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The Privilege of American Sports Dynasties
XVII.) Published just prior to the Pats v. Rams Super Bowl in 2019 <17th OP>
THIS POST HAS BEEN UPDATED (and revised) FOR THIS YEAR'S SUPER BOWL - FEBRUARY 3rd 2019 LIII!!! PATS ARE IN IT...YET AGAIN!
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Since I have been watching professional sports from the time I was Ten in 1991, I have been a witness to many sports dynasties. As time goes on, I better appreciate how remarkable they truly are and were. Of course, dynasties in sports come and go just like any cycle. Let’s go back to *my earliest memories of +Championship dynasties (from the date they last won the title in that era).
*Of course, there were dynasties before my time, even in my lifetime. But, since I was not following the dynasties of the 1980s, nor was I aware of them until later I can’t count them. But, if you really want to look them up yourselves, the four that come to mind for me from the 80s are the Larry Bird lead Boston Celtics, the Magic Johnson lead LA Lakers, Wayne Gretzky of the Edmonton Oilers and the Joe Montana lead 49ers.
+Also for the record I’m not counting individual sports like Tennis or Golf, although my cap’s off to Federer and Serena for their continued dominance in Tennis as well as Tiger for what he did for the sport of Golf before his life became a train wreck. Although there does seem to be light at the end of the tunnel for Tiger, after all. https://www.bbc.com/sport/golf/45625712
And I did enjoy the recent Biography that came out last Spring about him. https://www.golfdigest.com/story/new-tiger-woods-book-explores-how-a-golfer-groomed-for-stardom-was-left-adrift-as-a-man. Also, I’m not mentioning Hockey either, as that is not my forte. I might mention one or two college teams, but that is hard to do as college players are so transient, it’s more about a Coach in college than a collection of players (on a consistent basis that is).
Either way, enjoy!
The Dynasties of yesterday that will forever be in the Record Books
Dallas Cowboys! 3 Super Bowl Victories in 4 years. 1992 Champs, 93 Champs and 95 Champs!
I could not stand the Cowboys! They beat every team I liked. I really liked the Steve Young lead 49ers, and it wasn’t until Jerry Jones foolishly ended Jimmy Johnson's’ reign as Head Coach that the Niners were able to finally beat them (The 94 Season). But the Cowboys still had one more Super Bowl Title in them. Being a NY Born and bred guy, I was a Giants fan, and I still remember being in an airport the day that Emmitt Smith single-handedly beat the Giants on the last day of the regular season (with a separated shoulder no less http://www.nfl.com/videos/nfl-network-top-ten/09000d5d80498dcd/Top-Ten-Weather-Games-1975-AFC-Championship ) to clinch the top seed and sully Lawrence Taylor’s final season in the NFL. That and the Cowboys always beat the Randall Cunningham lead Eagles (a Team I had a fondness for having family from Philly). Repeat, I could not stand the Cowboys!
The Chicago Bulls! 6 Titles in 8 years 1991,1992,1993,1996,1997,1998.
Basketball is and forever will be my favorite professional sport to follow. In fact, I came of age on the Chicago Bulls. Even though (as a Knicks fan) they always broke my heart, my fondness of the Bulls was always strong. One of my all-time favorite books by the late great David Halberstam was “Playing for Keeps” primarily based on the 1997-98 Bulls Season (their last title season) https://www.amazon.com/Playing-Keeps-Michael-Jordan-World/dp/0767904443 . One of my all-time favorite sports articles was Bill Simmons piece on Scottie Pippen “The other 33 http://www.espn.com/espn/page2/story?page=simmons/041101 .
I have read countless other tabloid-like books on Michael Jordan and the Bulls (as well as Phil Jackson too). I won’t go into more details on this dynasty, but just know that there is good reason MJ is still considered the undisputed GOAT!
There’s also reason to believe once Phil Jackson finally gets the stench off him as a failed Knicks GM, that history will again primarily remember him as an all-time great coach!
The NY Yankees 4 titles in 5 years! 1996,1998,1999,2000. (As well as 5th one in 2009)
I was never a big baseball guy, but I too was growing tired of always seeing the Yankees continuously winning. I even remember towards the summer time of the Yankees last title of this run (June 2000), I asked my parents’ family friend and carpenter Manny if he ever got tired of the Yankees winning all the time.
Now, Manny was this Brooklyn born Italian dude with the personality of all things wholesome and NY, and he said “Josh, I wish the Yankees won every friggin game”. I was what, 18, (half a life-time ago now) so, what did I know about good things coming to an end? Manny surely did. It was a valuable lesson I still remember to this day.
PS - I should probably give more due to the BoSox and their remarkable run of 4 titles in the past 14 years...especially since you do have to go back to 1918 to relive a World Series Championship by them in the 20th Century. Which really is remarkable!!! Makes me think someone 70 years from now will be blogging about the NY Knicks and their remarkable turnaround (when I'm already in the grave...LOL)
LA Lakers 3 straight titles 2000, 2001, 2002
Oh, what could have been!? ShaQobe* was such an awesome on-two punch. Why they couldn’t win titles before Phil Jackson got there was maddening. Why they ended in such acrimony was fascinating. Here too I have read more than my share of tabloid-like books on these cast of characters as well. Few people outside of die-hard NBA fans remember this, but the Lakers were gift wrapped Game 6 of the WCF in 2002 vs the Kings https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qjRcTiwVEwo .
