New York Yankees, Green Bay Packers & 10 Greatest Franchises in American Sports

Jeffrey BeckmannCorrespondent IApril 7, 2011

New York Yankees, Green Bay Packers & 10 Greatest Franchises in American Sports

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    Throughout history, there have been many great players and teams in the world of sports. With free agency, rules changes or even the expansion of leagues, it has become increasingly more difficult for teams to compete year in and year out.

    Teams move, players come and go, and owners pass away. Yet, over the last century, some franchises have been able to beat the odds. These iconic franchises are able to live on because of the legends that came before them, where players, coaches and owners left their stamp on the game.

    Now, I give to you the 10 Greatest Franchises in all of sports.

No. 10: Detroit Red Wings

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    DETROIT - MARCH 11:  The jersey retirement banner for Gordie Howe #9 of the Detroit Red Wings (1946-1971) hangs in the rafters during a game against the Minnesota Wild on March 11, 2010 at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Michigan.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Ge
    Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

    A member of the NHL's "Original Six," the Detroit Red Wings were founded in 1926. The historic franchise has won eleven Stanley Cup championships, ranking 3rd in NHL history and 1st amongst American based hockey teams.

    From one of the NHL's greatest players ever in Gordie Howe, to more recent stars like Steve Yzerman and Henrik Zetterberg, this is an iconic franchise that has had its share of iconic players.

    Between 1933 and 1966, in the early years of the Red Wings franchise, they only missed the playoffs four times. Present day, they have made the playoffs during every season since 1991, the longest current playoff streak in all of American sports.

No. 9: San Francisco 49ers

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    17 Dec 2000:  Jerry Rice #80 of the San Francisco 49ers runs during the game against the Chicago Bears at 3Com Park in San Francisco, California. The 49ers defeated the Bears 17-0.Mandatory Credit: Jed Jacobsohn  /Allsport
    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    The 49ers franchise began in 1946 as part of the All-America Football Conference, and a few years later in 1950 became a part of the NFL. 

    Although Hall of Famers like Y.A. Tittle and Joe Perry succeeded with the franchise at old Kezar Stadium in the 50s and 60s, what the franchise is most known for is their domination of the 1980s. 

    Led by the likes of Joe Montana and Jerry Rice, the 49ers were able to win four Super Bowl titles in the 1980s alone, winning a fifth with Steve Young behind center in 1994. In winning their first title in 1981, Joe Montana led a late drive which ended with what has since been dubbed as "The Catch," and is considered to be one of the greatest Super Bowl moments of all-time.

No. 8: Los Angeles Dodgers

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    Established as the Brooklyn Athletics in 1883, the franchise has a very storied history unrivaled by most. With six World Series championships, twenty-one NL Pennants and twenty seven total playoff appearances, there were many of MLB's all-time greats that wore Dodger-blue.

    The Dodgers broke the color barrier in baseball by signing Jackie Robinson, who later along with fellow former Negro League star and 3-time NL MVP Roy Campanella delivered the Dodgers their first World Series title in 1955.

    From Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale to Orel Hershiser and Kirk Gibson, some of the most iconic people to ever play the game have put on a Dodger uniform.

No. 7: Montreal Canadiens

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    MONTREAL- APRIL 19:  A photo of the banners commemorating the retired jerseys of Henri Richard, Yvan Cournoyer and Ken Dryden hanging in the Bell Centre prior to Game Three of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals between the Washington Capitals and Montre
    Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images

    You shouldn't have to be a hockey fan to appreciate what the Montreal Canadiens have done throughout their storied history. Another team from the "Original Six," the Canadiens were founded in 1909 and later joined the NHL in 1917.

    The Habs are the Yankees of hockey. Their twenty-four Stanley Cup victories will never be matched in today's day and age, and they have some of the greatest fans in all of sports,

    Led by hockey greats Maurice "Rocket" Richard and Bernie "Boom Boom" Geoffrian, the Habs won a record five straight Stanley Cup championships from 1956-60. The franchise went on to win ten more championships from 1965-79, and from the 1910s to the 1990s the Habs managed to win at least one championship in each decade.

No. 6: Dallas Cowboys

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    IRVING, TX - NOVEMBER 20:  A banner hangs from the rafters commemorating NFL All-Time Leading Rusher and  former Dallas Cowboys runningback Emmitt Smith during the game between the Detroit Lions and the Dallas Cowboys on November 20, 2005 at Texas Stadium
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    People tend to call the Dallas Cowboys "America's Team." While I disagree with that notion and think it was more or less a brilliant marketing ploy by owner Jerry Jones, there is no denying that the Cowboys are one of the most prominent franchises in all of sports.

