2007: The Year of the Upset

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2007: The Year of the Upset
Eli Manning led his New York Giants to a surprise 17-14 win over the undefeated Patriots in Super Bowl XLII

Eli Manning is a Super Bowl MVP.

 

Let me take a moment to let that all sink in…

 

Eli Manning—the same “little brother of Peyton,” the same guy who led the league in interceptions with 20 in the regular season, the same guy who was called out by his own teammate for his lack of leadership ability, the same guy whose best accomplishment of last season was posing for a candid drunk photo with some girl—is the Super Bowl MVP.

 

A year ago, let alone a few weeks ago, there was no one on the planet who could’ve foreseen Eli leading the Giants to a Super Bowl win.

 

The Giants had to come back from a 14-0 deficit to the Buffalo Bills just to make it to the playoffs. And once they got there, all the Giants had to do was beat the Buccaneers in Tampa, beat the Cowboys in Dallas, and beat the Packers on the frozen tundra in Green Bay just to make it to the Super Bowl.

 

Defying all odds, the Giants won these games against the three best teams in the NFC and somehow managed to dismantle the perfect New England Patriots to win Super Bowl XLII in one of the biggest Super Bowl upsets of all time. 

 

A movie director couldn’t script the story any better:

 

The Giants lose one of their best players of all time to retirement.  They start out 0-2, their starting running back gets hurt, and they barely make the playoffs.

 

But then they come together at the right time to win the Super Bowl.

 

The Giants’ victory signifies the unofficial culmination of the 2007 sports season. 

 

Looking back on everything that transpired, I must say that as a sports fan I feel like I have now seen everything. Everything we expected to happen didn’t. Players who couldn’t perform in the clutch won championships. Powerhouses fell.

 

2007 was the year that the sports world turned upside town. Let’s take a look at the major storylines which transpired during a year that the sports world will never forget.

 

 

January 1, 2007

 

The heavily-favored Oklahoma Sooners are shocked by the undefeated Boise State Broncos. In what is being called one of the greatest games ever, Boise State wins on a dramatic two-point conversion in overtime by running the Statue of Liberty with star running back Ian Johnson. To top off an incredible 43-42 upset, Johnson then proposes to his longtime girlfriend. You couldn’t script it better than that.

 

 

January 8, 2007

 

Undefeated Ohio State gets blown out by a one-loss Florida team in the Tostitos BCS Championship Game, 41-14. Leading up to the Championship game, there had been much debate on whether Florida deserved to be in the game, but the Gators proved to be more than worthy adversaries. This game represents a trend of Ohio State performances on the national stage which we would see throughout the year.

 

 

Peyton Manning
Petyon Manning and the Colts beat the Bears in Super Bowl XLI, in a game that saw Tony Dungy become the first African-American head coach to win the Super Bowl.

February 4, 2007

 

Peyton Manning—the man who had been ridiculed for years for not being able to win the big game—caps off his playoff run with a convincing 29-17 win over the Chicago Bears. For a family which had the reputation of not being able to perform in the clutch, Manning dispels the rumors and proceeds to perform in 1,217 commercials over the next six months.

 

 

April 2, 2007

 

Three months removed from playing in the football National Championship, Florida and Ohio State meet again, this time in the basketball Championship Game. Predictably, Florida wins again, becoming the only school to ever win both football and basketball in the same calendar year. 

 

 

April 28, 2007

 

The Minnesota Vikings select Adrian Peterson as the No. 7 pick in the NFL Draft. The fact that Peterson is picked so low is an upset in and of itself. Only a few months later Peterson is given the prodigious nickname: “Purple Jesus.” 

 

 

May 7, 2007

 

The No. 8 Golden State Warriors defeat the No. 1 Dallas Mavericks in six games in what is being called one of the greatest upsets in NBA playoff history. The Mavericks win a franchise-best 67 games that season, but are no match for Stephen Jackson, Baron Davis, and his thick beard.

 

 

September 1, 2007 

 

No. 5 Michigan Wolverines are stunned at home by the Division I-AA Appalachian State Mountaineers, 34-32. This marks the first time a ranked I-A team has ever lost to a I-AA team. The Mountaineers win foreshadows a season of upsets in college football.  This game will be talked about for ages as one of the biggest upsets in college or professional sports, possibly ever.

 

 

October 6, 2007

 

Pac-10 cellar dweller Stanford ends No. 2 USC’s record 35-game home winning streak as they sneak out of the Coliseum with a 24-23 victory. Tavita Pritchard throws a touchdown pass to Mark Bradford on fourth and goal and the rest is history.  Not only are the invincible Trojans exposed by the weakest team on its schedule, but the lore of Jim Harbaugh grows…

 

 

October 16, 2007

 

The Colorado Rockies ride a wave of momentum from September into the playoffs as they win 21 out of 22 games en route to winning the NL Championship. The Rockies go from being a long shot to making the playoffs to NL Champs.

 

 

November 3, 2007

 

Notre Dame loses to Navy at home, marking the first time in 43 years the Fighting Irish lose to the Midshipmen. This signifies a new low in the history of the Notre Dame football program. Somehow, this is still all Tyrone Willingham’s fault.

 

 

November 8, 2007

 

In just his second game as head coach for the storied Kentucky Wildcats basketball program, Billy Gillispie’s squad is upset at home by the Gardner-Webb Runnin’ Bulldogs. Don’t look now, but UK fans already miss Tubby Smith.

 

 

November 17, 2007

 

The Alabama Crimson Tide inexplicably lose to the University of Louisiana at Monroe Warhawks. While the upset is indeed a big one, the real story here is the fact that Warhawks head coach Charlie Weatherbie makes approximately $3.87 million a year less than Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban.  I hope the Tide are getting their money’s worth.

 

 

November 24, 2007

 

Unranked Arkansas defeats No. 1 LSU in the Battle for the Golden Boot.  Razorbacks All-American running back Darren McFadden proclaims, “I got that wood!”

 

 

December 1, 2007

 

With all the marbles on the line and a chance to play for the National Championship, West Virginia chokes at home against Pitt, a below-average Big East team. Following the Mountaineers upset loss, head coach Rich Rodriguez decides to sneak out of town for greener pastures in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

 

 

December 16, 2007

 

No. 5 Ohio State loses to No. 2 Wake Forest in the NCAA College Cup Soccer championship. 

 

 

January 7, 2008

 

No. 1 Ohio State loses to No. 2 LSU in the Allstate BCS National Championship. The bleeding just doesn’t stop for OSU fans.

 

 

February 3, 2008

 

Eli Manning establishes himself as a Super Bowl-winning quarterback after leading the Giants to an upset victory over arguably the greatest NFL team of all-time, the New England Patriots.

 

I still can’t believe this all happened in one year.

 

2007 was a year characterized by major upsets at home and Ohio State losing in National Championships. 

 

What can we expect from 2008? Who knows, but after that heart-wrenching Super Bowl, we should all be prepared for another rollercoaster year.

 

 

 

David Willams is a columnist for BleacherReport.com.  His entire archive can be found here.

 

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