Before I begin to compare these New England Patriots to great San Francisco 49ers, Dallas Cowboys, Pittsburgh Steelers and Green Bay Packers teams of the past, let's just agree that we're using a bastardized form of the word "dynasty" when discussing sports teams, particularly in the NFL.
A dynasty rules for a long period of time, it doesn't just perform really well. In this modern, mostly democratic world, the term has become outdated at face value, simply because nobody dominates politically for very long.
Funny enough, that also applies to the sports world. Gone are the days in which the Montreal Canadiens were able to win five consecutive Stanley Cups (it happened between 1956 and 1960) or the New York Yankees were able to win five straight World Series (it happened between 1949 and 1953) or the Boston Celtics were able to win eight straight NBA championships (it happened between 1959 and 1966). The Packers also won five NFL championships in a seven-year span in the 1960s.
In the last half-century, nobody's been able to do anything better than three-peat. And since the turn of the century, merely defending a championship has become a titanic task.
There are obvious reasons for this. More teams, salary caps, free agency and revenue sharing top the list. But that's what has me wondering if we have to use somewhat of a sports inflation calculator in order to consider the Patriots' claim for dynasty status.
New England just became only the second franchise in NFL history to win four or more championships with the same head coach/quarterback duo, joining Vince Lombardi and Bart Starr from those 1960s Packers. But Lombardi and Starr won just those first two Super Bowls together, whereas Tom Brady and Bill Belichick have teamed up to make six and win four.
Six Super Bowl appearances and four victories in a 14-year span is pretty remarkable in this day and age. No other teams have appeared in more than three Super Bowls in the same span (Seattle and Pittsburgh have played in three each) and none have won more than two (the Steelers and the Giants have won two each).
That's complete domination.
Throw in that since 2001 the Patriots have a ridiculous regular-season record of 170-54 (no other team has more than 150 victories in that span) and you begin to understand just how much New England has rocked this era.
Now, this wouldn't even be a debate if the Pats had beaten the Giants in the Super Bowl in the 2007 and 2011 Super Bowls, and a lot of folks hold against New England the fact that the Pats have changed quite a lot over this 14-year stretch, but the quarterback and the coach and the owner have remained in place.
If you were to hold the long stretch against New England, you'd have to do the same with San Francisco, which won five Super Bowls over a 14-year period but with two different head coaches and two different starting quarterbacks. And unlike the Pats, the 49ers never won three championships in a four-year period. That's something only the Cowboys and Patriots have accomplished during the Super Bowl era (and Dallas also had a coaching change before winning its third title in 1995). New England did that and then went on to make three more Super Bowls with Brady and Belichick, winning one. And the Pats aren't necessarily done yet.
With factors like free agency and the salary cap in mind, it's hard to argue that anyone has been as dominant with circumstances considered as New England has this century. Brady and Belichick are a modern-day Starr and Lombardi and the Pats are your grandfather's Packers.
Embrace it, you're witnessing history.
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