The Rise and Fall of Seven NFL Dynasties

Published on January 12, 2009 by     Seahawk Fanatic

All good things must come to an end.

This simple saying applies in many aspects of life, especially in the world of sports where franchises are lucky if they are able to keep the same nucleus of players and coaches for more than five or six years.

Many NFL teams have won conference championships and the Super Bowl, but only a handful of teams have been able to build upon that success and dominate a decade.

These teams are reverently referred to as dynasties.

Just like all political dynasties, NFL dynasties have to start somewhere. But as Sir Isaac Newton pointed out, what goes up must come down, eventually.

When we take time to reflect upon a dynasty’s greatness, we often find a moment or a series of moments that led to its rise and fall. These moments may have seemed insignificant at the time, but in retrospect they helped define pro football history.

1940’s Chicago Bears (NFL Champions in 1940, 1941, 1943, 1946)

Rise of a Dynasty

Coach George Halas implemented the T-formation with quarterback Sid Luckman. With the T-formation, Halas often put a man in motion out of the backfield.

This helped to evolve the passing game. On December 8, 1940, the Bears defeated the Washington Redskins 73-0 in the NFL Championship Game.

Fall of a Dynasty

The Cardinals and Eagles combined to win the next three NFL Championships. Luckman retired after the 1950 championship loss to the Browns.

1950’s Cleveland Browns (NFL Champions in 1950, 1954, 1955)

Rise of a Dynasty

Cleveland hired Paul Brown in 1946 as vice president, general manager, and head coach. Brown signed Otto Graham in 1946.

Graham led the Browns to their league’s championship game every year from 1946-1955. They had won four straight AAFC championships before becoming a part of the NFL.

Fall of a Dynasty

Otto Graham retired before 1956 season. The Browns won one more NFL title in 1964 and haven’t won a title since.

1960’s Green Bay Packers (NFL champions 1961, 1962, 1965, 1966, 1967)

Rise of a Dynasty

The re-emergence of the Packers in the 1960s revolved around one man: Vince Lombardi.

Lombardi was named Packers head coach in 1959.  The Packers already had Hall of Famers Bart Starr, Jim Taylor, and Paul Hornung two and three seasons prior to Lombardi’s arrival.

Lombardi believed that his players should be in the best shape possible in order to be successful and developed tough training camps.

Fall of a Dynasty

Vince Lombardi stepped down as the team’s head coach to become the general manager in 1968. Shortly after, many of the Packers’ Hall of Fame players retired.

1970’s Pittsburgh Steelers (NFL champions in 1974, 1975, 1978, 1979)

Rise of a Dynasty

While the Steelers had Chuck Knoll and some of their legendary players in place prior to their first Super Bowl season, the 1974 draft was a defining moment in franchise history.

In that draft they came away with four future hall of famers (Mike Webster, John Stallworth, Lynn Swann, and Jack Lambert).

Fall of a Dynasty

Injuries and age caught up to the Steel Curtain defense in the 1980 season.

Many key figures (Mean Joe Greene, Lynn Swan, Jack Ham, Terry Bradshaw, Mel Blount, and Jack Lambert) all retired in the early 1980s.

1980’s San Francisco 49ers (1981, 1984, 1988, 1989)

Rise of a dynasty

Just like the Packers’ dynasty, the 49ers decade of dominance actually started a year before the decade began. Bill Walsh’s and Joe Montana’s first season was 1979.

Down 35-7 at halftime to the 0-13 New Orleans Saints in 1980, the 49ers won 38-35.  At the time it was the biggest comeback in NFL history.

It was Montana’s first of many big comebacks and he won the job as the full-time starting quarterback.  He was alternating time with Steve DeBerg during his second season.

In 1985, the 49ers drafted Jerry Rice.  Rice is a three-time Super Bowl champion and a member of the 1980’s and 1990’s all-decade teams.

Fall of a dynasty

Walsh retired after the 1988 season.

Montana suffered an injury in the 1991 NFC championship game against the Giants which prevented a “three-peat”.

Montana missed all of the 1991 season and all but one game of the 1992 season with an elbow injury.

Ronnie Lott left the team after the 1990 season to play for the Raiders.

1990s Dallas Cowboys (NFL champions in 1992, 1993, 1995)

Jerry Jones buys the team on Feb. 25, 1989 and immediately hires Jimmy Johnson as head coach. He drafts Troy Aikman in 1989.

