The Greatest Sports Dynasties of the Past Century

Bugeatersteve StuchlikCorrespondent IDecember 31, 2008

There are probably a hundred or more of these articles already on Bleacher Report, so I asked myself, why not one more, right? So I decided to do an article on the Greatest Sports Dynasties of the past 100 years.

To qualify for this list, my criteria was simple. Win at least three championships over a five-year period of time in a professional league, so that eliminated the John Wooden led 1960-70’s UCLA Bruins and the great Notre Dame football teams from the 40’s or the Oklahoma Sooners from the 50’s.

So without more from my mouth, here’s my top ten in reverse order.


10. The 1984-90 Edmonton Oilers – NHL Hockey; 5 titles in 7 seasons.

Led by the “Great One”, Wayne Gretzky the Oilers were an offensive juggernaut during this period producing the five highest goal totals in NHL History and their streak might have even been greater, if they hadn’t been preceded by a team that just missed out making this list the New York Islanders, who won the previous four Stanley Cups.

Besides Gretzky, this team had Mark Messier, Paul Coffey, Glen Anderson, Grant Fuhr, and Jari Kurri. They were coached by Glen Sather, who along with Gretzky, Messier, Coffey, Kurri, and Fuhr has all been elected into the NHL Hall of Fame.

Their greatness began, by dethroning the four time defending champion the New York Islanders in the 1984 finals and then won their second cup in 1985. The Oilers lost the cup in 1986, and then came back with two more in 87 and 88.

The title run in '88 was amazing in that they went through four rounds of playoff games and went 16-2. After losing the 1989 title they won, the last championship in this streak in 1990.


9. The 1979-89 Los Angeles Lakers – NBA Basketball; 5 titles in 8 seasons.

This was Showtime at its finest. Led by Ervin “Magic” Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and James Worthy and coached by Pat Riley these Lakers won five championships, including the NBA’s first back to back title since the Celtics in 1969.

They also lost in the NBA finals three other times during this stretch, so they played for the title a total eight times during this 10 year run, a truly remarkable accomplishment.

Three of their starters were named to the NBA’s list of the 50 greatest players in NBA history. With Pat Riley as coach, they went a remarkable 102-47 in the playoffs, a win percentage of 68.5 percent.

The 1986-87 team went 65-17 during the regular season and then capped the season off by going a remarkable 15-3 in the playoffs defeating the Boston Celtics in the finals in six games.


8. The 1972-74 Oakland A’s – Major League Baseball; 3 titles in 3 seasons.

Believe this or not, but this Oakland A team is the only other team other than the New York Yankees to have won three or more World Series championships in a row.

Think about that for a moment, with more than 100 years of history, by far the most in United States Professional sports, only two franchises have won more than two championships in a row, the New York Yankees (who have done it three different times) and these Oakland A’s.

A radical owner named Charles “Charlie O” Finley led this team and was the first owner to buck the conservative trend. This radical started shaking up the conservative majority up by having his team wearing green and yellow uniforms when everyone else wore white or grey.

He even offered his players an incentive bonus to grow facial hair, when every other team forbade facial hair. The 1972 World Series against the Cincinnati Reds was termed “The Hairs vs. the Squares,” as the Reds wore more traditional uniforms and required their players to be clean-shaven and short-haired.

These Reds were the favorites, but the A’s prevailed in seven games. In each of the three championships the A’s won, they were never the favorite, but seemed to combine great pitching with timely hitting to win each time.

Players such as Sal Bando, Gene Tenance, Joe Rudi, and Mr. October Reggie Jackson, along with pitchers Vida Blue, Catfish Hunter and Rollie Fingers they proved they belong on this list.


7. The 1991-1998 Chicago Bulls – NBA Basketball; 6 titles in 8 seasons.

This version of the “Monsters of the Midway” never lost a championship series that they participated in. In fact, during the 90’s, if Michael Jordan played a full season, they won the championship. During their six titles, they played five different teams, (Lakers, Trail Blazers, Suns, Supersonics and the Jazz, twice).

Air Jordan, teamed with “Robin,” Scottie Pippen, and joined by the likes of Dennis Rodman, Steve Kerr, Horace Grant, and Bill Cartwright in the first three title runs, they proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that they were the team of the 90’s.


6. The 1956-60 Montreal Canadians – NHL Hockey; 5 titles in 5 seasons.

The second of three NHL teams in my top 10 list, these Canadians boasted a total of 10 future Hall of Famers including Maurice and Henri Richard, Jean Beliveau, Bernie Geoffrion and Jacques Plante, they had two complete All-Star lines and the leagues greatest defense for the entire five year stretch.

They carried the nickname of the “Flying Frenchmen” due to their nationality and skating style. Even though the great Maurice Richard retired in 1960, the Canadians looked poised to win their sixth in a row, but were stunned by the Bobby Hull led Chicago Blackhawks in the semi-finals.


5. – The 1974-1979 Pittsburgh Steelers – NFL Football; 4 titles in 6 seasons.

Chuck Noll was given the head coaching job in 1969, because Joe Paterno turned it down, I think history would show that this was the best decision both of these coaching greats ever made. Noll went down in history as one of the greatest NFL coaches of all time as Jo-pa has done in college at Penn State.

He drafted an unknown defensive lineman out of little known North Texas State University by the name of Joe Greene. The following year, they drafted Terry Bradshaw and Mel Blount.

