Unprecedented success: Top 5 greatest professional sports dynasties of all time

December 18, 2020

It seems inevitable that when we gather for the holidays (whether it be in person or virtual this year), we love to debate with our family and friends–politics, pop culture, and definitely sports.  In light of this upcoming banter, we are throwing together a little challenge: who are the top 5 greatest professional sports dynasties of all time?

The main goal of a professional sports team is to win a championship. This effectively cements them into the history books as they raise their respective trophy. Over the course of North American sports, there have been some teams that are exceptionally good at this, so good they get labeled as a dynasty. A sports dynasty is a team that wins at least 3 championships in a 5-year span. The teams on this list however have gone above and beyond this mark and are my top 5 greatest professional sports dynasties of all time.

5. Los Angeles Lakers 1979-1991

Earvin

AP

Earvin “Magic” Johnson of the Los Angeles Lakers scrambles for the ball on the floor of The Forum during the NBA finals, Tuesday, June 2, 1987, Inglewood, Calif. Johnson is surrounded by unidentified Boston Celtics players. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is at left. (AP Photo/Mark Avery)

The Showtime Lakers were able to put up one of the most impressive runs in sports history winning 5 championships in 10 finals appearances. That is special on its own but what makes this special is they effectively out-dueled another dynasty, the Boston Celtics while doing it. This matchup from the 80’s and early 90’s effectively made the Celtics and Lakers the best rivalry in basketball history as these two teams combined have won 45.9% of all the championships in NBA history. This Lakers team had two of the greatest basketball players of all time including Magic Johnson and the all-time leading scorer in league history Kareem Abdul Jabar. All in all, the Lakers were historic in every way imaginable winning championships, creating a historic rivalry, and having multiple Hall of Famers on the roster during this span.

4. Chicago Bulls 1990-1998

FILE+-+In+this+Jan.+3%2C+1991%2C+file+photo%2C+Michael+Jordan+%2823%29+of+the+Chicago+Bulls+drives+the+lane+for+a+finger+roll+lay-up+over+Otis+Thorpe%2C+left%2C+and+Vernon+Maxwell%2C+right%2C+of+the+Houston+Rockets+in+the+first+half+in+Houston%2C+Texas.+Picking+the+car+number+for+Michael+Jordan%27s+new+NASCAR+team+was+a+slam+dunk%3A+Bubba+Wallace+will+drive+the+No.+23+car+when+the+team+makes+its+debut+next+season.+%28AP+Photo%2FDavid+Scarbrough%2C+File%29

AP

FILE – In this Jan. 3, 1991, file photo, Michael Jordan (23) of the Chicago Bulls drives the lane for a finger roll lay-up over Otis Thorpe, left, and Vernon Maxwell, right, of the Houston Rockets in the first half in Houston, Texas. Picking the car number for Michael Jordan’s new NASCAR team was a slam dunk: Bubba Wallace will drive the No. 23 car when the team makes its debut next season. (AP Photo/David Scarbrough, File)

The next dynasty on the list is the one that feels like it has had the most impact on the sports world, pop culture, and the media. The Chicago Bulls in the 90’s were everything great about the sport of basketball, winning 6 championships in almost a decade. Of course a large part of their success was due to Michael Jordan, a sports icon that racked up six finals MVPs, five regular season MVPs, and dozens of other NBA records that add to his legacy.  

The championship teams also included Hall of Famer and the best second man of all time Scottie Pippen and fellow Hall of Famer and one of the best NBA head coaches of all time, Phil Jackson, a man with eleven championship rings coaching and two as a player.

What the Bulls were able to do for the sport of basketball in this short amount of time. With the legendary players and coaches they had, and the rise of the Jordan brand has been unmatched in the history of the sport. The impact the Bulls had on basketball after the dynasty setting the standard for what every team is compared to. And helping secure Michael Jordan as arguably the greatest Basketball player of all time is something truly memorable. This is why they are the highest-ranking basketball dynasty on the list.

