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Thought of the Day finale

Posted by ESPN.com's James Walker

The most recent "Thought of the Day" blog entry was an interesting one. It asked the question of what makes a modern NFL dynasty?

Here are some additional comments with a final say on the topic:

Christian from Cleveland writes: I think any team that established itself as dominant in a 10-year period has a chance of being a dynasty. I think multiple championships is necessary, but I also think how you fare in the years you don't "win it all" is also necessary to the equation. In the 2000's its obvious only two contenders exist. The New England Patriots in my opinion is already a dynasty...three championships plus two additional AFC Championship appearances including a 16-0 season and another Super Bowl appearance seals the deal for them. The Pittsburgh Steelers probably needs to win this year. That would give them three championships plus additional AFC Championship appearances in 2001 & 2004. Out of 20 teams that could play in an AFC Championship in a decade half of them would have belonged to these two teams. Those would be dynasties in my book.

John from Nicholasville, KY writes: I would like to agree with this comment on some level, but I'm finding it really difficult. First off, although it's a minor thing, the Green Bay Packers won NFL championships, not AFL. Also, free agency wasn't what it is today back in the 50's, 60's, 70's and 80's. To build a team, you drafted and traded well. Guys didn't hold out then picked a better team when they felt like it. To win three Super Bowls in a seven- or eight-year span today is simply amazing. The front office, coaches and the veterans have to be on the same page. Only a handful of teams are even close to being there. If the Pittsburgh Steelers were to win another this year, or even next, I think dynasty talk is definitely warranted.

Matt from Nashville writes: In my opinion, in order to be called a "dynasty", you must accomplish four things: 1. Win back to back Super Bowls at least once; 2. Go no more than four years between Super Bowl wins; 3. Win at least 3 Super Bowls within 6 years; 4. Do not lose in a Super Bowl while in that span. Using this formula, you can call the Packers of the 60's (including AFL champions), Steelers of the 70's, 49er's of the 80's, and even the Cowboy's of the 90's "dynasties". This will, however, exclude New England, even if they win it all in the 09 season, because they have not only lost a Super Bowl, but also will have gone longer than 4 years between Super Bowl wins. New England lost their shot at "Dynasty" when they lost to the Giants. The Steelers CAN be considered a "dynasty" IF they win the Super Bowl in the 09 season. As it will satisfy the back-to-back requirement and give them at least three victories in six years. However, they pretty much have to win it this upcoming season (09) to even be considered. So, yes. Winning three Super Bowls, at least in my mind, makes you a dynasty if you fit into those four rules above.

Frank from Chino Hills writes: I am a huge Steelers fan. I think it would be premature to call the Steelers a dynasty just yet. Looking at the past Super Bowl winners in this decade, the Pats have won 3 (01, 03 & 04). The Steelers have wins in 05 and 08. If the Steelers were to win in 09 they would only have tied the Patriots and thus we could not have a DYNASTY!

Matt writes: So, according to Jason's logic, if the Steelers repeat this year and then win another one in 2014, they will be a dynasty (4 in 10 years, just like the 49ers). I am a HUGE Steeler fan, but how can you not include the early 90's Dallas Cowboys in that mix? They not only won 3 of 4 Super Bowls, but their smallest margin of victory in those games (10 points over Pittsburgh in SB XXX) was larger than the margin of victory for ALL the Patriots SB wins combined. The only reason they did not win four straight was one Steve Young. I can't believe I am defending the Cowboys. Growing up in western PA, there are two teams outside our division that you absolutely loathe: the Cowboys and Oakland Raiders. I give much respect to what those Cowboys of the early 90's did, and I have to call them a dynasty.

Jesse from Pittsburgh writes: James, Long time reader, appreciate your work. In regards to Jason's dynasty comment, I happen to agree. Four may not be the magical number to solidify a dynasty in the NFL but three certainly isn't. Should the Steelers repeat this year it would, without a doubt, make a statement about the franchise. However, a Super Bowl victory in 2009 & 2010 would not harbor arguments as to a "dynasty status" where as three would. Being from Pittsburgh I obviously am a huge fan. I'm also a realist. And in this case, four is the number.

Robert from Latrobe, PA writes: A team who wins three Super Bowl titles in six years has built a dynasty. This isn't the 1970s. If a team can manage to overcome the problems with free agency, injuries, arrests, holdouts, fan and media discontent, PEDs, locker room cancers, constant rule changes, and arbitrary disciplinary policies, and somehow remain stable enough to win three titles, then by God, you have a dynasty. Four titles in six years will never happen again; three is close enough for me.

Bobby from Pittsburgh writes: Love the blog, JW! I can agree with the logic that the Steelers of the '70s set the mark with four championships. However, I think it's just silly to say that a team can only be considered a dynasty if they win four rings. With that criteria, a team that wins three years in a row wouldn't be considered a dynasty? How about three rings in four or five years? Not a dynasty? Come on! That's just absurd. I think a team's success has to be judged based on the times and the situation in the league. Three championships in a short span would be a great mark of a modern day dynasty. Four championships would be even better but it shouldn't be the deciding factor judging whether a team qualifies as a dynasty. With that said: GO STEELERS!

Michael from CO. via MA. writes: In regards to dynasty if the only criteria needed to be categorized as one is "sustained excellence" then the "2k Patriots" are easily a dynasty. Since coach Bill Belichick has been there all the Patriots accomplish is excellence, even when their franchise QB goes down they still end with an excellent record and only because of the difficulty of their division did they not get into the playoffs.

Salomon from Pittsburgh, PA writes: Hey James, big fan of the blog, read it every day. This is in response to your "Thought of The Day" for May 14 for Jason: The Steelers are not YET a dynasty. But, I think dynasties are three championships in a short period of time, with added dominance in the regular season, also with back-to-back victories at some point. So, dynasties of the Super Bowl era are: Steelers of the 70's, the 49'ers of the 90's, the Cowboys of the 90's, and the Pats from the 2000's. Borderline teams are the Dolphins of the 70's and the Packers of the 60's. All of these were teams that nobody wanted to face, and for the most part won over 11 games every season of their dynasties.

AFC North final sa
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James Walker: With free agency, the NFL landscape has changed dramatically and so has the definition of a dynasty. If the Steelers of the '70s or 49ers of the '80s had to replace players like Terry Bradshaw, Jack Lambert, Lynn Swann, Joe Montana, Jerry Rice and Ronnie Lott for leaving early in their careers to the highest bidder, those teams would not have won four titles in a decade. The fact teams kept their top players for a majority of their careers cannot be ignored. With constant player movement and now 32 teams, the magic number for a dynasty is three championships in a short span; and I would add back-to-back championships during that run to be considered dominant. The Cowboys accomplished the feat in the '90s. The Patriots of this decade are the most recent NFL dynasty, and the Steelers are knocking on the door if they can repeat this year.

Thanks again for all of your input. If you have any future topics for "Thought of the Day," send it to our AFC North inbox.