Packers Rewind: Which Is Best NFL Dynasty?
Next game: Sunday, December 20th at Pittsburgh
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During our Packers Rewind for this week, we compared the 1960's Packers and 1970's Steelers' dynasties, and saw a number of favorable comparisons toward the Lombardi-era Packers.
Those included number of championships, postseason winning percentage, regular season winning percentage, Hall of Famers and the fact they accomplished what the Steelers couldn't: three consecutive league titles.
But we decided to take this one step further and decide, "once and for all," which is the greatest dynasty in the annals of the sport.
To be fair, we compared every dynasty that included three championships in one decade and used a statistical analysis of deciding which is the best in NFL history.
We chose to use statistics instead of just subjective considerations, and did not include Hall of Famers, due to the fact that the 2000's Patriots and some of the 1990's era Cowboys are not eligible for induction yet in Canton, Ohio.
Our dynasties include:
• 1930's Green Bay Packers
• 1940's Chicago Bears
• 1950's Cleveland Browns
• 1950's Detroit Lions
• 1960's Green Bay Packers
• 1970's Pittsburgh Steelers
• 1980's San Francisco 49ers
• 1990's Dallas Cowboys
• 2000's New England Patriots
To determine our greatest dynasty, we will give reverse points based on their ranking in each individual category (9 for 1st place, 8 for 2nd and so on).
We will also credit the 2000's New England Patriots through Week 14 of the 2009 season and not include the '09 postseason, which had not happened at the time of the publishing of this story.
First comparison: the number of championships during the decade.
Some may argue that it's harder to win championships today than it was back in the early days of the league, when as few as nine teams competed for NFL championships.
We will take that into account a little bit later on.
It could be argued, however, that championships were harder to win in the early days because the best talent was more conglomerated, creating tougher competition each week.
Therefore, we'll give one category for most championships, period.
|NFL Championships During Decade|
|1)||1960's Green Bay Packers||5 (1961-62, 65-67)|
|2-Tied)||1930's Green Bay Packers||4 (1930-31, 36, 39)|
|2-Tied)||1940's Chicago Bears||4 (1940-41, 43, 46)|
|2-Tied)||1970's Pittsburgh Steelers||4 (1974-75, 78-79)|
|2-Tied)||1980's San Francisco 49ers||4 (1981, 84, 88-89)|
|6-Tied)||1950's Cleveland Browns||3 (1950, 54-55)|
|6-Tied)||1950's Detroit Lions||3 (1952-53, 57)|
|6-Tied)||1990's Dallas Cowboys||3 (1992-93, 95)|
|6-Tied)||2000's New England Patriots||3 (2001, 2003-04)|
Who wins? The 1960's Packers, who won their titles in 1961, 62, and 1965-67 for an unprecedented three in a row.
Second comparison: the number of championships during the decade compared to the number of teams competing for those championships.
Here is where the argument about more teams competing now for championships in the past gets weight.
Our formula takes the number of NFL title and multiplies them by the average number of teams per year competing each year.
|NFL Championships During Decade Compared to Number of Teams Competing for Championships
(numbers rounded to nearest tenth on chart)
|1)||1980's San Francisco 49ers||4 * 28 = 112|
|2)||1970's Pittsburgh Steelers||4 * 27 = 108|
|3)||2000's New England Patriots||3 * 31.8 = 95.3|
|4)||1960's Green Bay Packers||5 * 18.4 = 92|
|5)||1990's Dallas Cowboys||3 * 29.1 = 87.3|
|6)||1940's Chicago Bears||4 * 10 = 40|
|7)||1930's Green Bay Packers||4 * 9.8 = 39.2|
|8-Tied)||1950's Cleveland Browns||3 * 12.1 = 36.3|
|8-Tied)||1950's Detroit Lions||3 * 12.1 = 36.3|
This time, the 1980's San Francisco 49ers' four league championships, in a league that had 28 teams each year in the 1980's, stand out.
Third comparison: the number of playoff appearances during the decade compared to the number of playoff spots available.
This part gives credit to the consistency of making the playoffs that teams have in the modern era, but balances out the fact that it's a lot easier to get to the playoffs today compared to the NFL's early days.
Our formula takes the percentage of playoff appearances earned during a decade and adds it to the total amount of appearances/the number of available playoff spots in a decade.
|NFL Playoff Appearances Compared to Number of Playoff Spots Available
(numbers rounded to nearest hundredth on chart)
|1)||1950's Cleveland Browns||8 appearances||.8 +. 67 = 1.47|
|2)||1980's San Francisco 49ers||9 appearances||.9 + .267 = 1.167|
|3)||1970's Pittsburgh Steelers||8 appearances||.8 + .363 = 1.163|
|4)||1960's Green Bay Packers||6 appearances||.6 + .43 = 1.03|
|5-tied)||1930's Green Bay Packers||5 appearances||.5 + .5 = 1.00|
|5-tied)||1990's Dallas Cowboys||8 appearances||.8 + .2 = 1.00|
|7)||1940's Chicago Bears||5 appearances||.5 + .454 = .954|
|8)||2000's New England Patriots||6 appearances (9 years)||.667 + .167 = .833|
|9)||1950's Detroit Lions||4 appearances||.4 + .308 = .708|
In this comparison, the incredible eight appearances of the 1950's Cleveland Browns, in an era where you only made the playoffs by winning your division or tying for the division lead and qualifying for a one-game playoff, gives them the top spot.