That match-up between those two teams was the real Finals that year. (I wrote about that series, here as well
That and, it’s still amazing to me that the Blazers blew a 15 point lead in the 4th quarter of that Game 7 in the 2000 WCF.
Wow! For a dynastic team such as these dysfunctional Lakers, they sure seemed lucky. But, oh well…what could have been. (*Shaq and Kobe’s name combined makes SHAQOBE).
The San Antonio Spurs 5 Titles in 15 years; winning at least 1 title in each of the last 3 decades with Tim Duncan as their corner-stone player, and the legendary Gregg Popovich as thee head Coach. 1999, 2003,2005,2007, 2014.
When I think of the legendary British Soccer Club, Manchester United of the Premiere League, I think of the Spurs as the American counter-parts to what Man U has been able to accomplish over a period of such long and sustained success. Granted MAN U has been in existence for 140 years now, but I still think of the Spurs as representing a certain level of sustained success in the past 20* years that I have not seen in any other Basketball team in the NBA or any other American Sports Franchise for that matter.
(*This article referenced here goes back 30+ years). Just note that Tim Duncan probably will go down in history as the most unheralded Top 10 Greatest basketball player ever. Here’s a great SI piece on Duncan to give you a better look at his career. https://www.si.com/nba/2016/07/11/tim-duncan-retires-spurs-gregg-popovich-tim-duncan-manu-ginobili.
Also, to get a glimpse of what it’s like to chill on a couch with Duncan, here is this podcast episode https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4iWA1Shnn8o (which will at least give you some kind of look under the hood ).
As for Pop, there have been several people looking to recruit Pop to run for POTUS in 2020. All joking aside for celebrity picks for President, as I think this country should go back to boring ass politicians ASAP (thanks for scarring us for life Trump), I do find the idea of Pop as POTUS at least somewhat romantic. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Cbtvzh8Voo
The Dynasties that are currently still building on their Legacies
Golden State Warriors (4 straight finals 2015-2018 and 3 titles - 15,17,18)
If you ask me I think the Warriors have cheapened sports dynasties. They are bad for the NBA, plain and simple. There's no putting lipstick on a pig here. It is what is is. I'm not longer angry about it. I just "sigh" and am like, The last two titles they won have been cheap. I give them way more credit for their 2015 Title and their almost 2016 title, than I will ever give them for the past two titles in 2017, or 2018. And if they don't self-combust this year, I'll give them more credit for this 2019 title (def more so than then 17 or 18) but still not as much credit as they deserve for that 1st one in 2015, even though the Cavs were under-manned with no Kyrie for 4.75 out of 6 games, and KLOVE out for the whole series).
Alabama Crimson Tide. 2009, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2017 Champions.
*Nick Saban is one of the greatest football coaches, ever! According to Colin Cowherd, Alabama’s last championship victory (just last year after this year's 2nd place finish) was his greatest coaching job, ever! https://www.seccountry.com/alabama/colin-cowherd-nick-saban-georgia-thought-best-coaching-effort-time .
This team has been a perennial title contender every single year Saban has been there. They finished what #5 in 2013 (just missing the first ever 4 team playoff) #3 in 2014 and #2 in 2016 & 2018? Just a remarkable run of continued excellence incredible.
If any of my readers can suggest one biography written about him I should read, please tell me as I know there are two prominent ones out there, (among others), yet I just want to sink my teeth into one of them for the time being.
*I’m not going to mention any other college teams. People could possibly make the case for Duke and Coach K, but the college basketball culture of 1 and done, that and the fact that there is only so much talent to go around in college basketball relative to college football, causes me to exclude college ball from this list too.
Whatever Team LEBRON JAMES is playing on; 9 Finals appearances in 12 years, 2007, and then 8 straight trips to the Finals 2011,2012,2013,2014,2015, 2016, 2017,2018 - 3 Championships 2012,2013,2016.
I’ll be the first to admit the NOW 3-6* record in the Finals is a bit of an eye sore. But, how LeBron is consistently able to be the one player over all these years to play the last official NBA Game of the year, every friggin year for 8* straight years!!! WOW! MJ needed a break during his title run. (check out my take on the MJ v LeBron argument here
Oh, and this play! I still get chills from it.
The New England Patriots: 9* Super Bowl Appearances in 18* years (based on Season not on date game was played) 2001, 2003, 2004, 2007, 2011, 2014, 2016, 2017, 2018. 5 Championships 2001,2003,2014,2016, Possible 6th one... 2018*??
I honestly don’t think we will see anything quite like this in the NFL again. Well, for one thing, the NFL as we know it might be a totally different league in 10 years (especially given this recent more honest/transparent spike in reporting).
No matter what the future of football is, what Bill Bellichick has been able to do as Head Coach of this team and what Tom Brady has been able to accomplish as the starting QB…. WOW!
Anyhow, the long and short is, last year I thought the PATS would win against the Eagles and that would be the end of their dynasty. Well, I was wrong on both fronts. This year I bet a buddy $20 bucks the Pats would win.
If the Rams win, I owe him $25. So, not sure what odds you call that. But, either way I'm not terribly invested in this game either way. I just want to see a good game, and admire Greatness when I see it. And the PATS have been one of the main the embodiment's of greatness in American Sports history!
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