Best Upsets of 2012: List Includes Manny Pacquiao, Andy Murray, Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos

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Dec 22, 2012 02:39 PM EST
Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow
Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow prays after the Broncos defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers in overtime in the NFL AFC wildcard playoff football game in Denver, Colorado, January 8."

During the course of 2012 there were so many exciting games and upsets that it's hard to remember them all. But there some games and matches that stuck out over others that were truly memorable this year, including the Super Bowl victory for the New York Giants and the Stanley Cup victory for the Los Angeles Kings.

Sure, some might say that since the Giants had previously beaten the Patriots that it wasn't much of an upset, but it still fits the bill in most ways. Some upsets are more shocking than others, here are a few memorable ones from the year of 2012.

Denver Broncos Defeat Pittsburgh Steelers In AFC Playoffs

Broncos 29, Steelers 23

Tim Tebow did something special with the Broncos last season. Whatever anyone thinks about him as a quarterback or New York Jet player is irrelevant; last season he led the Broncos on a wild and exciting ride that culminated with a victory the AFC Wild Card round against the favored Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Broncos had the game at home because they were a division winner, but were only 8-8 in the AFC West, compared to the Steelers who went 12-4 in the arguably tougher AFC North. Pittsburgh got out to an early 6-0 lead, but the Broncos stormed back by scoring 20 points in the second quarter off of a Tim Tebow touchdown pass to Eddie Royal, a rushing score from Tebow and two field goals from kicker Matt Prater, who was consistent all night for Denver.

After Prater gave the Broncos a 23-13 lead in the fourth quarter, the Denver defense fell back, allowing Ben Roethlishberger and the Steelers to tie the game and send it to overtime. As quickly as the overtime got started, the game was over.

On the first play from scrimmage, Tebow hit wide receiver Demaryius Thomas across the middle for a short gain, which he then turned into an 80-yard touchdown and the game-winning score. Tebow took the ground and "Tebowed", while the entire stadium erupted in cheer.

The magical ride ended the next week in a loss to the New England Patriots and then was completely ended soon after when Tebow was traded to the Broncos. Everyone knows how that turned out.

Andy Murray Wins U.S. Open Title Over Novak Djokovic

Murray sure had a fantastic year in 2012. He won the gold medal while playing at Wimbeldon in the London Olympics and then capped off his year by winning the final major of the season. Throughout his career Murray came close, but was never able to breakthrough and win his first major.

Murray was up two sets early and looked as though he had things in control, but like he always does, Djokovic battled back. The first set was an epic tiebreaker and the wind was moving the ball around the court in crazy directions during the entire match. Djokovic fought back against Murray and tied things up to take it to a fifth set.

After a slow start, Murray powered ahead to take the final set, winning the match 7-6 [10], 7-5, 2-6, 3-6, 6-2. Making Murray's win even more of an upset is the fact that all the major championships in the past three years have been won by only four names: Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Djokovic and Juan Martin Del Potro, who won one U.S. Open. Now Murray joins that list for the first time in his career.

St. Louis Cardinals Defeat the Washington Nationals In NLDS Game 5

The St. Louis Cardinals know what it's like to play with their backs against the wall. The team won the World Series last year despite being down to their last strike two different times to the Texas Rangers, so the fact that they were down 6-0 after three innings didn't matter much to them.

Slowly the team battled back--scoring on a wild pitch, a clutch single, a timely groundout--and cut the lead to 7-5 entering the ninth inning. The Nationals brought in closer Drew Storen and once again the Cardinals were down to their last strike twice. But then Storen walked Yadier Molina and David Freese and gave up singles to Daniel Descalso and Pete Kozma, giving the Cardinals a 9-7 lead.

St. Louis held on for the win and knocked out the team that had the best record in baseball during the regular-season.

Knockout of Manny Pacquiao By Juan Manuel Marquez

Everyone wants to see a Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather Jr. fight, but everyone knows they never will. Instead Pacquiao took on Juan Manuel Marquez for the fourth time and ended up losing some of that luster that makes him the best pound for pound fighter in the world. Marquez knocked Pacquiao down hard and ended the fight on a perfect punch in round six.

Honorable Mention:

Lukas Rosol Defeats Rafael Nadal in Second Round at Wimbeldon

Nadal was likely feeling some pain in the knee that has kept him out from playing tennis since this match, but it was still a stunning upset. After losing the first set to a tiebreak, Rosol battled back to win the match 6-7 (9), 6-4, 6-4, 2-6, 6-4.

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