (3) and Super Bowl XLII (42)

Super Bowl III showcased the New York Jets (11-3) taking on the Heavily Favored Baltimore Colts (13-1). After Jets quarterback Joe Namath guaranteed a Superbowl win, the Jets would go on to upset the Colts by a score of 16-7. Joe Namath, and still to this day I have no idea how, would go on to win the Superbowl MVP award.

Super Bowl XLII showcased the Wild Card New York Giants (10-6) taking on the Undefeated and also Heavily Favored New England Patriots (16-0), who were the first time ever since the Miami Dolphins to have a perfect season, the first to have a perfect season with the sixteen game regular season schedule. After having a close game with the Patriots in their final game of the regular season, some actually suggested that the Giants had a chance to stop the Patriots pursuit of perfection. The Giants would go on to shock the NFL fan base by upsetting the Patriots by a score of 17-14 in what was a thrilling game that featured a memorable drive by the New York Giants, including a catch that is regarded by many as one of the greatest plays in Super Bowl history. Eli Manning would go on to win the Super Bowl MVP award.

Both were big upsets no doubt, but imo I think the Giants beating the Patriots was the bigger upset, due to the fact that the Patriots were undefeated and had they won, this would've have been their fourth super bowl win in the last seven years (even though despite of that, they were already a dynasty), and the Giants were nothing more than a wild card team. Also, people like to use the argument that the Giants had a regular season game against the Pats and almost beat them, I'd like to point out that the Jets didn't have a regular season game against the Colts, so that's an invalid argument, because anything could have happened. Another point I'd like to add is that as I said before, the Giants were simply a wild card team, and I think had better records the past two seasons before this one (the 2007-2008 season in which they won the super bowl). The Jets however not only were a very good team with a 11-3 record, but they also had players who are considered to be legends such as Joe Namath and Hall of Famer wide receiver Don Maynard. People say that if the Jets played in the NFL league though rather than the AFL, they would've went 9-5, which is actually almost like the Giants record except with one extra win and loss added, and considering how it's two extra games added to the regular season, both records are almost the same. But once again, the Jets had some legends on their team and the number one rushing defense in the league, where as the Giants simply had talent that ranged from decent to great.

Here are some interesting notes about both Super Bowls to help give some insight on what was going on at the time.

Super Bowl III:
*Despite being the heavy underdogs playing for a less talented AFL conference, many of the Jets players claimed that the team they beat to get to the Super Bowl, The Oakland Raiders, were a better team than the Baltimore Colts were at the time, which raised some questions as to whether or not the Colts were as mighty a team as the media made them out to be.
*Even though the Jets went 11-3 in the regular season, their conference was considered very weak in comparison to the NFL conference, which the Colts played in and went 13-1, which explains how great the Colts really were at the time.
*In the previous two super bowls, the Packers, a NFL team, dominated the AFL teams they faced in those Super Bowls, and yet many considered the Colts to be a greater team than the Packers.
*Much of the Jets talent were previously part of the Colts team at one point, but were cut by them and taken by the Jets. A couple of those players ended up being key factors to their Super Bowl win.
*The Colts had one of the best offenses and defenses in the league, and after winning a title game in 1968, were deemed the "greatest team in pro football history".
*The Colts ran a Zone Defense, something that many teams in the NFL conference didn't do, which gave the Colts a big advantage over them and was a big factor to their dominance on defense. The Jets however knew how to attack against the Zone Defense, due to Zone defense being a common thing in the AFL conference.
*Despite Don Maynard being a future hall of famer and a big part of the Jets team, he did not receive one reception at all during the game due to him having a pulled hamstring. The Colts however still focused a lot on him despite him not getting the ball, being used merely as a decoy through out the entire game.

