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The five biggest upsets in Super Bowl history

XXV: Jan. 27, 1991

Giants 20, Bills 19

This could easily be one of the best games of all time. The consensus was the Bills' no-huddle offense would be too much for the Giants. But New York, a seven-point underdog, showed the best way to stop a good offense is to keep it off the field, using a gritty ground attack to hold onto the ball for 40 minutes, 33 seconds. Everything about the game in Tampa was tense, from the added security stemming from terrorist activities linked with the Persian Gulf War to the shocking ending — Bills K Scott Norwood missed a 47-yard field goal with just seconds left. Wide right. Enough said.

III: Jan. 12, 1969

Jets 16, Colts 7

QB Joe Namath's famous "guarantee" and resulting MVP performance put this one in Super Bowl lore. The Jets were 18-point underdogs by game time, but three days before, Namath deadpanned, "We're gonna win the game. I guarantee it." He carried the upstart Jets, going 17-of-28 for 206 yards, spearheading an offense that tallied 337 yards. The Colts folded, turning the ball over five times in Miami.

IV: Jan. 11, 1970

Chiefs 23, Vikings 7

With the Vikings 12-point favorites in New Orleans, not many gave the Chiefs a chance. But Kansas City stunned the crowd by taking a 16-0 halftime lead. They were led by QB Len Dawson (12-of-17, 142 yards, TD), who rebounded through an adversity-filled year. Dawson lost his father before the regular-season finale then dealt with a report before the Vikings game that he would be summoned to testify in a federal investigation into sports gambling (Dawson denied any involvement).

XXXVI: Feb. 3, 2002

Patriots 20, St. Louis 17

Nobody could slow down the Rams' "Greatest Show on Turf" all season. They won by an average of two TDs per game and were 14-point favorites against the Patriots, who would parlay this upset into a dynasty (three titles in four years). But New England came onto the field with no introductions (showing unity) and played an all-around strong game in New Orleans to win — thanks to a 48-yard field goal by Adam Vinatieri as time expired. "We," Patriots S Lawyer Milloy said, "shocked the world."

XLII: Feb. 3, 2008

Giants 17, Patriots 14

The Patriots were minutes away from joining immortality, just the second team in NFL history to achieve a perfect season. But Giants QB Eli Manning and an improbable catch by unheralded WR David Tyree helped the 12-point underdogs earn the dramatic upset in Glendale, Ariz. Manning hit WR Plaxico Burress for a 13-yard touchdown with 35 seconds left, just after Tyree's highlight-reel grab — in which Manning somehow avoided a sack and tossed the ball to Tyree, who leaped and pinned it against his helmet before holding on. It was the Giants' 11th consecutive road win and the first loss for the Patriots in more than a year.

The five biggest upsets in Super Bowl history 01/25/09 [Last modified: Sunday, January 25, 2009 11:00pm]
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