Playoff Upsets: By The Numbers

Originally Published: January 9, 2008
ESPN.com

Super Bowl IIINFL/Getty ImagesJoe Namath's Jets pulled off the NFL's biggest playoff shocker by upsetting the Colts in Super Bowl III.

Playoff Upsets

The following is a list of all the double-digit favorites that have lost in the playoffs since the 1975 season. It also includes Super Bowl III (Jets vs. Colts) and Super Bowl IV (Vikings vs. Chiefs).

Year Round Underdog Favorite Line Score
1969 Super Bowl N.Y. Jets Baltimore -17 Jets, 16-7
2002 Super Bowl New England St. Louis -14.5 Patriots, 20-17
1996 Divisional Jacksonville Denver -14.5 Jaguars, 30-27
1998 Super Bowl Denver Green Bay -11.5 Broncos, 31-24
1995 Divisional Indianapolis Kansas City -11 Colts, 10-7
2002 AFC Championship New England Pittsburgh -10.5 Patriots, 24-17
1999 NFC Championship Atlanta Minnesota -10.5 Falcons, 30-27
1995 Divisional Green Bay San Francisco -10.5 Packers, 27-17
1987 Divisional Minnesota San Francisco -10.5 Vikings, 36-24
1970 Super Bowl Kansas City Minnesota -10 Chiefs, 23-7
2005 Divisional Pittsburgh Indianapolis -10 Steelers, 21-18

Season Sweeps

Think it's difficult to beat a team three times in one season? Not really. Since 1970, teams that have swept an opponent in the regular season are 11-6 when facing that same opponent in the playoffs. The Cowboys will attempt to complete the 3-0 sweep when they host the Giants in a divisional game on Sunday. (3-0 sweeps marked by asterisk)

Year Team Opponent Game 1 Game 2 Playoff game
2004 Green Bay Minnesota GBay, 34-31 GBay, 34-31 Minn, 31-17
2004* St. Louis Seattle StL, 33-27 StL, 23-12 StL, 27-20
2002* Pittsburgh Cleveland Pitt, 16-13 Pitt, 23-20 Pitt, 36-33
2000* NY Giants Philadelphia NYG, 33-18 NYG, 24-7 NYG, 20-10
1999* Tennessee Jacksonville Tenn, 20-19 Tenn, 41-14 Tenn, 33-14
1998 Dallas Arizona Dal, 38-10 Dal, 35-28 Ari, 20-7
1997* Green Bay Tampa Bay GBay, 21-16 GBay, 17-6 GBay, 21-7
1997* New England Miami NEng, 27-24 NEng, 14-12 NEng, 17-3
1994* Pittsburgh Cleveland Pitt, 17-10 Pitt, 17-7 Pitt, 29-9
1994 Minnesota Chicago Minn, 42-14 Minn, 33-27 Chi, 35-18
1993* Oakland Denver Oak, 23-20 Oak, 33-30 Oak, 42-24
1992 Kansas City San Diego KC, 24-10 KC, 16-14 SD, 17-0
1991* Kansas City Oakland KC, 24-21 KC, 27-21 KC, 10-6
1989 Houston Pittsburgh Hou, 27-0 Hou, 23-16 Pitt, 26-23
1986* NY Giants Washington NYG, 27-20 NYG, 24-14 NYG, 17-0
1983 Seattle Oakland Sea, 38-36 Sea, 34-21 Oak, 30-14
1982* Miami NY Jets Mia, 45-28 Mia, 20-19 Mia, 14-0

Biggest Playoff Upsets, Win Differential

The 11-5 Jaguars had five fewer wins than the 16-0 Patriots during the regular season. If the Jags win Saturday night's playoff game, it would tie for the largest postseason upset in terms of regular-season win differential in NFL history.

Year Upset Win Diff.
1987 Vikings (8) over 49ers (13) 5
1934 *Giants (8) over Bears (13) 5
*=Bears were undefeated
ESPN researcher David Rose contributed to this report