There is an interesting article in the Miami Herald by Jaymes Song in which two Cardinal stars, Kurt Warner and Larry Fitzgerald, are asked if the current Steelers team is a dynasty. I have plenty of respect for both of those players so I found their responses interesting. Kurt Warner hedged, arguing that "they're going to have to dominate a little bit more over the next couple years. But you can't take anything away from what they've done over the course of the last few and how well they played." Nicely said.
Larry Fitzgerald, on the other hand, emphatically said the current Steelers team is a Dynasty and compared them to the 90s Cowboys team. One of his criteria was the quality of the players and he named Roethlisberger, Ward, and Polamalu by name. His grace in defeat is a reminder of why he was such a beloved player when he played at Pitt. But it is an overstatement at this point. Were the Broncos a Dynasty when they won back to back Super Bowls with John Elway and Terrell Davis? No. They were a great team with some great players but needed one more win to get over the hump.
On this point, I side with Kurt. I don't feel that this Steelers team can yet be considered a Dynasty. Which brings up the question, "What makes a team a Dynasty?"
I think I would define a football Dynasty as a team that wins at least three Super Bowls over seven years or four Super Bowls over ten years as a starter. A Dynastic team should also have at least three Hall of Fame caliber players on it that are common to all three of their Super Bowl teams. A great rivalry during the period in question helps but I don't think it is necessary.
Under this definition, there have been five Dynasties in NFL history.
I'd count the 60s Packers even though they had two Super Bowl wins. If the Super Bowl era had started earlier, they would have had more. The Steelers of the 1970s are a no brainer as are the 49ers of the 1980s. I'm not sure I'd count their last Super Bowl as part of that Dynasty since it was after a five year gap, but that might be nitpicking. The 90s Cowboys were also a dynasty. The final Dynasty is the Patriots of this decade.
Dynasties are not measured by total franchise Super Bowls but by the individual achievement of a team made of of the same core of players.
There were some teams that could have been Dynasties but didn't quite get over the hump because they constantly ran into the above group, such as the 70s Raiders and Cowboys. That isn't to take away anything from their achievements. Just to win one Super Bowl is a great accomplishment.
Will this Steelers squad get there? Time will tell but I think so. With Roethlisberger behind center and a relatively young all-world defense, I see them winning at least one more in the next few years if they can shore up their offensive line. The biggest hurdle for them to clear will be the Patriots, who might still have a couple great seasons in them if they can fix some of their defensive shortcomings from this year. That should make for some great games.
I'm curious what other people think on this topic. What makes a Dynasty? Are there any other teams in the Super Bowl area you would call a Dynasty?