Five of the greatest NFL franchises
Sometimes, something just clicks for an American football side. There are often a number of continuous factors, whether it be a stable ownership, coaching or quarterback succession, but every so often one side sticks out for a number of decades – much longer than any team would ever expect. Here are just five of the most brilliant dynasties of American football.
San Francisco 49ers (1981-2002)
The arrival of Bill Walsh at San Francisco ahead of the 1979 season not only turned around a franchise that seemed to be on its last legs, it also redefined the game of football.
Walsh’s quick-passing, timing-based offense quickly became a household feature in the NFL after winning Super Bowls in 1981, 1984, and 1988 using just that.
But Walsh was not alone in his revolutionary tactics as his staff were also outstanding evaluators of talent, with the likes of Ronnie Lott and Jerry Rice being targeted in the first round draft, with others such as Roger Craig, Keena Turner and Eric Wright in the second.
Even after Walsh retired, his legacy was carried on by George Seifert as San Francisco won two more Super Bowls and reached the NFC Championship four other times in the 1990s.
Dallas Cowboys (1966-1985)
If ever there was an American football side that screamed continuity it was the Dallas Cowboys. Their first-team coach Tom Landry joined the club in 1960 and left, remarkably, in 1989 whilst owner Tex Schramm – who founded the Cowboys in 1960 – was there for the same 29-year period.
Continuity on the field helped too with Don Meredith, Roger Staubach and Danny White the leading quarterbacks for the 1960s, ‘70s and ‘80s respectively.
Dallas went to the playoffs 17 times in 18 seasons, reaching five Super Bowls and seven other conference title games, and were nicknamed “America’s Team” for how many times they were shown on TV.
Chicago Bears (1920-1950)
A 30-year dynasty is as good as any, and, the Chicago Bears were certainly a force to be reckoned with in the interwar period.
George Halas took over as player/coach of the Decatur Staleys in 1920, moving with the franchise to Chicago a year later.
The Bears finished second in the NFL four times in the 1920s, reached the championship game four times in the 1930s (winning two), then reached it five times in the 1940s (winning four).
Halas was at the forefront of this success, coaching the Bears in all but one of their title successes.
Halas won one final title in 1963 and retired four years later at the age of 72.
New England Patriots (1994-2018)
The Patriots finally made the play-offs in 1994 and their first Super Bowl in 1996 before winning their first Super Bowl in 2001 under the new head coach Bill Belichick.
The name Tom Brady is still on everyone’s lips almost two decades since his arrival on the scene as quarterback in 2001. The Patriots made their 16th play-offs in 18 years in 2018 and they became the first league team to pull off a 16-0 regular season in 2007 and have won at least 10 games every year since.
Their six-time Super Bowl record is the joint-highest in history (alongside the Pittsburgh Steelers) and they are still ready for another charge in 2019/20.
Cleveland Browns (1946-1969)
The Browns have recently made history for all the wrong reasons – the longest losing streak in NFL history with 16, but you can still back the Browns to do well with the latest betting promotions sites – but at one point, they had everything going for them.
Paul Brown took over as Cleveland head coach in 1946 and went 47-4-3 while winning four consecutive league titles, earning the Browns a spot in the National Football League. The Browns then won the NFL in their first year in the league. They would play in the league title game in each of their first six seasons, winning three titles.
Brown was sacked in 1962 after a rift with owner Art Modell, but Cleveland kept winning. They reached the NFL championship game in 1964 (winning) and 1965 (losing) and came within a game of the Super Bowl in both 1968 and 1969.
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