20. 2012 Baltimore Ravens
> Regular season record: 10-6 (0.625 win pct.)
> Regular season scoring: 398 points scored, 344 points allowed
> Star player: Haloti Ngata
The Baltimore Ravens were an afterthought in the 2012 NFL playoff picture. The team went 10-6, winning the AFC North by virtue of a tiebreaker over the Cincinnati Bengals. Baltimore was an underdog against the Denver Broncos, New England Patriots, and San Francisco 49ers, but beat each of them to capture the franchise’s second Super Bowl.
19. 2003 Florida Marlins
> Regular season record: 91-71 (0.562 win pct.)
> Regular season scoring: 751 runs scored, 692 runs allowed
> Star player: Ivan Rodriguez
The Florida (now Miami) Marlins made it to the postseason just twice in franchise history — both ended with World Series titles. The 2003 team, like the 1997 squad, finished well back of the Atlanta Braves and settled for a Wild Card spot. The Marlins then stunned the 100-win Giants and edged out the Cubs in a controversial NLCS to make the World Series. To the surprise of most baseball fans, Florida went toe-to-toe with the heavily favored New York Yankees, beating them in six games.
18. 2011 St. Louis Cardinals
> Regular season record: 90-72 (0.556 win pct.)
> Regular season scoring: 762 runs scored, 692 runs allowed
> Star player: Albert Pujols
The 2011 St. Louis Cardinals simply refused to lose on their improbable run to the World Series. The team had to win 16 of their final 21 games just to get a Wild Card spot. The Cardinals’ 90-72 record is tied for the fifth-worst for a World Series-winning team. But the Cardinals toppled a 102-win Phillies team in the first round and survived a wild game six of the World Series against the Texas Rangers to keep their season alive, before finally pulling away in game seven.
17. 2008-09 Pittsburgh Penguins
> Regular season record: 45-28-9 (0.604 point pct.)
> Regular season scoring: 264 goals scored, 239 goals allowed
> Star player: Evgeni Malkin
The 2008-09 Pittsburgh Penguins posted a 45-28-9 record, good only for fourth in the Eastern Conference and severely underperforming preseason expectations. The team was below .500 going into the All-Star break and fired coach Michel Therrien. New coach, Dan Bylsma, righted the ship, leading the Pens to an 18-3-4 record after taking over. The Pens continued to topple terrific teams like the Washington Capitals and Detroit Red Wings en route to the Stanley Cup.
16. 1996-97 Detroit Red Wings
> Regular season record: 38-26-18 (0.573 point pct.)
> Regular season scoring: 250 goals scored, 196 goals allowed
> Star player: Brendan Shanahan
The 1996-97 Detroit Red Wings played a lot of close games, having the second-most ties in the NHL with 18. The Colorado Avalanche separated themselves as the Stanley Cup favorites throughout the regular season, while Detroit floundered, going 6-7-2 in their final 15 games. But Hall of Fame coach Scotty Bowman was able to get the team ready for the postseason. The Red Wings beat the Avs 4-2 to win the Western Conference title before sweeping the Philadelphia Flyers to win the Cup.