The Pittsburgh Steelers are out of Latrobe and back at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, also referred to as the South Side Facility. We are already into the regular season, where everything is magnified and, you know, actually counts. The team is working through the highs and lows and dramas that go through a typical Steelers season.
How are the rookies performing? What about the players that the team signed in free agency? Who is missing time with injuries, and when are they going to be back? What are the coaches saying about what they are going to do this season that might be different from how it was a year ago?
These are the sorts of questions among many others that we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football has become a year-round pastime and there is always a question to be asked, though there is rarely a concrete answer, as I’ve learned in my years of doing this.
Question: Do you consider the New England Patriots of the 2000s and beyond the greatest dynasty in NFL history?
The Pittsburgh Steelers may have won four Super Bowls over six seasons during their dynasty era of the 1970s, but it took them a quarter of a century to get their fifth. The New England Patriots have won six Super Bowls in a short span of time than it took for the Steelers to get from four to five.
The Patriots’ success in this millennium has been such that you could reasonably separate their achievements into two separate dynasties, the first taking place in the early 2000s and the second encompassing the past five years.
But there are too many reasons to connect the two eras from 2001 through 2018. For one, they have had the same quarterback and head coach the entire time. The only time they failed to make the playoffs during that entire stretch was in 2008 when Tom Brady was injured, and they went 11-5 that year. The Patriots were 11-5 this year and had a bye week.
The longest stretch in the past 18 years in which the Patriots did not reach the Super Bowl was three years, between their loss in 2007 following an undefeated regular season and leading up to a second loss in 2011. They have reached the Super Bowl in consecutive seasons more often than they have missed it for three or more years. And they’ve gone 6-3 in the Super Bowl over thost 18 years.
Does that make them the greatest dynasty in NFL history, in comparison to the Dallas Cowboys of the 1990s, the San Francisco 49ers of the 1980s, the Steelers of the 1970s, and the Green Bay Packers of the 1960s?