While favoring the big dog is often the most logical choice, favoring the underdog is often the most irresistible one.
The story of the underdog is a story that we can all relate to. I believe the reason why we want the little guy to take down the bigger guy is because we all feel like the small guy sometimes. When we watch the guy who isn’t expected to succeed do great things, it gives us the idea that we, too, can accomplish bigger things in our own lives. The triumph of the little guy gives us the “take on the world” attitude.
Sports are the easiest way that we convey our feelings about the little guy. Honestly, what sports movie is not about an underdog? From Seabiscuit to Cinderella Man to Rudy, it appears the underdog dominates the film industry, our hearts and imaginations.
Odds are, if you haven’t rooted for the little guy, you have bought your ticket to hop on some band wagon.
Some famous underdogs include Tom Brady, the 1968 New York Jets, the 1980 USA Hockey team, Rudy, Upset vs. Man O’War (100-1 0dds), Buster Douglas vs. Mike Tyson, Bob Knight vs. his temper, Tiger Woods vs. everyone, and Ricky Williams vs. weed.
Another prime example, and my personal favorite, is the 2005 NCAA National Championship football game. The USC Trojans, one of the most prestigious teams in all of football, were playing for their third straight title. On the other end of the field were the Texas Longhorns, who had not won a championship since 1970. All year, the Trojans were ranked number one, and Texas two. Reggie Bush won the Heisman Trophy and Vince Young came in with a second place finish.
The game was primarily back and forth until 2:09 left in the fourth quarter. USC was on its way to a victory, all they needed was two yards on fourth down to seal the deal. The Longhorn defense had other plans. Texas’ defense held USC to get the turnover on downs. The championship came down to fourth down and five from the USC eight yard line, Texas’ last chance at victory. With 19 seconds to play, quarterback Vince Young ran the ball into the corner of the end zone to put the Trojans in their place. Young finished with 200 rushing yards… Bush had an unimpressive 89.
The story of the underdog will always be one that I tell and retell the most. There truly is nothing better in sports than watching David kill Goliath.
The underdog will always be the favorite.