Virginia Commonwealth’s basketball team went from play-in bubble team to the Final Four, and has become the talk of the sporting world. But Cinderella runs are not just limited to college hoops. The NFL has had its share or memorable Cinderella teams, and we will count them down right now.
2010 Packers. The Packer deserve consideration after battling through injuries, nearly missing the playoffs and becoming the first No. 6 seed in NFC history to win a Super Bowl. But the team did open the season as one of the favorites to reach the Super Bowl.
1979 Los Angeles Rams. Finished 9-7, but led the Steelers 19-17 in the fourth quarter of Super Bowl XIV before ultimately losing.
And without further ado …
6. 2008 Cardinals
A Super Bowl win would have likely made this the biggest Cinderella story in NFL history. Instead, we settle for a memorable Super Bowl as Kurt Warner nearly pulled off the miracle.
5. 1969 Chiefs
The Chiefs lost starting QB Len Dawson, and backup Jacky Lee. But third-stringer Mike Livingston, along with the team’s defense, orchestrated a five-game winning streak. Dawson returned and the Chiefs beat the Jets and Raiders in the AFL playoffs, and knocked off the heavily-favored Vikings in Super Bowl IV.
4. 1980 Raiders
Raiders QB Dan Pastorini broke his leg in Week 5 against the Chiefs, and Jim Plunkett came off the bench to throw five interceptions as the Raiders fell to 2-3. But coach Tom Flores stuck with Plunkett, and the Raiders became the first wild card team in NFL history to win the Super Bowl, knocking off the Eagles.
3. 2001 Patriots
The Patriots seemed doomed after starting 0-2, and losing QB Drew Bledsoe. But sixth-round pick Tom Brady led the Patriots to a division title and one of the most unlikely Super Bowl wins ever, knocking off heavily-favored St. Louis in Super Bowl XXXVI. Brady earned MVP honors in that game.
2. 1968 Jets
Nobody gave the Jets much of a chance in Super Bowl III against the NFL’s dominant Colts. But QB Joe Namath guaranteed the win and, well, you know the rest.
1. 1999 Rams
St. Louis was coming off a 4-12 season, and few thought there would be any kind of turnaround when Trent Green went down with a knee injury in preseason. But the famed journeyman/grocery clerk/Arena League star, Warner, engineered one of the most improbable seasons in NFL history, capped off by a win over the Titans in Super Bowl XXXIV.