It may sometimes feel like you’re wasting your time supporting a sports team that hasn’t brought home the silverware in a long while but the truth is, sometimes the underdog turns things around and grabs the glory. Here are 5 times that defied all odds and did just that.
Butler Bulldogs (2010–2011) Basketball Gods
The Butler Bulldogs defied the odds not once, but twice, when they made the championship game of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament in back-to-back seasons. Most attribute it to the clever touches of Head Coach Brad Stevens and his star player, Gordon Hayward.
Sadly, they didn’t quite get the fairy tale ending and lost both finals—but you can’t deny the qualities that took a mid-major school from nowhere to somewhere, twice.
New York Giants (2007) A Super Superbowl
The Patriots owned the decade and it seemed that in 2007 they were going to make their permanent mark on the record books. They were set to be the first ever team to make 16 games undefeated in one season.
They were not. The New York Giants may have been unfancied by the bookies as they headed into the Super Bowl that year, but they played like they didn’t know it. Eli Manning danced across the line a minute from the end, giving the Giants the game and crushing the Patriots’ dreams of immortality in the record books.
Boston Red Sox (2004) Finally The Bride And Not The Bridesmaid
The Boston Red Sox have often been contenders for the playoffs, but when they finally hit the America League Championship Series playoffs in 2004, it looked like they were going home empty handed and fast.
They lost the first 3 games of the series of seven. The New York Yankees appeared to be a shoe in for the series. Then the Red Sox hit back. They became the only team in history to drop their first three games and win a seven game series. Then they went on to take the World Series from the St. Louis Cardinals—an amazing comeback of epic proportions.
Leicester City (2016) Premier League Minnows Get Mighty
Leicester City’s British Premiership win in 2016 was totally unprecedented. Not only had the team won nothing of note for their entire 132-year history, but they were a cobbled-together low budget side that had nearly been relegated the year before.
Yet, they saw off the big money teams of Chelsea, Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal, and Tottenham Hotspur to land their first ever Premiership and become only the fifth team to do so in the league’s history. It seems unlikely that they will ever repeat this feat.
USA Men’s Hockey Team (1980) Cracking The Cold War
During the Cold War, the Olympics became a very serious business. What made the USA Men’s Hockey Team win so special in 1980 wasn’t the fact that they beat the Russian team 4–3. It was that the entire American squad was made up of real amateur players and college kids, while the Russian team was made of the usual Russian professional sportsmen pretending to be amateurs.
It was a truly thrilling achievement which may never be matched in sports history again.