||10-11-2013 08:16 AM
Examples of historic upsets in the regular season.
I've been trying to find some big upsets in NFL history and see if some of the factors are there that could come to bear this weekend. This doesn't feel like the Ravens playoff loss, for example, because the Ravens were a good team last year. So I wondered if there were any examples of crappy, winless teams beating, to that point, pretty good ones. I found at least three:
The 5-0 '79 Buccs lost to the 0-5 Giants. Tampa turned the ball over to a brand new Phil Sims and the G-men beat them 14-17. The game was in New York, though. And the Giants had a decent defense. The Bucc would go on to play in, and lose the NFCCG.
In 1975, the eventually Super Bowl bound, Roger Staubach-led Dallas Cowboys lost at home to a winless Green Bay team in week 5. This took another great defensive effort by Green Bay. Dallas was shut out in the first half. The Cowboys would take the lead but lose it as Joe Hadl scored a late fourth quarter TD to win. The Packers would go on to continue to suck, and the Cowboys would eventually get to the Super Bowl (and lose).
The last one I found was the unbeaten 5-0, and eventual NFL Champion '63 Bears losing to the winless 0-5 Niners in San Fran. It is difficult to tell what happened because the game is so old, but two of Chi-town's QB's played. One had an awful game, with two ints and not many completions and a second QB did better. San Fran got a 17 point lead in the first half and the Bears struggled to catch up coming up short despite San Fran only getting a field goal in the second half.
There may be some other examples, but the example from above is probably the closest. The week is the same and some of the elements are similar. The Niners head Jack Christensen was an assistant who took over the club after the head coach was fired mid-season.
After just over four years of inconsistent play, Hickey resigned on September 30, 1963, with Christiansen receiving the promotion to head coach. In that season's final 11 games, the 49ers won only twice, but held the distinction of being the only team to defeat the eventual NFL champion Chicago Bears.
Going into that game the Niners had lost to their two previous opponents by combined scores of 6-46 (This is the early sixties, mind you, so being outscored by that much was not the norm). They were considered the worst in the NFL. So it was of some historic significance for that year. The Bears would never lose again that year (they would tie twice, again this is the early 60's of football).
I'm sure there are other examples. But I just wanted to point out there were some instances of great teams being upset.