Thread: Dynasty
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Old 03-12-2005, 05:15 PM   #12
Brad O.
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Quote:
Originally posted by MountaineerDave
A caller noted that he had trouble calling his favorite team's run over the last four years a dynasty for an interesting reason: too much personnel turnover.

While the hosts tried to knock this down by repeating the names Brady and Bruschi over and over again, it's an interesting point. It wouldn't really apply to the Browns, who lived too long not to have significant turnover through the years, but I think it's reasonable to suggest, since we don't have a firm definition of the term dynasty (for the record, five years, imo--only humble--and not all the time--in Brad's presence, does not a dynasty make), that part of being a dynasty is having recognizable characters to which to tie them. Guys to which you can point and say "among the best of that time at their position." Overall, Bradshaw was a very good QB, but, especially late in the dynasty, he was (imo) great, and obviously among the best QBs going. Harris was one of the best RBs. Not the best (I'm not a historian by any stretch, so I don't know where among his peers he actually is off the top of my head), but one of the best of the day. Lambert and Ham are among the best ever at their positions.
Funny you brought this up, Dave, as it was my next line, too. I wanted to apply it to the Broncos/Bills discussions. Denver had 18 Pro Bowl selections from 1984-89. Buffalo, from 1988-93, had 47. Now, I don't put much stock in Pro Bowls, but that's too much to ignore: 47-18?!

Who did Dan Reeves Denver have? Elway, obviously. After that, uh... Karl Mecklenburg, I guess. Sammy Winder? The Three Amigos? Rich Karlis?

Buffalo had Kelly, Thomas, and Reed, for starters. Bruce Smith. James Lofton, who was still better than any of the Three Amigos. Kent Hull was probably the best center in the NFL. Cornelius Bennett is right there with Mecklenburg. Steve Tasker may be the greatest special teamer in history. And I imagine we'd all put Marv Levy ahead of Reeves.

Dr. Z's "eight dynasties" article mentions the HOFers on each team, but let me tackle the best players (and exceptional coaches) on my own top ten:

Browns, 1946-55: Otto Graham, Marion Motley, Dub Jones, Dante Lavelli, Mac Speedie, Frank Gatski, Lou Groza, Bill Willis, Len Ford, and Paul Brown.

All those guys were major contributors for pretty much the entire run (except Ford, who wasn't with the team during the AAFC years). Graham was, IMO, the greatest quarterback in the history of the game. Motley, devastating as both a runner and blocker, has been called the greatest player ever. Willis was the best defensive lineman of the era.

Packers, 1959-67: Bart Starr, Jim Taylor, Paul Hornung, Ron Kramer, Jim Ringo, Jerry Kramer, Forrest Gregg, Willie Davis, Henry Jordan, Ray Nitschke, Herb Adderley, Willie Wood, and Vince Lombardi.

A lot of these guys -- Ringo, both RBs, and Ron Kramer -- were washed up or with other teams by the Super Bowl years. Taylor was probably one of the top dozen RBs of the modern era, and would be a legend if he hadn't played at the same time as Jim Brown. Gregg may be the greatest offensive lineman ever. Adderley and Wood are probably top-five at their respective positions.

Steelers, 1972-79: Terry Bradshaw, Franco Harris, Lynn Swann, John Stallworth, Ray Mansfield, Mike Webster, L.C. Greenwood, Joe Greene, Jack Lambert, Jack Ham, Mel Blount, Donnie Shell.

A lot of these guys are part of the famous 1974 draft class, so they weren't around for 1972-73. Mansfield and Webster only played for about half the dynasty each. Dave is right to note that by the late 70s, Bradshaw had established himself as perhaps the best QB in the NFL (Staubach probably being the top competition). Greene is widely regarded as the best defensive lineman ever to play. Lambert and Ham are usually ranked among the top three at their respective positions. Blount was probably the best cornerback since Night Train Lane.

49ers, 1981-89: Joe Montana, Roger Craig, Jerry Rice, Fred Dean, Charles Haley, Ronnie Lott, and Bill Walsh.

This is the first modern dynasty, with fewer stars and HOFers, but a solid network of capable guys backing up blow-your-mind greats like Montana, Rice, and Lott. Dean and Haley were around for about half the era each, which basically leaves the Niners with five players. Pittsburgh had 11. And don't forget that Rice didn't join the team until '85.

Packers, 1936-44: Arnie Herber, Cecil Isbell, Clarke Hinkle, Tony Canadeo, Don Hutson.

Another team that can be excused for having only a few stars. These guys were two-way players, and NFL rosters were smaller. Hutson is the greatest receiver not named Rice.

Washington, 1982-91: John Riggins, Art Monk, Gary Clark, Russ Grimm, Joe Jacoby, Jim Lachey, Darrell Green, and Joe Gibbs.

Lachey was only around for half the era, but it's fitting that there are three Hogs on this list. This is also the only team without a quarterback listed. An argument could be made for Joe Theismann, but he was only with the team for about a third of the years listed. With Riggo only around for four of the ten years, this team barely missed being the second one without an RB listed, too. This team began in the trenches, and everything worked from there.

Cowboys, 1969-78: Roger Staubach, Drew Pearson, Rayfield Wright, Harvey Martin, Bob Lilly, Randy White, Lee Roy Jordan, Chuck Howley, Mel Renfro, Cliff Harris, and Tom Landry.

Staubach and Fran Tarkenton were the premier quarterbacks of the decade. Lilly probably was one of the half-dozen best defensive linemen in history, and White wasn't far behind. A lot of these guys were only around for five to seven years of this reign, but there are also a lot of players who were only around for two to four years who didn't make the list, most notably Tony Dorsett.