 

3. San Francisco 49ers 1981-1998

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AP

FILE – In this Dec. 12, 1994, file photo Kansas City Chief’s quarterback Joe Montana watches from the sidelines during an NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins. Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana and his wife confronted a home intruder who attempted to kidnap their grandchild over the weekend, law enforcement confirmed on Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020. (AP Photo/Han Deryk, File)

The non-sports definition of a dynasty is the passing of success down a family to play a prominent role in their field. This is exactly what the 49ers did in the 80’s and 90’s. Football has never seen a passing of the reigns like the 49ers in the history of the league. Legendary players like Joe Montana, Steve Young, Jerry Rice, and Ronnie Lott among other Hall of Famers dominated the NFL for almost two decades. A common knock on this franchise during this time was only making five Super Bowls. 

When you’re being criticized for not making the Super Bowl more than five times, ignoring the fact they won every time they made it, is extremely impressive in itself. Now I know what you may be thinking: the team ranked fourth on this list is 6-0 in their championship games and the team ranked third is 5-0. Simply put, I believe it is more impressive to win a Super Bowl than any other championship, also the way the 49ers were able to replace arguably the greatest quarterback of all time in Joe Montanna with another Hall of Fame quarterback in Steve Young is an extremely rare occurrence.

 

2. New York Yankees 1947- 1964

Actress Doris Day and actor Cary Grant, standing in the dugout, pose with New York Yankees players, from left, Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris and Yogi Berra before the Yankees-Dodgers game in Los Angeles, Ca., July 12, 1962.  The players appeared in the movie

ASSOCIATED_PRESS

Actress Doris Day and actor Cary Grant, standing in the dugout, pose with New York Yankees players, from left, Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris and Yogi Berra before the Yankees-Dodgers game in Los Angeles, Ca., July 12, 1962. The players appeared in the movie “A Touch of Mink” with Day and Grant. (AP Photo/Ed Widdis)

The Yankees as a franchise could be argued that they have been a dynasty since entering the league in 1903. They have the most championships in American sports with 27 World Series championships and many runs of greatness throughout that span. However, the one chosen is their titles from 1947-1964 where they won 10 rings in that time.

Led by baseball legends like Joe DiMaggio, Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford, and Mickey Mantle among some of the other 24 Hall of Famers of the franchise, they brought greatness to the city that never sleeps. Because of the amount of championships won by this franchise, they have taken away the label of dynasty from other great teams in league history.

Now obviously they haven’t been dominant as a team every year since the conception of the league but the facts are, there has been no team even remotely close to their status when it comes to championships. The next closest team being the St. Louis Cardinals who have won 11 titles.  Because of that, there are many small baseball dynasties that do not get the credit they deserve because they are held to such a high standard. And we may never see a team have an effect like that again.

1. New England Patriots 2001-2020

FILE - In this Aug. 4, 2000, file photo, New England Patriots backup quarterback Tom Brady warms up on the sidelines before an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions at the Silverdome in Pontiac, Mich. Brady grew from a sixth-round draft choice into one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history. On Tuesday, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell hears Brady's appeal of a four-game suspension for using deflated footballs in the AFC championship game. How will that affect Brady's legacy?  (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File)

AP

FILE – In this Aug. 4, 2000, file photo, New England Patriots backup quarterback Tom Brady warms up on the sidelines before an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions at the Silverdome in Pontiac, Mich. Brady grew from a sixth-round draft choice into one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history. On Tuesday, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell hears Brady’s appeal of a four-game suspension for using deflated footballs in the AFC championship game. How will that affect Brady’s legacy? (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File)

Last but certainly not least the greatest professional sports dynasty of all time is the New England Patriots. What Tom Brady and Bill Bellichick were able to accomplish during their tenure together was something unprecedented to the world. They were able to win six Super Bowls tied for the most in NFL history with the Steelers and made nine AFC Championships, playing in a record eight of those in a row. They had 19 consecutive winning seasons, only missing the playoffs one year when Brady had torn his ACL.

During the 19 seasons they dominated the league, they played in 50% of the Super Bowls during this time and won 33% of them. The Patriots were unimaginably dominant that there’s not that much to say about them. They have been the face of sports for the 21st century, and quite frankly with the legendary quarterback and head coach splitting up and the dynasty officially being laid to rest, I am able to rest well knowing I was able to witness the greatest sports dynasty of all time.

Well, let’s start the debate! Who do you think belongs on this list?  Share in the comments below.

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