January 10, 2011

Greatest upset weekend ever?

by Dan Bilicki In: Football, Soccer

Greatest upset weekend ever?

This past weekend we might have seen two of the biggest surprise outcomes in recent football history. And it is thanks to football games from both sides of the pond. Two teams from vastly inferior backgrounds took out their supposedly superior rivals to the shock of many. You might have heard of one of these underdogs, but certainly not the other.

In Seattle, the Seahawks barely squeaked into the NFL playoffs – and did so with a losing record. That didn’t stop them standing up to the defending champion New Orleans Saints, a 10.5-point favourite, and punching them square in the nose.

Even when the Saints tried to rally back late, the Seahawks held their ground and shut down Drew Brees and his fantastic offence. Who would’ve thought a team supposedly this terrible could actually win this game?

And that terrific touchdown run by Marshawn Lynch? That won’t be forgotten when the time for plays of the year rolls around.

Then there was perhaps one of the biggest upsets in football (soccer) history. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not a student of the history of the beautiful game, but when you hear about a team for League Two (the fourth tier of English football) defeating a Premier League team, that’s cause for notice.

Yes, in the FA Cup – one of my favourite tournaments in the world because it gives nearly every even semi-pro team in England a chance at qualifying – teams from all over England compete for one of the oldest titles around. Premier League teams only come into the equation in the third round and that’s where we were at starting this past Saturday.

Well, Newcastle United, currently eighth in the Premier League, was drawn against Stevenage, currently 15th in League Two. But, as any soccer analyst can tell you, games aren’t won in the standings, they’re won on the pitch. And Stevenage surely knew that. The underdogs outplayed their EPL foes and defeated them 3-1 to advance to the next round of the Cup draw.

Maybe Newcastle took them lightly, or maybe they didn’t and were just overwhelmed by the upstarts. But either way, the 2010 Conference National (fifth tier) champions were simply the better side and will now reap the spoils of victory.

And as a final aside, not every EPL team is guaranteed to be drawn against a foe from a lower tier. Just look at who Manchester United and Liverpool drew – each other. I’m sure either would have felt lucky to visit a fourth-tier team that plays in front of 7,100 people at capacity compared to each other.

Leave a Reply