Super Bowl XLII:
*Out of all of their Super Bowl appearances in the 2000 (four super bowl appearances), this was considered to be the Patriots greatest team out of all four, as they were undefeated going into the Super Bowl. Interestingly, the Giants were not only the worst out of all of the teams that they faced those four times in the Super Bowl that decade, they were also the only team that wasn't the number one seed of their conference.
*The Giants were a wild card team going into the playoffs, and barely anyone gave the Giants a chance to go far into the plyaoffs, as many predicted that they would get knocked out in the first game. Not only would they win that game, they would go on to upset the number one seeded Cowboys, and then in the NFC championship game, they would also upset the second seeded Green Bay Packers in Overtime. So in retrospect, not only was their superbowl win a huge upset, but the fact that they even made it past the second game was an upset, along with the NFC championship game.
*Their Superbowl win gave the Giants their 11th straight road game victory, as their upset wins against the Cowboys and Packers were also road games, and add that with their first very close game with New England, it could be argued that this game wasn't a fluke or as big a upset as it is claimed to be.
*The Giants actually lost their first two games of the regular season, and ended the year with a 10-6 record and the wild card spot. They went on to be the first ever wild card team to ever win the Super Bowl.
*The Patriots, with an incredibly stacked offense on both running and passing, were surprisingly limited to just 14 points by a team who's defense didn't receive much praise at all or were pointed to as the main reason for their previous playoff wins.
*The Giants were actually a team filled with injuries going into the playoffs, as they were without their four time pro bowl line back Jeremy Shockey and their running back Derrick Ward. With a limited offense, Eli Manning's main weaopns to look to through out the playoffs were only his two wide receivers Plaxico Burress and Amani Toomer. Despite this, neither of them were part of what is considered to be one of the greatest catches in Super Bowl history (David Tyree's one handed catch in the fourth quarter.)
*The Giants currently hold the record for least amount of players to play in the Pro Bowl and win the Super Bowl that year with just one player, Osi Umenyiora, who was just a defensive player on a team that wasn't noted that much for its defense.
*The MVP, Eli Manning, had a career at that point that had been heavily over shadowed by the success of his brother, Peyton Manning, who in the previous season won the Super bowl and became the Super Bowl MVP, making this not only the first time that Brothers were named Super Bowl MVP's, but also the first time that they were named Super Bowl MVP's in Successive years.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
The Patriots over the Rams is the biggest upset of all time.
Meh, the Rams did have a incredibly stacked offense, but all around the 2008 pats were a better team than the 2002 Rams were, and the 2002 Pats had some great weapons on offense and a good defense where as the Giants didn't have all that much to work with. But it can be argued, I'll give you that much.

You talk about Superbowl III as if you were alive to see it....
At no point in my entire post did I say that I watched that game. I got all of those facts from my parents who did see it and various websites. Don't waste my time with idiotic posts like those.
 

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The 07 Pats are extremely overrated. They had no balance to that offense. The fact they went undefeated and scored more points in the history of the NFL is irrelevant. The other two teams that had scored the most points ever, the Vikings and Redskins failed to win the Super Bowl too. Those teams are barely remembered. The 07 Pats will always be the most overrated team of all time because they went into the Super Bowl undefeated. So glad they lost because we'd be extolling a team that just wasn't that great. The Giants D that year was a on a tear; it's one of the best runs of an underrated squad in NFL history. The superior defense almost always wins the game and this Super Bowl was no different.

The 01 Pats were not that good of a team, and are quite possibly the worst Super Bowl Champion of all time. This was the team that barely squeaked by the Raiders on the tuck rule. The Rams never had a great defense, but they legitimately are the one of the best offenses we've ever seen. When we think about the Greatest Show on Turf, we think of Warner and the wideouts, but Faulk is the reason they had so much success. This man was incredible. Unfortunately Martz didn't use his best weapon, Marshall Faulk, until it was too late, and a lesser team won the Super Bowl that year. And please name these great weapons on offense the 01 Pats had.

Super Bowl III is the most important upset historically, as it proved the AFL could beat the NFL and facilitated the merger. Since I wasn't alive and didn't see either team I can't rank it among team strength disparity.
 

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Yep, the referee completely botched the explanation after the call reversal if I recall correctly, saying his arm was coming forward at the time. Charles Woodson certainly isn't a fan of the tuck rule.
 

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The 07 Pats are extremely overrated. They had no balance to that offense. The fact they went undefeated and scored more points in the history of the NFL is irrelevant. The other two teams that had scored the most points ever, the Vikings and Redskins failed to win the Super Bowl too. Those teams are barely remembered. The 07 Pats will always be the most overrated team of all time because they went into the Super Bowl undefeated. So glad they lost because we'd be extolling a team that just wasn't that great. The Giants D that year was a on a tear; it's one of the best runs of an underrated squad in NFL history. The superior defense almost always wins the game and this Super Bowl was no different.
I call bullshit on a great deal of this. Patriots offense wasn't balanced? They were first in passing yards and 13th in rushing. That's a pretty good deal of balance, especially with the amount of times that they threw. They had an 800 yard rusher (who missed 3 games) and two others that combined for over 500 yards. The defense was 4th in total points allowed, top ten in both passing and rushing yards allowed. They had 3 all pros on defense, along with some guys that, while nearing the twilight of their careers (such as Seau, Bruschi, and Harrison) was still very solid. It was their last year with the core of those championship teams. They had some good talents.

And only great teams can win 18 in a row, no matter who it's against. This team deserves all the credit that it gets, because it was a truly dominating offense and a very solid defense. Had they won, it would've been very debateable that they were the best team ever.

The 01 Pats were not that good of a team, and are quite possibly the worst Super Bowl Champion of all time. This was the team that barely squeaked by the Raiders on the tuck rule. The Rams never had a great defense, but they legitimately are the one of the best offenses we've ever seen. When we think about the Greatest Show on Turf, we think of Warner and the wideouts, but Faulk is the reason they had so much success. This man was incredible. Unfortunately Martz didn't use his best weapon, Marshall Faulk, until it was too late, and a lesser team won the Super Bowl that year. And please name these great weapons on offense the 01 Pats had.