In 1974 the year of their first title, they drafted four future Hall of Famers in Mike Webster, Lynn Swann, John Stalworth and Jack Lambert. These Steelers—with their fans waving the “terrible towels” and led by a fierce defense that shut out five teams during a two month stretch in the 1976 season—won a total of four Super Bowls in six seasons.

They defeated the likes of the Minnesota Vikings in 1974, the Dallas Cowboys in the 1975 and '78 Super Bowls and the Los Angles Rams in 1979.


4. the 1961-1967 Green Bay Packers – NFL Football; 5 titles in 7 seasons.

It was this stretch of years in the NFL that the Packers earned the city of Green Bay the nick name of “Title Town”. Led by the man for whom the Super Bowl trophy is named after, Vince Lombardi they are the only NFL team to have won three straight league championships, winning the NFL title game in 1965, and then the first two “super bowls” in 66 and 67.

With players such as Bart Starr, Jerry Kramer, Jim Taylor, Paul Horning on offense and Ray Nitschke, Willie Davis, Herb Adderley and Dave Robinson on defense they dominated the NFL like no team had ever done before or since.

In 1960, the Lombardi-led Packers to the championship game against the Philadelphia Eagles and on the last play of the game Jim Taylor was tackled just short of the goal line.

Lombardi told his team after the game that it would be the last time that they would loose a championship game that he was the head coach. eight years later when he retired, that statement became fact.


3. The 1975-79 Montreal Canadians – NHL Hockey; 4 titles in 4 seasons.

I put this Canadians team in such a lofty place in my listing because they simply dominated their league like no team has before or since. For the first three years of this stretch, they set the NHL record for best winning record in the leagues history.

First, in 1975 they went 58-11-11 during the regular season and 12-1 in the playoffs. If that wasn’t impressive enough, the following season 1976 they became the first and only team to loose less than 10 games, going 60-8-12 and a little bit worse in the playoffs by going 12-2.

These Canadians weren’t through yet though, in the 1977-78 season they went 59-10-11 while winning a third straight cup. They closed out the 70’s in dominating fashion by defeating the New York Rangers in the finals in 1979 four games to one.

During this four-year stretch, the Canadians went a remarkable 32-7 during the opening rounds of the playoffs and 16-3 in the final series for a combined 48-10 record and an 83 percent four year playoff winning percentage.

They were led by some of the greatest players to ever play in the NHL, players such as Guy Lafleur (who was in the midst of six straight 50-goal seasons, the leagues first ever six-consecutive-time 50-goal and 100-point scorer), Yvan Cournoyer, Ken Dryden, Frank Mahovlich's brother Pete, Steve Shutt, Serge Savard, Guy Lapointe and Larry Robinson.


2. The 1947-1962 New York Yankees – Major League Baseball; 10 titles in 16 years.

They won ten, 10 championships in 16 years and lost game seven of the World Series in 1955, 57 and 60. This era started with Joe DiMaggio and finished with Mickey Mantle.

From 1949–53 under coach Casey Stengel they became the only Major League baseball team to win five straight championships.  In 1954 they won 100 games but didn’t make the World Series because the Cleveland Indians won a then record 111 games.

A Yankee also dominated the MVP award by winning it six times during the 50’s, (1950 Rizzuto, 1951 Berra, 1954 Berra, 1955 Berra, 1956 & 1957 Mantle). In 1959 they picked up a player by the name of Roger Maris, and in 1960 his led the league in slugging percentage, RBIs, and extra base hits.

He finished second in home runs (one behind Mantle), and total bases, and he won a Gold Glove and the American League MVP award. All of this, however, was a prelude to the year that would follow.

In 1961 the Yankees won 109 games and Maris and Mantel staged their own battle for the most “hallowed” record in both baseball and Yankee history, Babe Ruth’s 60 home runs in a single season.

Of course we know the results, Mantle dropped out due to an injury with 54 home runs and Maris went on to break the record. The Yankees won the pennant with 109 wins and smashed the Reds in the World Series 4 games to 1.

They went on in 1962 to win their 10th championship by defeating the San Francisco Giants in the World Series to cap this incredible run.

This leads us to the number 1 Dynasty…


1.  The 1957-1969 Boston Celtics – NBA Basketball; 11 titles in 13 years.

The team of teams, played for the championship 12 times during this stretch, losing in the finals in1958 due to an injury to Bill Russell or it would have been 12 titles.

They went on to win an unprecedented eight championships in a row from 1959-1966. Besides Russell, they had a virtual “who’s who” of NBA hall of famers with Bob Cousy, K.C. Jones, Sam Jones, John Havlicek, and Tom Heinsohn and coached by Red Auerbach.

Their fast break style of play was the curse/envy of the entire league, all the while never having a player that was greater than the teams. Never having the leagues leading scorer, they preferred the team concept approach to the game.

This team became the first in NBA history to appoint/hire an African-American as head coach by naming Bill Russell as the head coach in the 1967 season.

With Russell as the player-coach, the Celtics closed out their fantastic run by winning the championship in both the '68 and '69 seasons, becoming the last back-to-back champions until the Los Angles Lakers accomplished this feat in 1987 and 1988.


There you have It.; my personal take on the Greatest Dynasties of Professional Sports. Hope you enjoyed it.