Fourth comparison: how well did you do when you made the playoffs?
This comparison balances out the number of playoff games a team used to play before the Super Bowl era (one, possibly two if teams were tied for a conference/division title) to the amount today (up to four).
It's simply the playoff winning percentage.
|Postseason Winning Percentage
(rounded to nearest thousandth on chart)
|1)||1960's Green Bay Packers||9-1||.900|
|2)||1940's Chicago Bears||5-1||.833|
|3)||1950's Detroit Lions||5-1||.833|
|4)||2000's New England Patriots||14-3||.824|
|5-tied)||1970's PIttsburgh Steelers||14-4||.778|
|5-tied)||1980's San Francisco 49ers||14-4||.778|
|7)||1990's Dallas Cowboys||12-5||.706|
|8)||1930's Green Bay Packers||2-1||.667|
|9)||1950's Cleveland Browns||5-5||.500|
No dynasty had a better winning percentage in the playoffs than Vince Lombardi's 1960's Green Bay Packers. In fact, his teams and the 2000's New England Patriots each had nine-game playoff winning streaks, otherwise unmatched in NFL history.
Fifth comparison: what was your regular season record?
Some teams win Super Bowls without dominating their league, and barely sneak in to the playoffs, then get hot in the postseason.
Dynasties rarely have teams that fulfill this plan.
This statistic simply encompasses each team's decade-long winning percentage in the regular season, rewarding teams that dominate each season and penalizing teams that barely sneak by.
|Regular Season Winning Percentage
(rounded to nearest thousandth on chart)
|1)||1940's Chicago Bears||81-26-3||.750|
|2)||1950's Cleveland Browns||88-30-2||.742|
|3)||1960's Green Bay Packers||96-27-5||.714|
|4)||1930's Green Bay Packers||85-35-4||.702|
|5)||2000's New England Patriots||110-47||.701|
|6)||1970's Pittsburgh Steelers||99-44-1||.691|
|7)||1980's San Francisco 49ers||104-47-1||.688|
|8)||1990's Dallas Cowboys||101-59||.631|
|9)||1950's Detroit Lions||68-48-4||.583|
George Halas' 1940's Chicago Bears take the cake here. The "Monsters of the Midway" deservedly earned their reputation with a dominating decade, winning approximately three of every four games.
Sixth and last comparison: how dominant were you in winning games?
If one team finishes 13-3, but wins by an average of one point per game, it would be inaccurate to say that such a team is as dominant as a squad that goes 13-3 but blows teams out by 20 points per game.
Here, we take that into consideration by averaging the margin of victory over each decade.
|Regular Season Margin of Victory
(numbers rounded to nearest tenth on chart)
|1)||1940's Chicago Bears||+12.5|
|2)||1960's Green Bay Packers||+11.8|
|3)||1970's Pittsburgh Steelers||+11.6|
|4)||1950's Cleveland Browns||+9.7|
|5)||1930's Green Bay Packers||+8.1|
|6)||1980's San Francisco 49ers||+7.5|
|7)||2000's New England Patriots||+6.9|
|8)||1990's Dallas Cowboys||+5.0|
|9)||1950's Detroit Lions||+4.0|
Again, it's the 1940's Chicago Bears that dominate this category.
After using the reverse points system (1st place in a particular category earns nine points, 2nd earns 8 points, etc.), who gets the title of Best NFL Dynasty?
|Best NFL Dynasty
(based on six listed criteria)
|1)||1960's Green Bay Packers||45|
|2)||1940's Chicago Bears||39.5|
|3)||1970's Pittsburgh Steelers||37|
|4)||1980's San Francisco 49ers||35|
|5)||1950's Cleveland Browns||28|
|6)||1930's Green Bay Packers||27|
|7)||2000's New England Patriots||25.5|
|8)||1990's Dallas Cowboys||19|
|9)||1950's Detroit Lions||14|
Somewhere, Vince Lombardi is smiling and George Halas is fuming, while Terry Bradshaw utters a southern-fried and highly understandable "dagnabit!"
Of course, this is an attempt at a scientific way of figuring out something that can never truly be figured out. Beauty, and football domination, is in the eye of the beholder.
So BEHOLD! Send your thoughts about this here.