Saints vs. Seahawks and the 10 Biggest Playoff Upsets in NFL History

Brian Shannon@bshannon15Correspondent IJanuary 9, 2011

Saints Vs. Seahawks & the 10 Biggest Playoff Upsets in NFL History

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    SEATTLE, WA - JANUARY 08:  Head coach Pete Carroll and Lawyer Milloy #36 of the Seattle Seahawks celebrate a fourth down stop by the Seahawks in the third quarter against the New Orleans Saints during the 2011 NFC wild-card playoff game at Qwest Field on
    Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

    The Seattle Seahawks pulled off one of the biggest upsets in NFL playoff history on Saturday when they took down the defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints.

    Very few people gave the Seahawks a chance to win the game, but they were able to put together their best performance of the season to advance to the Divisional playoffs.

    Seattle over New Orleans isn't the first major upset in NFL playoff history, and it certainly will not be the last either.

    Parity is the name of the game in the NFL, and the fact that Seattle was able to overcome all the doubters just further proves that.

    Here is a look at the 10 biggest upsets in NFL playoff history.

2005 Divisional Playoffs: Manning and the Colts Fall to the Steelers

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    Pittsburgh Steelers half back Jerome Bettis (36) in action against the Denver Broncos during the AFC Championship Game at Invesco Field in Denver, Colorado on January 22, 2006. The Steelers won the game against the Broncos 34 to 17. (Photo by Allen Kee/Ge
    Allen Kee/Getty Images

    The Steelers entered their divisional playoff game against the Indianapolis Colts as 10-point underdogs.

    The Colts came into the game with a record of 14-2 and 7-1 in the RCA Dome, but none of that mattered in this contest.

    Pittsburgh jumped out to an early 14-0 lead in the first quarter and never looked back, dominating nearly the entire game before the Colts put up 15 fourth quarter points to make the score respectable.

    The Steelers didn't do anything spectacular to win the game, rushing for just 2.7 yards per carry, and Ben Roethlisberger threw for just 197 yards. However, as the Steelers often do, they found a way to win.

    Peyton Manning threw for a solid 290 yards and one touchdown, but his defense was on the field for far too much of the game as his comeback attempt fell short.

Super Bowl IV: Kansas City Chiefs Beat Minnesota Vikings

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    The Kansas City Chiefs were seeking redemption after losing in Super Bowl I to the Green Bay Packers, and they were able to find it in Super Bowl IV against the Minnesota Vikings.

    The Chiefs were able to even the score for the AFL against the NFL as quarterback Len Dawson led Kansas City to victory while being named the Super Bowl MVP.

    Super Bowl IV set a new attendance record of 80,562 people as they witnessed the Chiefs dominating defense beat up on the Vikings.

    Chiefs' coach Hank Stram, always a colorful character, was miked for sound during the game in what has become one of the best known videos from NFL Films.

Super Bowl XLII: New York Giants Defeat New England Patriots

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    The 2007 New England Patriots were supposed to be unbeatable, and up until Super Bowl XLII, they had been.

    The New York Giants had different ideas though. They were able to end the Patriots perfect season with an amazing game-winning drive that was capped off with a Plaxico Burress 13-yard touchdown reception with just 35 seconds remaining in the game.

    During the drive, Giants' wide receiver David Tyree made one of the greatest postseason catches in NFL history when he brought in an improbable reception by trapping the ball against his helmet.

2011 Wild Card Round: Seattle Seahawks over New Orleans Saints

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    SEATTLE, WA - JANUARY 08:  Quarterback Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints walks off the field after the Saints were defeated 41-36 by the Seattle Seahawks during the 2011 NFC wild-card playoff game at Qwest Field on January 8, 2011 in Seattle, Washin
    Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

    The Seattle Seahawks had no chance right?

    That's what everyone told them, and despite what the Saints may have said, they had to love their chances against the first team in NFL history to win their division with a losing record.

    Seattle came into the game against the defending Super Bowl champs with a record of just 7-9, and they exited the home of the 12th man with a record of 8-9 following their shocking 41-36 win.

    The Seahawks came into the game as 10.5 point underdogs, and after falling behind by 10 points two different times in the first half, they were able to answer and keep the game within reach.

    Seahawks' running back Marshawn Lynch saved his best for the biggest stage he has played on, running for 131 yards on 19 carries, including one of the greatest postseason runs in NFL history when he bounced off multiple Saints defenders in route to a 67-yard score.

    The Saints have still never won a road playoff game, and the loss continues the streak of defending Super Bowl champions to have not won a playoff game the following season, dating back to the Patriots in 2005.

