Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

04 Mar 2005

The Rise and Fall of NFL Dynasties

Dr. Z looks at teams that dominated the NFL for long periods throughout its history. What caused each of these teams to fall from its perch atop the NFL, and what lesson does that hold for the Patriots? It won't shock you that aging players are the leading destroyer of dynasties, but one aging player in particular: the quarterback. The 50s Lions fell apart when Bobby Layne got old, the 60s Packers when Bart Starr got old, the 70s Steelers when Terry Bradshaw got old, the 90s Cowboys when Troy Aikman got old. The 49ers avoided this problem thanks to Steve Young. I guess this serves as more ammunition for those who feel that Tom Brady is the heart and soul of the Patriots.

As far as the other positions, the Patriots are doing a good job of mixing in new young players with their veterans each year. Ty Warren, Vince Wilfork, Eugene Wilson, and even guys like P.K. Sam will determine the future of this team. Truth be told, the Patriots are fairly young at every position except for running back and linebacker, and I have a feeling that second one will change as of April 25.

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 04 Mar 2005

1 comment, Last at 22 Jul 2005, 8:40am by Nick

Comments

1
by Nick (not verified) :: Fri, 07/22/2005 - 8:40am

Indeed, the Cowboys were one non-call away from a truly memorable comeback victory in the 1994 NFC Title Game.The 49er offense was flat at the latter stages of the game and Dallas had the momentum, even after losing Emmitt Smith to a hamstring injury in the closing of the 3rd quarter.Irvin was having a career game, and if the Cowboys had made it 38-35 with 5 minutes remaining I say the Niners fold.The officiating was suspect at best,...Sanders was clearly beaten by Irvin ad did the only thing he could to prevent a TD, yet in the 2nd quarter Larry Brown was flagged 33 yards very late on what looked to be a routine defensive play on Jerry Rice, leading to a SF field goal.Switzer's complaints were justified, and even with their turnovers at the start of the game, Dallas should've been Three-Peating in Miami.And ironically, most fans forget that back in the 1981 NFC Title Game, Eric Wright barely caught Drew Pearson on a pass from Danny White by the shoulder pads with two fingers,otherwise The Catch is a mere sidenote.