Jerry Jones and Jimmy Johnson decide to trade Herschel Walker in 1989 in order to acquire drafts picks with which they could build a team.

With the trade, Dallas was able to draft Emmitt Smith and Darren Woodsen.

Fall of a Dynasty

Jerry Jones and Jimmy Johnson split in 1994 after Jones allegedly said, “Any one of 500 coaches could have won those Super Bowls.”

Barry Switzer led the Cowboys to a win in Super Bowl XXX, but he resigned two years later.  This led to the short-lived eras of Chan Gailey and Dave Campo—eras I’m sure Cowboys’ fans would like to pretend didn’t exist.

2000s New England Patriots (NFL champions in 2001, 2003, 2004)

Rise of a Dynasty

Owner Robert Kraft hires Bill Belichick in 2000.  On Sept. 23, 2001, Mo Lewis knocks out Drew Bledsoe as Bledsoe suffers internal bleeding.  Tom Brady takes over.  The rest is history.

The “Tuck Rule Game,” Jan. 19, 2002.  Every story has two sides and this one is no different.  Here are the facts:

The New England Patriots and the Oakland Raiders met in the AFC Divisional playoff round on a snowy afternoon.

The Raiders had a 13-10 lead late in the fourth quarter when it appeared, at first, that Tom Brady fumbled the ball. The ball was recovered by Oakland.  Referee Walt Coleman overturned the call on replay by invoking the tuck rule.

Many, if not all, Patriots fans will tell you that the correct call was made.  Many Raiders fans will echo the sentiments of Charles Woodsen.  He said it was, “a bull[poop] call.”

The Patriots went on the win the game in overtime and the Super Bowl weeks later.

Fall of a Dynasty

I cannot say for certain that the Patriots’ dynasty is done.

They still had a good season this year.  Unless Pittsburgh wins the Super Bowl this year, we still won’t have another team that has won multiple titles since the Patriots won their last.

In other words, no other team has established themselves as a dynasty to take the place of the Patriots.

It looks, though, as if the end may be near for New England’s domination.  After a perfect regular season, the Patriots lost Super Bowl XLII, 17-14.

The next season almost ended just as it began.  On Sept. 7, 2008, Tom Brady went down with a major knee injury.

His status for 2009 is still unknown and will be for months.

Article Courtesy Of The

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Fair Use Notice This website may at times present copyrighted material, the use of which might not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. Such material is made available in an effort to advance understandings of democratic, economic, environmental, human rights, political, scientific, and social justice issues, among others. The author believes that this constitutes a fair use of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the U. S. Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the articles published on this website are distributed without profit for research and informational purposes. In most instances a link is placed to originator of Article and it is never expressly mentioned as written by, we use published by certain entities who write or publish for this said Blog..

Tell Us What's On Your Mind (0)

WP-SpamFree by Pole Position Marketing




He’s 30, but Seahawks’ Mebane is back and better

The drill for Brandon Mebane interviews follows a script: Writer asks Seattle Seahawks PR guy to set it ...

New RT Garry Gilliam improves rapidly

Don’t tell Garry Gilliam his first start wasn’t in a real game. Trying to block Justin Houston is as ...

Seahawks Linebackers Impress in Kansas City

Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner had a pregame message for Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith. Despite having only five ...

Rookie Tyler Lockett Shines in Seahawks Debut

When the Seahawks, a team known for moving back in the draft to accumulate picks, traded away four ...

A Surprise Leader At Left Guard, And Other Observations

The Seahawks started practice Wednesday outside under blue skies, and finished it inside with hail rattling off the ...

Seahawks Training Camp Day 8: Three Takeaways From The “Mock Game”

At the eighth practice of Seahawks training camp presented by Bing, the team conducted a "Mock Game" in ...

Three Things We Learned From Defensive Coordinator Kris Richard

Following day four of Seahawks training camp at Renton's Virginia Mason Athletic Center, Kris Richard took time to ...
Seattle Seahawks

Ahtyba Rubin Steps Up, And Other Observations From Day 3 Of Seahawks Training Camp

Day 3 of Seahawks training camp meant the first day of practicing in pads, so it was a ...

Shop for 2014 Seahawks Gameday Gear at

Shop for 2014 Seahawks Gameday Gear at





Enter your Email

Preview | Powered by FeedBlitz