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    What Is an NFL Dynasty? Ranking the Most Successful Franchises From Cowboys to Patriots

    The Chiefs are looking to enter the dynasty conversation with a win on Sunday. We look at what makes a true NFL dynasty and some of the best of all time.

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    The word “Dynasty” gets thrown out all the time when talking about sports. It usually leads to arguments and debates among friends on what constitutes a dynasty. How many championships have to be won, or how many championship appearances does a team need to have is never agreed on.

    The Kansas City Chiefs right now are hearing that conversation all the time. This is the fourth time in five years that the team is playing in the Super Bowl, and they are 2-1 in the first three. With a win on Sunday, the Chiefs would be the first team to go back-to-back since the New England Patriots in 2003 and 2004.

    So, what are the top five NFL dynasties ever, and what makes them a perfect, true dynasty?

    1. New England Patriots (2001-2019)

    Before this run for the New England Patriots, the team hadn’t been that successful. They had been to the big game twice but lost in both of those appearances. However, once Tom Brady was selected with the 199th pick in the 2001 NFL Draft, the fortune of the franchise would change forever.

    We all know the story that Drew Bledsoe was the starter and got hurt, but no one could have foreseen what was coming next.

    The Patriots from 2001-2004 won three out of four Super Bowls, including back-to-back in 2003-2004. While they remained competitive throughout those years, they didn’t win another Super Bowl for 10 years. However, what they made was equivalent to a sequel dynasty from 2014-2018, as they won another three Super Bowls.

    Tom Brady was 6-3 in Super Bowls in New England, which is a record. However, what makes this dynasty so interesting is they could have easily been 8-1 but also easily been 4-5.

    They have played in some of the most epic Super Bowls in the history of the game. Adam Vinatieri is known as the most clutch kicker ever because of the incredibly close games the Patriots won. The first three Super Bowls were all decided by a field goal.

    Matter of fact, every Super Bowl Tom Brady played in during his time in New England was 10 points or less.

    They picked up two magical wins with the comeback against the Atlanta Falcons as well as the crazy interception against the Seattle Seahawks when they didn’t run the ball. They are also equally as close to going completely undefeated if it wasn’t for David Tyree making an all-time play.

    Bill Belichick and Brady formed one of the best coaching duos in NFL history, and the team won in every fashion. They won with dominating defense, incredible offense, and historic special teams. Right now, there has never been a dynasty better than the Patriots, but the Chiefs with a win could be starting to make a true push towards it.

    2. Pittsburgh Steelers (1972-1979)

    When you think of the Pittsburgh Steelers, you think of an organization that has been consistent for years. Mike Tomlin is 17 years into his Pittsburgh career, and he still hasn’t had a losing season.

    However, it wasn’t like that. Not until the early 1970s did the Steelers start winning, but once they started, they haven’t stopped. One of the biggest areas was an absurd ability to draft. Coach Chuck Noll was the man running the show, but the entire organization built an amazing roster.

    In Noll’s first four years, the Steelers drafted five Hall of Famers. To understand how amazing that is, look at the Houston Texans. They have been playing since 2002, and Andre Johnson was just announced as the franchise’s first Hall of Famer. To get five in four years is special.

    MORE: List of Most Super Bowl Wins By Team

    The draft that stood out was the 1974 class. It included Jack Lambert, Lynn Swann, John Stallworth, and Mike Webster. Both sides of the ball were loaded, with Terry Bradshaw leading the offense and Mean Joe Greene leading the defense.

    The Immaculate reception is one of the most talked about plays in NFL history, as Franco Harris caught a batted ball for one of the most improbable touchdowns in league history.

    Everything you could want in a dynasty, the Steelers had. The only thing that prevents it from No. 1 is Tom Brady.

    3. Green Bay Packers (1960-1967)

    When you think of the NFL and Super Bowl-winning coaches, arguably the first name that comes to mind is Vince Lombardi. After all, the winning team is presented with the Lombardi Trophy. If the Super Bowl trophy is named after you, you were probably a part of a dynasty at some point.

    He was the Green Bay Packers coach for nine years, finishing with a record of 98-30-4. Even more impressive, his teams were 9-1 in the playoffs. During his time, they played in the NFL championship six times, winning five of them. From 1961-63, the Packers became only the second team to ever have a three-peat. They also did it in from 1929-31.

    Throughout this dynasty, this was an incredibly complete team. A good defense, great quarterbacks, and an amazing offense; they had it all. The biggest knock on them was completely out of their control, with it being the number of games and teams there were at this point in football history.

    There were only 12 teams at this point, and you only had to win one game to be in the championship. Still, that doesn’t take away that this group in Green Bay was special.

    4. San Francisco 49ers (1981-1994)

    Being able to sustain an effective but short dynasty is one thing, but being a true contender for a long extended time is something different. That is exactly what the San Francisco 49ers were.

    During this dynasty, the 49ers won five Super Bowls and were the first team to reach that number. Four of those came in the 1980s, as the team was led by quarterback John Montana.

    Not only did Montana win a lot of Super Bowls, but he was also named the MVP in three of those games. One of the most famous plays in all of the NFL happened during this dynasty.

    Dwight Clark made an incredible catch where he had to jump extremely high in the air, on a play that is now simply known as, “The Catch“.

    Another superstar wide receiver during that era was Jerry Rice, who is regarded as the best receiver in NFL history.

    After Montana became a Kansas City Chief, it was time for Steve Young to emerge as a superstar quarterback. It took him a few years and some tough losses, but he was finally able to get his ring with an all-time performance in Super Bowl 29.

    The 49ers dominated the Los Angeles Chargers, as they won the game, 49-26. Young threw for 325 yards and a Super Bowl-record six touchdowns.

    The 49ers haven’t won a Super Bowl since then, and have lost two times. With an opportunity to avenge a Super Bowl 54 loss, the 49ers could once again show its resume compared with any other franchise’s resume.

    5. Dallas Cowboys (1991-1996)

    One of the bigger talking points when debating dynasties is how long a team needs to be great. The Cowboys’ run may not have been as long as other dynasties, but they were incredible during this streak. Jimmy Johnson was the coach for the first two Super Bowls in 1992 and 1993.

    The talent the Cowboys had was out of the world, as Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, and Michael Irvin formed one of the greatest QB, RB, and WR trios the league has ever seen. After the Super Bowl in 1993, Jimmy Johnson and Jerry Jones had their infamous feud, and Johnson was no longer the coach in Dallas. Barry Switzer became the new coach, and the team once again was in contention.

    MORE: NFL Head Coach Wins Leaders

    They lost in the NFC Championship in 1994 to the 49ers but were able to bounce back and win another ring in 1995.

    Why aren’t they higher on the list? It is simply that their run, while incredible, was shorter than the next few dynasties. After their Super Bowl in 1995, they wouldn’t win another playoff game until 2009.

    As the 2023 NFL season comes to a close, the 2024 NFL Draft is on the horizon. Pro Football Network has you covered with everything from team draft needs to the Top 100 prospects available. Plus, fire up PFN’s Mock Draft Simulator to put yourself in the general manager’s seat and make all the calls!

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