Most of the time, when a game has a clear likely winner going in, the outcome isn’t a surprise. The best team does usually win.
Of course, when two teams are evenly matched, it’s harder to predict the outcome, and in those cases, any upset isn’t really possible.

Every so often, though, something amazing happens, and the underdog wins. Sometimes, they come from behind to surprise everyone in the final minutes; sometimes, they shock everyone by dominating the entire game. No matter the situation, shocking losses by dominant teams are always dramatic.

One of the most fun parts of massive upsets is that it means that someone somewhere has just won big. Betting on the underdog doesn’t usually pay off, but when it does, it can be very rewarding. Sports betting is exploding in popularity across the United States. With more sportsbooks than ever accessible in more states, it’s the perfect time to give betting a try.

Sometimes shocking losses are due to conditions, and sometimes because of player injuries. Other times, it’s hard to pin down just what went wrong, but it’s obvious that somewhere along the line, something just didn’t come together.

Here are our three top picks for the most shocking losses in NFL history.

Jaguars Beat Broncos in the Playoffs // 1996

Whenever a team manages to come from behind to win a game, it’s exciting. When that team is a 14-point underdog that is only in their second season, it’s an even more dramatic outcome. That’s exactly what happened when the Jacksonville Jaguars faced off against the Denver Broncos in the AFC Divisional game.

The Broncos came into the game with a 13-3 regular-season record. They seemed like easy favorites with a likely shot at making it to the Super Bowl. The Jaguars were in the playoffs as a wild card team, and while they had beaten the Buffalo Bills the week before, no one thought they could build on that success.

Turns out, the lack of faith in their ability and the incredibly dismissive nature of the press coverage leading up to the game only fired up the Jaguars. Despite trailing by 12 points in the first quarter, the Jaguars surged ahead to win 30-27. The star of the game was young running back Natrone Means. The Broncos were unable to stop Means, who ran for 140 yards on 21 carries.

Super Bowl XXV // 1991


Football fans are known for their love of stats and knowing all of the information possible about their favorite team and their competitors — which partly explains why Fantasy Football is such a hit. No event attracts more attention and has more finely worked odds than the Super Bowl.

Super Bowl XXV in 1991 was no exception. The Buffalo Bills were expected to win. Even though both teams had finished the season with a 13-3 record, the Bills had scored the most points in the league and had the best points differential. The New York Giants had also had a great season but didn’t seem like they’d be able to match the Bills’ explosive energy on the field.

The Giants may have lost to the Bills earlier in the season, but they came to the Super Bowl prepared. With a defensive strategy that prevented the Bills from playing their usual offensive style. The Giants ended up winning 20-19, and defensive coordinator Bill Belichick got to see his game plan enshrined in the Hall of Fame.

Super Bowl XLII // 2008

Between Super Bowl XXV and Super Bowl XLII, it would seem that the New York Giants have a way of turning Super Bowl appearances into massive upsets. This game is considered one of the biggest upsets in NFL history.

The New England Patriots came into the Super Bowl with a perfect regular season, the first team to achieve that in over 30 years. The Giants had had a more mediocre season, finishing with a record of 10-6. It seemed obvious that the Patriots would dominate the game.

It was a fierce battle all four quarters, and both teams had moments where it looked like the game was theirs. Ultimately though, the Giants and quarterback Eli Manning were able to take control during the fourth quarter and win the game 17-14. In a game full of exceptional moments, it was David Tyree’s “Helmet Catch” that truly stands out even over a decade later. 

No matter what team you root for, it’s easy to appreciate an impressive upset.

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