Five biggest upsets in NFL playoff history

Seahawks beat Saints in Wildcard
What's the biggest shock in NFL playoff history? Photo from Canal Street Chronicles.

In the NFL playoffs, there are no second chances. You either win or you go home.

Along the years, there have been multiple upsets by teams that were not given much of a chance by the experts.

We put up together 5 of the biggest upsets in the NFL playoff history.

  1. Seahawks shock the defending Super Bowl champions

The Seattle Seahawks won the NFC West despite having a record of 7-9. They faced off the defending Super Bowl champions New Orleans Saints in the Wild Card Round.

The Seahawks were able to pull out the win at Seattle, and this is the game where the famous Marshawn Lynch touchdown run happened. The 67-yard TD run, known as the “Best Quake”, happened in the fourth quarter of the game.

  1. Vikings surprise everyone and beat 49ers

In the 1987 playoffs, the Minnesota Vikings, who had a record of 8-7, beat the then-legendary San Francisco 49ers 36-24.

The Niners had a monster season, finishing 13-2, but the Vikings still came out with the win.

They were led by an incredible game from their wide receiver Anthony Carter, who caught 10 passes for a total of a whooping 227 yards. Joe Montana was even benched in the second half for Steve Young. It’s fair to say that the Vikings earned this victory


  1. Giants upset the high-powered Packers

In the 2011 NFL playoffs, the New York Giants were up against the 15-1 Green Bay Packers, led by Aaron Rodgers.

However, the 9-7 New York Giants were not intimidated by the Packers. The Giants led 20-10 at halftime, and went on to win 37-20, upsetting the Packers in the Divisional Round. The Giants would go on to win the Super Bowl, beating the New England Patriots, which is a feature that was accomplished few times for a team with a 9-7 regular season record.

  1. The Pats stop the Rams and win Super Bowl XXXVI

A high-powered Rams offense was the hot topic of this Super Bowl as they were favored by 14 points over the New England. Plus, a young, unknown-then Tom Brady started the game for the Pats.

After winning the Super Bowl the previous season, the Rams were looking to repeat, but the Pats came off with the win after a great defensive performance and a last-second kick from Adam Vinatieri. The Pats’ defense held the high-flying Rams offense to just 17 points and the Patriots ended up winning 20-17.

  1. The Giants put an end to the Pats’ perfect season

            Another upset featuring Eli Manning and the Giants. This time, they pulled one of the greatest upsets in sports history, beating the New England Patriots and ending their perfect season hopes.

The Pats did not lose one game until the Super Bowl, but Eli Manning and the Giants had other ideas. It’s also in this game were one of the greatest plays ever took place. The famous “Helmet Catch” happened near the end of the game to keep the Giants alive. The final score of this game was 17-14 for the New York Giants.

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