What is considered a dynasty in professional football? There are just too many variables to answer that question accurately.
Whenever I try to define a dynasty in NFL terms, I always have a couple of questions that come to mind:
1. Can there be more than one dynasty during the same era?
If Pittsburgh wins Super Bowl XLIV, they will equal the Patriots total of three in this decade. New England is already widely regarded as a dynasty because of their three titles in four seasons from 2001-2004.
Throw in an undefeated regular season and the highest winning percentage of the decade and you have a pretty solid case.
The Steelers would have three titles in five years from 2005-2009 and a pretty impressive winning percentage of their own.
Would that qualify Pittsburgh as a dynasty? I'm still not sure.
The Browns and the Lions dominated the NFL in the '50s, each winning three titles during the decade. Cleveland appeared in seven Championship games, including six in a row from 1950-1955 to earn most people's vote as the team of the decade.
But in head-to-head matchups for the NFL Championship between the Lions and Browns, Detroit won three out of four. So which team was a dynasty? Both? Your guess is as good as mine.
2. Are Super Bowl appearances the most important factor in determining a dynasty?
The Steelers would pull even with the Patriots with a third title this decade, but New England would have made more Super Bowl appearances with four. Does a loss in the big game count against a team?
During the '70s, Dallas played in five Super Bowls while Pittsburgh only played in four. But, the Cowboys only won two of those games while the Steelers won all four, including two victories head-to-head against Dallas. The Steelers get the nod.
The Bills played in four straight Super Bowls from 1990-1993 but couldn't win a single one. Meanwhile, the Cowboys won all three of their appearances, including two lopsided victories over Buffalo.
The Cowboys were considered a dynasty, the Bills were merely a very good team that couldn't win the big game.
Super Bowl wins appear to weigh more heavily than total appearances.
3. Does a team have to be dominant over a certain length of time to be considered a dynasty?
How long does it have to be? Five years? Six? The Steelers have won their two titles in a span of four years, but they have been perennial Super Bowl contenders throughout the decade.
Is that dominant enough or do they need to bring home a few more Lombardi trophies to make a legitimate argument?
Washington made the playoffs seven times and won three Super Bowls during a 10-year span from 1982-1991, but the Redskins don't drum up much dynasty talk. Why not?
It might be because the 49ers were winning five Super Bowls from 1981-1994, which brings us back to my first question.
This current group of Steelers might not be done winning titles, so we will probably have to reserve judgment for another couple of years. But, I still like the sound of another Steelers' dynasty to rank right up there with the team from the '70s.
So, if they win it again this year I'll call them a dynasty. Maybe.
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