It’s not every day that a ‘dynasty’ forms in a major sport, even using the term loosely. The NFL has had its share, about one per decade, with the Packers of the 1960s, the Pittsburgh Steelers of the 1970s, the 49ers of the 1980s, the Cowboys of the 1990s, and the Patriots of the 2000s.
Many teams have given it a go to be that next team to forge a dynasty after the Patriots of the first half of the 2000s, and the Steelers came the closest when they managed to win two Super Bowls in a span of four years, once in 2005 and again in 2008, each with a different head coach. They lost another Super Bowl in 2010, but then went four seasons without another playoff victory.
They got that monkey off their back last year, however, and appear primed to make one last shot at another dynastic run on the back nine of their future Hall of Fame quarterback’s career. And Nate Burleson for the NFL Network believes the Steelers are one of the three teams most likely to be that next dynasty.
“Now I know you’re saying, ‘they only won one championship with Mike Tomlin’, but right before he took the job, they came off a championship with Bill Cowher”, he starts out. “So you have to figure, the last 10 years, two championships, every year they’re a contender”.
He safely points out the Pro Bowl players of their offensive skill positions, noting that “Ben Roethlisberger has been a staple of this offense”, and referring to Antonio Brown as “arguably the best receiver in the game”, with Le’Veon Bell receiving similar praise.
“This is the type of team that every year you know they have a chance to win a Super Bowl”, he said. “And if they do get deep in the playoffs, they have the experience to lean on. So for me, when thinking about dynasties, the Pittsburgh Steelers have to make the list”.
They may not have quite the experience that they once had, but it helps to have Roethlisberger there, now the only member remaining from the offense that last raised a trophy, though Brown and Ramon Foster and Maurkice Pouncey were also part of the 2010 team that lost, most of them as rookies.
It’s worth noting that many of their young up-and-coming players, however, have known nothing but the postseason, and the likes of Ryan Shazier and Stephon Tuitt have only ever been on teams that have reached the playoffs. They don’t want to know what it’s like to wrap up a season in just 16 games, to be sure.
Burleson chose the Seahawks and the Patriots as the top two teams that he believes are most likely to forge the next NFL dynasty, which should not be overly surprising. The Seahawks reached the Super Bowl in 2013 and 2014, winning the first and coming a questionable goal line call from winning the second as well.
That second Super Bowl was won by the Patriots, of course, who also reached the Super Bowl in 2007 and 2011, and have reached the AFC Conference Championship for an astounding five straight seasons. Of the three that they lost, they lost to the eventual Super Bowl champion.