Super Bowl III: New York Jets Shock Baltimore Colts

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    In what many consider to be the biggest upset in NFL history, the New York Jets beat the Baltimore Colts 16-7 to win Super Bowl III.

    The Jets came into the game as a 17-point underdog, trying to show that a team from the AFL belonged on the same field as a team from the NFL.

    Jets' quarterback Joe Namath famously guaranteed a victory before the game, and he delivered on his promise by completing 17 of his 28 passes for 206 yards while leading his team to victory.

1997 Divisional Playoffs: Jacksonville Jaguars Beat Denver Broncos

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    27 Dec 1997:  Quarterback Mark Brunell of the Jacksonville Jaguars tries to avoid the pressure during a game against the Denver Broncos at Mile High Stadium in Denver, Colorado.  Denver won the game 42-17. Mandatory Credit: Brian Bahr  /Allsport
    Brian Bahr/Getty Images

    Jacksonville barely made it into the AFC playoffs as the fifth seed in 1997, and after defeating the Bills in their first postseason contest, they headed to Denver to take on a John Elway-led Broncos squad that appeared poised to win the Super Bowl.

    Denver was the AFC's top seed and 14.5 point favorites to beat the Jaguars, but they were unable to do so, falling 30-27.

    It was only Jacksonville's second season in the NFL, and it's safe to say the win was the biggest in franchise history.

2008 Divisional Playoffs: Arizona Cardinals over Carolina Panthers

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    GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 28:  Quarterback Kurt Warner #13 of the Arizona Cardinals throws a pass against the Seattle Seahawks on December 28, 2008 at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    Oh, that pesky NFC West; Arizona entered the playoffs with a record of just 9-7, only to advance to the Super Bowl.

    A win over Carolina took place along the way in which the Cards defeated the previously 12-4 Panthers by a score of 33-13. The Panthers had been undefeated at home, and the Cardinals had gone just 3-5 on the road in the regular season.

    The final score was just as shocking as the win itself as Arizona dominated most of the game. Panthers running back Jonathan Stewart got his squad on the board first with a nine-yard touchdown run just four minutes into the game, but the Cardinals went on to score the games next 33 points.

Super Bowl XXXVI: New England Patriots Defeat the St. Louis Rams

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    03 Feb 2002:   Adam Vinatieri #4 of the New England Patriots breaks into celebration after kicking the game winning field goal against the St.Louis Rams during Superbowl XXXVI at the Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana.  The Patriots defeated the Rams 20-
    Al Bello/Getty Images

    The Patriots dynasty had to start somewhere and Super Bowl XXXVI was that place.

    New England entered the game against "The Greatest Show on Turf" as 14.5-point underdogs that were clearly given little chance to win.

    The Patriots were in control for most of the game, leading at halftime 14-3 before letting the Rams back into it. St. Louis tied the game late but left enough time for Brady and Co. to move down the field and set up the game-winning field goal.

    Adam Vinatieri didn't miss, and the rest is history.

1988 Divisional Playoffs: Minnesota Vikings Shock Montana and the 49ers

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    SAN FRANCISCO - JANUARY 1:  Running back Alfred Anderson #46 of the Minnesota Vikings looks for room to run against Jeff Fuller #49 and Greg Cox #38 of the San Francisco 49ers during the 1988 NFC Divisional Playoffs at Candlestick Park on January 1, 1989
    George Rose/Getty Images

    The Vikings were 10.5-point underdogs when they traveled to San Francisco for the 1988 divisional playoffs to take on the mighty 49ers and Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana.

    Minnesota seemed to be overmatched coming into the game with a record of just 8-7, while the Niners were 13-2 entering the contest.

    Wide receiver Anthony Carter came up huge for the Vikings, hauling in 227 receiving yards and leading the Vikings to a 36-24 playoff triumph.

Super Bowl XXXII: Denver Broncos Take Down the Packers

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    25 Jan 1998:  Terrell Davis #30 of the Denver Broncos celebrates scoring a touch down during the NFL Super Bowl XXXII Game against the Green Bay Packers at the Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California. The Broncos defeated the Packers 31-24. Mandatory Cr
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    It was only a matter of time before Denver Broncos great John Elway got his Super Bowl ring and Super Bowl XXXII proved to be that time.

    Elway received plenty of support from his supporting cast, particularly running back Terrell Davis who ran for 157 yards and a Super Bowl record three rushing touchdowns.

    Denver came into the game as 11.5-point underdogs and were not phased as they left champions by the score of 31-24.

    The Broncos win snapped a 13-game Super Bowl losing streak for the AFC and was the beginning of a two-year championship run for Denver.

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