Super Bowl III is the most important upset historically, as it proved the AFL could beat the NFL and facilitated the merger. Since I wasn't alive and didn't see either team I can't rank it among team strength disparity.
This I can agree with. The 01 Pats had no business being in that game with the Rams. I mean, I know they only lost by 7 in the regular season, but in a dome, the Greatest Show on Turf should've had a field day. But, the Pats had the right strategy for the one game, and that's all that mattered.

As for this question, I'd have to go with XLII.
 

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For the record I'm bringing up the Pats/Rams Super Bowl because it was a huge upset and the fact that NO ONE here was alive for SB III. Most of us probably did see Pats/Rams and Pats/Giants.

The 07 Patriots actually "lost" to the Ravens that year, but Billick called a timeout on a 4th down play in which the Ravens stopped them. Look at that schedule. There were 6 tough opponents since the AFC East was a joke at the time. The Pats going undefeated wasn't that big of a deal because their weak schedule made it possible.

If this offense had balance it would've been able to run the ball better against the better defenses it faced. The offensive numbers were artificially inflated as well as the Pats ran up the score often.

(yes I am playing Devil's Advocate here for the most part, but I do think the 07 Pats are overrated. It's one of the biggest upsets in NFL history, but the only reason it's discussed is because the Pats were undefeated.)
 

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It wasn't even called the Super Bowl then.

And no, the talent of the AFL was much greater than the USFL.

Still like I said earlier SB III is historically the most important upset in NFL history. Since we weren't alive to witness this, I can't really see how it can be in the discussion as to biggest from a team disparity perspective.
 

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Well, the Jets were the biggest underdogs to win point spread wise (-17) so if you go numbers wise it IS the biggest upset.

I also disagree about the USFL being not as talented, at least in it's early years.
 

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Definitely the Giants win. 10-6 team in the much weaker conference going up against the perfect New England Patriots led by the golden boy himself.

The game seemed like such a foregone conclusion I didn't even watch it, and imagine my surprise when I wake up the next morning and see the Giants all over ESPN and Yahoo news as Super Bowl champions.
 

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Super Bowl III.

The Giants win wasn't that much of shock to me, they were playing good and the Pats had come close to losing a few times that year.
 

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Well, the Jets were the biggest underdogs to win point spread wise (-17) so if you go numbers wise it IS the biggest upset.

I also disagree about the USFL being not as talented, at least in it's early years.
Point spreads are for gambling purposes. They aren't really for forecasting who will any given game. I'd agree that Jets/Colts is a bigger upset than Pats/Giants.

There's really no way to prove that the USFL was as talented since the USFL never played the NFL. The AFL did and we saw the results there. There were future Hall of Famers in the USFL, it's true so I'm not saying talent wasn't in the league. I really don't think the league was as deep as the AFL though. While there were great players, the overall talent was lacking. This was a long time ago though and again it's impossible to prove. Impossible is hyperbole of course.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
The 07 Pats are extremely overrated. They had no balance to that offense. The fact they went undefeated and scored more points in the history of the NFL is irrelevant. The other two teams that had scored the most points ever, the Vikings and Redskins failed to win the Super Bowl too. Those teams are barely remembered. The 07 Pats will always be the most overrated team of all time because they went into the Super Bowl undefeated. So glad they lost because we'd be extolling a team that just wasn't that great. The Giants D that year was a on a tear; it's one of the best runs of an underrated squad in NFL history. The superior defense almost always wins the game and this Super Bowl was no different.

The 01 Pats were not that good of a team, and are quite possibly the worst Super Bowl Champion of all time. This was the team that barely squeaked by the Raiders on the tuck rule. The Rams never had a great defense, but they legitimately are the one of the best offenses we've ever seen. When we think about the Greatest Show on Turf, we think of Warner and the wideouts, but Faulk is the reason they had so much success. This man was incredible. Unfortunately Martz didn't use his best weapon, Marshall Faulk, until it was too late, and a lesser team won the Super Bowl that year. And please name these great weapons on offense the 01 Pats had.

Super Bowl III is the most important upset historically, as it proved the AFL could beat the NFL and facilitated the merger. Since I wasn't alive and didn't see either team I can't rank it among team strength disparity.
I'll admit your right about that statement, but as for the top paragraph you made, perfect poster pretty much said everything that I was planning on saying.

It wasn't even called the Super Bowl then.
Actually, SB III was the first ever Super bowl to be called the Super Bowl (god I suck at wording things out).
 

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SB42. horrible gameplan by NE + neal getting hurt which changed the game entirely + luckiest catch in history of football.
 

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Actually, SB III was the first ever Super bowl to be called the Super Bowl (god I suck at wording things out).
The NFL resisted Lamar Hunt's coining of the term Super Bowl and didn't put the phrase Super Bowl on the tickets until SB IV, where Hunt's Chiefs beat the Vikings. You are right that they used Hunt's term Super Bowl for SB III, but the NFL didn't finally relent until SB IV; it didn't officially stick until then, a new name was preferred but Super Bowl wasn't going anywhere. It stuck especially AFTER the Jets defeated the Colts. Of course, as far as I know, everyone BUT the NFL were calling it the Super Bowl since SB I.
 
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