Super Bowl 2011: Can the Green Bay Packers Be the NFL's Newest Dynasty
The Green Bay Packers defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLV and brought the Vince Lombardi Trophy back home to Titletown, USA.
Aaron Rodgers had a brilliant performance with a stat line of 24-39, 304 yards, three touchdowns and zero interceptions. This doesn't include about 100 yards of dropped passes by the Packers wide receivers.
The defense also played great, forcing Pittsburgh to make three turnovers, including the fumble to start the fourth quarter. They made Big Ben look uncomfortable from the start and the Packers took advantage.
The Packers are world champs in 2011, and this team isn't going anywhere. The Packers are one of the youngest teams in the NFL and they are led by 27-year-old QB, Aaron Rodgers.
Green Bay will be very good in the immediate future, and they will compete at a high level for the years to come.
I know that this is a premature argument and discussion, but it is a serious question that should be asked following Vince Lombardi's return to Green Bay:
Can the Green Bay Packers become the newest NFL dynasty?
Yes: They Are Very Young
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The key to building a dynasty is having a core group of young players that lead your team.
Sure the Packers have veterans like Charles Woodson and Donald Driver. Those two players played a key role in their Super Bowl run.
However, the core group of young players that this team is built around is quite impressive.
Clay Matthews is 24 years old, B.J. Raji is 24, Aaron Rodgers is 27, Jordy Nelson is 25, James Starks is 24 and Greg Jennings is 27.
Another note, Jermichael Finley, who was injured in 2010 and missed the majority of the season, will be back in 2011 and he is only 23 years old.
This Packers team has the pieces in place to be a dynasty, but...
No: It's Very Tough To Do
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The Packers have won a Super Bowl, and they deserve all the credit in the world.
However, winning a Super Bowl is a very tough thing to do. If you don't believe me ask me how many teams hoisted the Lombardi Trophy this season.
That's right, one.
To win a Super Bowl requires a great deal of talent, coaching and maybe even a little bit of luck.
The Packers have the ingredients for the recipe of an NFL dynasty, but there are 31 other NFL teams that want the feeling of hoisting the Lombardi Trophy.
Yes: Aaron Rodgers
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Tom Brady won his first Super Bowl in 2011 when he was 24. Terry Bradshaw won his first Super Bowl in 1974 when he was 26. Troy Aikman won his first Super Bowl in 1992 when he was 26.
Those were the quarterbacks to some of the greatest dynasties in NFL history in the Super Bowl era.
Aaron Rodgers won his first Super Bowl at 27 years old, and will be around for quite a while.
This Packers team isn't going anywhere, and there is a strong chance that he will win another or two in his career.
The only problem is...
No: It Would Require 2 Super Bowls in 4 Years
Look back at all the dynasties in the NFL and you will see that they not only won one Super Bowl, not two, but three or more in a short period of time.
The Steelers in the '70s won four Super Bowls in six years. The Cowboys of the '90s won three Super Bowls in four years. The Patriots won three Super Bowls in four years.
When I look at the NFL in the Super Bowl era, those are the dynasties I see.
Certainly there were other great teams, but those three teams stood out the most.
For the Packers to join this elite company they would have to win two Super Bowls in four to five years, which is a very tough thing to do.
They could certainly do it, but it will be very difficult.
Yes: They Have Done It Before
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One of the things that is looked at in teams that could win a Super Bowl is "have they been there and done that?"
The Green Bay Packers can now answer that question with "yes."
It's not like it's a guarantee though, just look at the Steelers in the Super Bowl. They had been there, they had done that, but they came up short.
The Packers are a young team and they know how to deal with the pressure. If they didn't, they wouldn't be going to the White House.
In terms of experience, this team reached this stage before, and they could reach it again.
No: Free Agency
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Free Agency shakes up teams, and it could make them better or worse depending on who they pick up or release.
I don't think the Green Bay Packers will be affected by free agency because of their depth and how young they are, but they still have to make some tough decisions.
Defensive lineman Cullen Jenkins, safety Charles Peprah and safety Atari Bigby are the main free agents for the Packers. They will have to make decisions in the 2011 offseason, whenever that starts.
This isn't necessarily about the Packers, but more so the other top NFL teams that came up short this year.
The New England Patriots, Atlanta Falcons and Pittsburgh Steelers are all teams that I think will pick up players in the free-agent marketplace and they will try and take the Lombardi Trophy away from Green Bay.
Yes: Tom Brady and Peyton Manning See the Light
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The fact is, whether we like it or not, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning are nearing the end of their Hall of Fame careers.
Tom Brady will enter the 2011 season at the age of 34 and Manning will enter at 35.
Certainly these signal-callers could lead their teams to a Super Bowl again. These are two of the greatest quarterbacks of all time, but they are nearing the days of retirement.
Again, this isn't to say that these quarterbacks are completely down, they still have a couple years left in the tank.
However, the fact that these greats are nearing retirement can only help the Green Bay Packers, but that isn't the only thing they need to worry about...
No: Atlanta Falcons and the NFC
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Even though the Green Bay Packers destroyed the Falcons in the playoffs this year, it doesn't mean that this team isn't good.
Just like the Packers, this team is built around a core group of young players and both teams are led by their quarterbacks.
Matt Ryan is only 25 years old, and his career is only going to improve. Ryan won 32 games in his first three seasons with the Falcons, tying an NFL record held by Dan Marino.
Head coach Mike Smith won 33 games in his first three seasons with the Atlanta Falcons. That is more than any other coach in the history of the NFL.
The Falcons and Packers will meet again next season in the Georgia Dome, and I expect a thriller. The Atlanta Falcons will have a lot to do with whether or not this Packers team becomes a dynasty.
I am going to go out on a very strong limb and say that this Matt Ryan-Aaron Rodgers duel is going to be the next Manning-Brady. That's right, I said it.
Yes: They Will Dominate the NFC North
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Sorry Detroit, Chicago and Minnesota. You are going to be competing for the Wild Card for the next six years.
The Green Bay Packers will dominate the NFC North in the coming years, and I really don't think it will be close. Just look at earlier in the 2000s with the New England Patriots and Indianapolis Colts.
Those teams dominated their divisions, and I expect the Packers to do the same thing.
Winning the NFC North means hosting a playoff game, or two. The Packers went on the road, for three straight games, to reach Super Bowl XLV.
Once the Packers start winning their division they will host games and will have a better chance at reaching the Super Bowl.
Even if they reach the Super Bowl, they will still have to deal with...
No: The AFC
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The bottom line is even if they reach the Super Bowl again; they will still have to play the representative from the AFC.
This is not an easy task, just look at the game against the Steelers.
Certainly they can run through the NFC North and the NFC playoffs, but at the end of the day, they will have to beat an AFC opponent on the other side.
There is a strong chance they could face Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers, Joe Flacco and the Ravens, Brady and the Patriots, Manning and the Colts, the list goes on and on and on.
They can reach the Super Bowl again—I expect them to do it multiple times with Rogers—but they will still have to win that game at the end of the day, which is a very difficult thing to do.
Conclusion: Not Yet
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In the end, I think the Packers have the pieces in place to build a dynasty—I find it very hard to argue with that.
However, in terms of becoming a dynasty, I think it will be too difficult to do with the parity that exists in the NFL today.
There are 10 teams that will have a legitimate chance at dethroning the Packers and odds are against them.
This isn't to take anything away from the Green Bay Packers and what they have accomplished this season, but winning multiple Super Bowls in the near future will be a very difficult task.
They could do it, but as of right now, I just don't see it happening. However, I would not be shocked if it happened either.