The Blueprint for Building a Modern NFL Dynasty
The idea of a dynasty in the NFL is a difficult task in the current situation of the league. With a tight salary cap, and the lack of consistency among championship franchises on a yearly basis, the challenge is presented in front of all 32 franchises.
What is the key to producing an NFL dynasty? I have five thoughts on how a dynasty can form in today's NFL.
5. Producing a Quality Defense
For decades, the NFL was defined by the idea that "defenses win championships." While the sport has changed in many ways over the years, a sustained dynasty needs to produce a quality defense.
In recent years, championship teams have found success because their defense can match the performance of their own offense. The Pittsburgh Steelers have won two championships over the past decade because their defense has performed up to the task in the biggest moments.
Tom Brady might have won three championships in large part due to his play, but his veteran defense never earns enough credit. Last year, Brady fell short of a third championship because the Giants defense stepped up late in the game when it mattered most.
Although producing a quality offense is essential in the modern NFL, successful defenses will make the difference in a team sustaining long-term success.
4. Succeeding Through the NFL Draft
Although the NFL is known for its parity, it's not a coincidence that the same teams are always producing quality seasons and competing for championships. Instead of building teams through free agency, the elite franchises utilize the NFL draft to produce young, talented players who make a name for themselves at the next level.
More importantly, it's clearly not only about selecting successful talent in the first few rounds of the NFL draft. Many of the league's impact players have been selected after the first two rounds in the draft. Tom Brady is the most notable player, as he was selected in the sixth round in the draft.
However, in recent years players such as Lardarius Webb and Antonio Brown are notable draft picks who made an impact despite not being selected early in the draft.
With the tough restrictions every team faces due to the salary cap, it's essential for a team to have consistent success in the draft to have a chance of forming a dynasty.
3. Manage the Salary Cap Effectively
The reason that finding success in the draft is very crucial is due to the margin of error that NFL franchises have with the salary cap. A salary cap has been a major reason for the lack of dynasty's in recent memory, as there is plenty of turnover among rosters around the league.
Executives face the challenge of determining which key players need to be re-signed each offseason, and whether they are willing to give in to the demands of their quality players.
The NFL is a league that has proven to be difficult for teams to win multiple championships in a short time span. If general managers don't work the salary cap well and dedicate the majority of the available space to a few players, the odds are against a franchise to sustain success over a long period.
2. Continuity Between Head Coach and General Manager
There is no secret when it comes to how the elite NFL franchises are successful for an extended period of time. Their ability to keep their personnel, specifically the head coach and general manager, in place during the duration of their success is crucial to the extended development of the players.
Players need time to adapt to certain coaching philosophies, and the rapid change franchises make with head coaches and coordinators makes it difficult for them to reach their full potential.
The relationship between a general manager and a head coach typically goes unnoticed. However, both are responsible for daily operations within the franchise. Ultimately, a good connection between management and the coaching staff is a step in the right direction towards finding success with a franchise.
1. Drafting and Developing the Franchise Quarterback
In order to build an NFL dynasty, a franchise needs to excel in many areas to compete for championships on a consistent basis.
Ultimately, the biggest reason for the success of NFL dynasties is due to the successful play at the quarterback position. That is especially true now in a league where both the rules and style of play favor the signal-caller and his offense.
Eli Manning earned his second championship in five years, and has proven to make the biggest throws late in game when it has mattered most.
Tom Brady and Peyton Manning give their respective teams hope for each season, as their play elevates the performance of their teammates to a higher level.
Though, the ability to select a franchise quarterback who eventually finds success isn't always easy. Fortunately, the amount of young quarterbacks who are finding success does bode well for the rest of the league.
Robert Griffin III, Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson are bringing hope to their franchises and will make them contenders for years to come.
As the NFL awaits for the next greatest dynasty to form, the success starts and ends with the quarterback.