Bears, 1939-43: Sid Luckman, George McAfee, Bulldog Turner, Danny Fortmann, George Musso, Joe Stydahar, and George Halas.

Luckman and Sammy Baugh were the greatest passers of the 40s and late 30s. Turner and Fortmann were among the finest two-way linemen ever.

Dolphins, 1970-75: Bob Griese, Larry Csonka, Mercury Morris, Paul Warfield, Jim Langer, Larry Little, Bob Kuechenberg, Nick Buoniconti, Jake Scott, Dick Anderson.

With probably the greatest interior offensive line ever assembled, this team ran and ran and ran, relying on its conservative offense and the No-Name Defense, which produced only one Hall of Famer. Ironically, Warfield probably was the most outstanding player on the team. He never put up big numbers in the run-oriented offense, but he is almost universally regarded as the greatest receiver of the early 70s, and the deep threat he provided stretched defenses to accomodate the running game.

Cowboys, 1991-95: Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, Daryl Johnston, Michael Irvin, Jay Novacek, Mark Stepnoski, Nate Newton, Larry Allen, Erik Williams, Charles Haley, Darren Woodson.

Smith had the five best years of his extremely distinguished career and can probably be declared the greatest RB of the era without slighting Barry Sanders or Thurman Thomas. Johnston was the premier blocking back of the decade. Irvin enjoyed his own five best seasons. One of the great offensive lines in history anchored the team, backed by a steady and reliable, if not star-studded, defense.

Quote:
Originally posted by MountaineerDave
78--We know the Cowher breakdown from 92-97. We don't need Brad to provide us his well-manufactured tables (how damn much time does it take to get that all properly aligned, anyway?) to show us Cowher's numbers of choke....
Eh, one more table won't kill me. I'm not going to look up the vs. losing teams numbers, though, as that is tedious work.

team...years......*...........reg............%......post....%
PIT.....92-97......0/1/6.....64-32.........667....5-6.....455

And to answer your question, Dave: usually it doesn't take long. A minute or two, maybe. But with 32 teams and seven categories, much, MUCH longer. I'm glad you appreciate it. If Marc or Nate or anyone ever formats tabs on this thing, I'll buy him a pony.

Cowher's Steelers are like the Steve McNair Titans, or any George Allen team: a consistently good club that doesn't belong in dynasty conversations because it never went anywhere in the postseason.

Quote:
A caller noted that he had trouble calling his favorite team's run over the last four years a dynasty for an interesting reason: too much personnel turnover.

While the hosts tried to knock this down by repeating the names Brady and Bruschi over and over again, it's an interesting point. It wouldn't really apply to the Browns, who lived too long not to have significant turnover through the years, but I think it's reasonable to suggest, since we don't have a firm definition of the term dynasty (for the record, five years, imo--only humble--and not all the time--in Brad's presence, does not a dynasty make), that part of being a dynasty is having recognizable characters to which to tie them.
To get back to this point, and specifically with regard to New England: I don't think I agree with the caller, pending next season. Who have been the key guys at a given time? Brady, Brown, Seymour, Bruschi, McGinest, Law, Milloy/Harrison, Vinatieri. Some of those players will be gone next season, but that core has carried the team from 2001-04. Look at the top ten I named above, and you see a lot of the same kind of turnover the Patriots have experienced.

An aging Mansfield or Herber or Milloy is replaced with a Webster or Isbell or Harrison. A capable but not essential player fills gaps. Was losing someone like Antowain Smith really significant? Smith wasn't a star; he was a role player. Joe Gibbs Washington won Super Bowls with three different QBs and three different running backs.

Maybe next season Corey Dillon will carry the team, and they'll succeed without Brown and Law and Roman Phifer, etc. But for now, I don't really see an unseemly amount of turnover, especially given that this is the pretty much the only team I've examined from the true era of free agency. I think you and the caller are looking ahead to next season; insofar as its reasonable to consider four years a dynasty, I don't think the Belichick Dynasty is tainted by turnover.

re: five years is not enough, I'm inclined to agree. I think something like eight seasons is probably closer to "dynastic". But remember, I went with five seasons as the absolute minimum. Since this whole thing is pretty much driven by people calling the Pats a dynasty after four years, it would kind of invalidate the whole project to demand twice that. But I think it's clear from the narrowed lists in my original post that I consider longevity and consistency pretty key aspects of any "dynasty".

Quote:
Harris was one of the best RBs. Not the best (I'm not a historian by any stretch, so I don't know where among his peers he actually is off the top of my head), but one of the best of the day.
I am a historian by some stretch, and RBs are my specialty. Harris is 15th on my list of modern-era running backs. Contemporaries he trails include Walter Payton, O.J. Simpson, Earl Campbell, and just barely, Tony Dorsett. But Campbell and Dorsett didn't hit the NFL until 1978 and '77, respectively.

For 72-79 as a whole, I'd put Harris second, behind Simpson (and just barely ahead of Payton). That's saying a lot, because competition in the 70s is very stiff: Larry Csonka, John Riggins, Chuck Foreman, etc. For the early years (72-75), it's fair to keep Harris second behind O.J. In the middle years (74-77), he probably falls behind Foreman and Lydell Mitchell, maybe even Lawrence McCutcheon. In the late 70s (76-79), I'd probably have him #2 behind Payton.

That's my long way of confirming "Not the best ... but one of the best of the day." Why use zero words to say nothing when you can use two paragraphs?

Last edited by Brad O.; 03-13-2005 at 11:14 AM.
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