    Since being founded in 1960, the Cowboys have won five Super Bowl titles and have played in eight overall. They are the only team in NFL history to have 20 straight winning seasons, which they did from 1966-86.

    The Cowboys have a rich history, with Roger Staubach, Tom Landry, Emmitt Smith and Troy Aikman among the greats to have worn silver and blue.

No. 5: Los Angeles Lakers

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 03:  A statue of legendary Lakers' player Magic Johnson is shown outside of the Staples Center before the game between the Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers in Game One of the 2010 NBA Finals on June 3, 2010 in Los Angeles,
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Led by George Mikan, arguably the NBA's first true superstar, the Los Angeles Lakers franchise began forging their path to greatness upon joining the league in 1948. In all, they have won sixteen NBA championships, second most in league history.

    Starting with Mikan in the 50's, and on to Elgin Baylor and Jerry West in the 60's, many of the biggest names in league history have donned purple and gold. Other greats like Wilt Chamberlain and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar spent part of their careers in LA as well.

    NBA legend Magic Johnson led the team to five NBA titles in a nine year span, and more recently, Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant led a three-peat performance from 2000-02. Bryant and the Lakers have also won the last two NBA titles.

    In all, 14 Hall of Famers have played for the Lakers.

No. 4: Pittsburgh Steelers

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    One of the oldest franchises in the NFL, the Pittsburgh Steelers were founded in 1933 by legendary owner Art Rooney.  With a record six Super Bowl titles, the team has given "Steeler Nation" plenty to smile about.

    Of their six Super Bowl championships, four came in the 1970s with Hall of Fame quarterback Terry Bradshaw leading the way. This was arguably one of the best dynasties in NFL history, which included Hall of Famers "Mean" Joe Green, Franco Harris and Mel Blount.

    They have been one of the most consistent teams in NFL history as well, going to the playoffs twenty-six times and winning eight conference championships. They have also won two Super Bowls since 2005.

No. 3: Boston Celtics

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    1985:  Boston Celtis forward Larry Bird shoots during game. Mandatory Credit: Allsport  /Allsport
    Getty Images/Getty Images

    The Boston Celtics, by far, are the greatest and most historic franchise of all-time. Founded in 1946, the Celtics have won the most championships in NBA history with 17. The aforementioned Lakers rank second with 16 titles.

    The Celtics boast arguably the most dominating run in sports history, winning eleven championships in a thirteen year span, including a remarkable eight in a row from 1959-66. They were widely considered one of the best teams in the league from from the late 50's through the mid 80's.

    Their string of championships were led by the likes of Larry Bird, Bill Russell and Bob Cousy, along with legendary coach Red Auerbach. During that stretch run they went a combined 795-397, a winning percentage of .669.

    The Celtics have since returned to glory, winning an NBA title in 2008 after a 21 year drought.

No. 2: Green Bay Packers

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    Football is Green Bay, and Green Bay is football.

    There is no team in the NFL as historic as the Green Bay Packers. They are, truly, "America's Team." From the day Earl "Curly" Lambeau founded the Packers in 1919, legends were born. There is a reason Green Bay is better known as "Titletown." Their thirteen NFL championships are most in the history of the league, which include four Super Bowl victories.

    The last small-town team left in professional sports, streets surrounding Lambeau Field bear the names of many Packers legends. Even the Lombardi Trophy, named after legendary Packers coach Vince Lombardi, is given to the winner of each years Super Bowl.

    Other Packers greats include Bart Starr, Don Hutson, Forrest Gregg, and the prima-donna we all know as Brett Favre.

No. 1: New York Yankees

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    NEW YORK - AUGUST 08:  Derek Jeter #2 of the New York Yankees is flashed on the scoreboard after surpassing Babe Ruth in all time hits with 2874 against  the Boston Red Sox in the second inning on August 8, 2010 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of N
    Al Bello/Getty Images

    Yes, without a doubt, the New York Yankees are by far the greatest franchise in sports history. There is no question about it.

    Babe Ruth. Mickey Mantle. Joe DiMaggio. Yogi Berra. Lou Gehrig. With names like that, how can anyone even argue that fact? Those are some of the most iconic names to ever play the game.

    Founded in 1901, the Yankees own twenty-seven world championships and have won the AL Pennant an even forty times in their 110 year history.

    George Steinbrenner, the late Yankees owner, changed the face baseball in its entirety. The empire we know as the modern-day Yankees is by far the most historic franchise in sports. Period.