15 Inspiring Sports Underdog Stories

15 Inspiring Sports Underdog Stories

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Everyone likes a good underdog story every now and then. After all, the story of the little guy overcoming adversity has always been a favorite of people across the country. Those people would love these 15 underdog stories from the world of sports.

15. 2008 Fresno State Baseball

2008 Men's College World Series Game 3
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15. 2008 Fresno State Baseball

2008 Men's College World Series Game 3
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Fresno State came out of nowhere in 2008 and shocked the country by even qualifying for the College World Series. Imagine the shockwaves across the nation when they went on to win it all.

14. 2006 Boise State Football

Boise State v Washington
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14. 2006 Boise State Football

Boise State v Washington
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The story about Boise State football in the mid-2000s was always that they played well in their conference, but couldn't beat the big boys of college football. That changed in the 2006 Fiesta Bowl when they knocked off powerhouse Oklahoma by mounting a comeback and then pulling a statue of liberty play for the two-point conversion and the win.

13. 1994 Denver Nuggets

1994 Slam Dunk Contest
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13. 1994 Denver Nuggets

1994 Slam Dunk Contest
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The Super Sonics were a powerhouse during the 1994 season. They were a slightly downgraded version of the Miami Heat, and with Michael Jordan out of the game, they felt they were ready to win a title. The eighth-seeded Nuggets had other plans, however, and they shocked the world by pulling off the big upset.

12. 2007 Stanford Football

The 100th Rose Bowl Game - Stanford v Michigan State
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12. 2007 Stanford Football

The 100th Rose Bowl Game - Stanford v Michigan State
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Stanford football wasn't always competitive like they are now. Back in 2007, they were 41-point underdogs to the mighty USC Trojans. However, led by head coach Jim Harbaugh, the Cardinal defied the odds and defeated Pete Carroll's team.

11. 2006 George Mason Basketball

Florida Gators v George Mason Patriots
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11. 2006 George Mason Basketball

Florida Gators v George Mason Patriots
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Nobody had heard of the George Mason basketball team until the 2006 season. Then they burst onto the scene in the NCAA tournament where they went on an extremely unlikely run to the Final Four. Even though they fell to the eventual champion Florida Gators, they put themselves on the map.

10. 1983 N.C. State Basketball

Jim Valvano NC St
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10. 1983 N.C. State Basketball

Jim Valvano NC St
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Led by head coach Jim Valvano, the Wolf Pack rallied and defeated the mighty Houston Cougars in the 1983 national championship game. However, the game became just a footnote to the life of Jimmy V. after he delivered one of the most heartfelt speeches of all-time at the ESPYs when he was terminally ill with cancer.

9. 2011 St. Louis Cardinals

St. Louis Cardinals v Milwaukee Brewers
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9. 2011 St. Louis Cardinals

St. Louis Cardinals v Milwaukee Brewers
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The Cardinals were nine games out of the wild card entering September of 2011 and they were all but out of it. However, they went on a magical run that saw them climb into the playoffs on the final day of the season. Then they conquered the reigning NL champion Phillies in the first round. In the World Series against the Rangers, they were down to their last strike twice in Game 6 and rallied to win the series.

8. 1966 Texas Western Basketball

Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame Announces Class of 2007
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8. 1966 Texas Western Basketball

Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame Announces Class of 2007
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Texas Western was the first college basketball team ever to start five African-American players. It was a matter of criticism around the country, but they gelled as a team. As documented in the stellar film Glory Road, the team made it all the way to the national championship where they knocked off the legendary Kentucky Wildcats.

7. 1968 New York Jets

3rd Annual NFL Honors
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7. 1968 New York Jets

3rd Annual NFL Honors
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When Joe Namath, quarterback of the New York Jets, promised a win in Super Bowl III over the heavily favored Colts, a legend was born. The Jets were heavy underdogs, but Hollywood Joe delivered on his promise and the AFL was legitimized in the public eye. Thus, the modern NFL was born.

6. 2009 Appalachian State Football

Appalachian State v East Carolina
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6. 2009 Appalachian State Football

Appalachian State v East Carolina
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Michigan was nationally ranked and the Appalachian State football team wasn't even in the same division of college football when the teams met in 2009. However, Appalachian State shocked the world when they blocked a Wolverine field goal attempt and ran on to the biggest upset in college football history.

5. 1969 New York Mets

Philadelphia Phillies v New York Mets
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5. 1969 New York Mets

Philadelphia Phillies v New York Mets
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There's a reason the 1969 Mets are called the "Miracle Mets." What they did was nothing short of miraculous. They went on an incredible run in September to erase a sizable deficit to the division-leading Cubs and went on to win the first World Series title in franchise history.

4. 2010 Butler Basketball

NCAA Men's Championship Game - Butler v UConn
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4. 2010 Butler Basketball

NCAA Men's Championship Game - Butler v UConn
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Nobody thought that the eighth-seeded Bulldogs would even make it past the second round of the 2010 NCAA tournament, but they did everyone three better. They somehow reached the national championship game to take on Duke. In a classic David vs. Goliath battle that almost ended with a Gordon Heyward buzzer beater. If he buried that shot, this might have been No. 1 on the list.

3. 2007 New York Giants

Pittsburgh Steelers v New York Giants
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3. 2007 New York Giants

Pittsburgh Steelers v New York Giants
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The Patriots were primed to become the only team in the 16-game season era of professional football to finish an entire year undefeated. They were taking on the Giants, that were 9-7 during the regular season, so it seemed like a foregone conclusion. However, the legend of David Tyree was born with one of the best catches in Super Bowl history and the Giants made the 1972 Miami Dolphins a very happy bunch.

2. 2004 Boston Red Sox

Atlanta Braves v Boston Red Sox
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2. 2004 Boston Red Sox

Atlanta Braves v Boston Red Sox
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Even the most optimistic Red Sox fans were starting to focus on the Patriots' season when their team went down 3-0 to the rival Yankees in the 2004 ALCS. This team set themselves apart from Red Sox teams of years' past, though, and they battled their way back. In one of the most inspirational sports stories of all-time, they rallied back to down the rival Yankees and claim the World Series title they had chased for nearly a century.

1. 1980 USA Hockey Team

OLY Opening Ceremony X
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1. 1980 USA Hockey Team

OLY Opening Ceremony X
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There's a very small chance that any underdog story will ever top this moment. Set in the social context of the Cold War, the USA hockey team, who only let college amateurs play at the time, defeated the USSR team full of grown men. Just a couple weeks earlier, they had lost 10-3. However, after their miraculous win, they re-energized the nation and gave them hope for the future.


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