When it comes to the greatest dynasties in sports — let alone the NFL — the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 1970s dynasty is held in high regard.
The question has always remained though when boiled down: where does the Steelers’ 70s dynasty rank in NFL history? CBS Sports tried to answer that question Saturday, ranking the 10 best dynasties in league history.
Greatest NFL Dynasties of the past six decades:
(According to @BryanDeArdo)
1. Patriots (2001-18)
2. Steelers (1972-79)
3. Packers (1960-67)
4. 49ers (1981-94)
5. Cowboys (1991-95)
6. Raiders (1967-85)
7. Cowboys (1970-79)
8. Washington (1982-91)
9. Dolphins (1970-74) pic.twitter.com/9xvdiPvywM
— CBS Sports HQ (@CBSSportsHQ) June 5, 2021
Though the Steelers of the 70s are held in high regard, placing second in CBS Sports’ rankings, there’s likely going to be a sour taste in Steelers fans’ mouths after reading the list, seeing Pittsburgh’s historic dynasty rank second behind the New England dynasty of the early 2000s.
Criteria used in creating the dynasty rankings by CBS Sports centered around the following: Championships won; Sustained run of excellence; Players/coaches; Enduring legacy.
When slotting the Patriots’ dynasty first, CBS Sports leaned heavily on the six Super Bowls the franchise won from 2001 to 2018. Pittsburgh’s dynasty lasted just seven seasons, according to CBS Sports, but was nearly impactful.
After being a basement dweller for nearly four decades leading up to the 1970s, the Steelers needed to do something drastic. That eventually led to the hiring of Chuck Noll, and the trust placed in the scouting department — led by Hall of Famer Bill Nunn — leading to the Steelers eventually drafting or signing a number of future Hall of Famers, including the legendary 1974 draft class that saw five future Hall of Famers in Jack Lambert, Lynn Swann, John Stallworth, Mike Webster and Donnie Shell join the roster and eventually lead the Steelers to multiple championships.
“The Steelers dominated an era that included Don Shula’s Dolphins, Tom Landry’s Cowboys, and John Madden’s Raiders,” writes CBS Sports’ Bryan DeArdo. “The Steelers’ success not only made Pittsburgh a football-crazed city, it helped popularize the NFL nationwide during a time when pro football firmly surpassed baseball as America’s new pastime. Furthermore, while the Patriots have the greatest run of success in NFL history, the 1970s Steelers continue to hold the mantle as the greatest team of all-time, a team that went 4-0 in Super Bowl competition.”
Yes, the Patriots have more championships in their dynasty run than the Steelers, but the Patriots have also lost three Super Bowls in their dynasty, while the Steelers remained perfect in their.
It’s hard to compare the two dynasties outright due to the Patriots dealing with free agency and the salary cap, while the Steelers didn’t have to deal with that in the 1970s. It’s a fun exercise though, one that will generate much discussion throughout the off-season.