Saints Lead the Way in Total Dynasty Lists

New Orleans Saints HC Sean Payton and QB Drew Brees
New Orleans Saints HC Sean Payton and QB Drew Brees
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

NFL Offseason - Over the last three years, we have gone through and listed every stretch of great team play in NFL history with our dynasty rankings. We have gone back and found every stretch of truly putrid play with our anti-dynasty rankings. We have looked at every painful instance of good teams falling just short in our heartbreak rankings. We even, for a joke, looked back at teams who just waddled in mediocrity for the longest periods of time.

This is not the end of things we can look back on, but it is a nice point to stop and reflect. Between the best seasons, the worst seasons, and the average seasons, you can get a pretty nice reflection of every team's history, at least in the view from 20,000 feet. To do that, though, you have to click through nearly two-dozen articles to find every team's exact rankings, which is a cooler idea in theory than it is in practice.

So, for everyone's convenience, we're putting together this Total Dynasty List: a quick look at all 32 teams and their historic eras of greatness, putridity, and everything in between. If you want to know exactly how often the Packers have been dynastic or just how frequently the Buccaneers have been terrible, it's now all in one place for your reading pleasure.

Each entry will include its ranking on the overall list, but these rankings will slightly differ from their original articles. We have gone ahead and updated them to the present moment. That includes adding 2020 and 2021 for the dynasty and anti-dynasty lists, which brings one new entry onto both rankings. We have also gone back and added actual DVOA from 1981 through 1984 to the older lists, replacing the estimated DVOA we were using before. This slightly shuffles the rankings in the middle for teams that played in the early 1980s, as while estimated DVOA is very, very good, it is just an estimation after all. Now that we have (nearly) full play-by-play for the early 1980s, we can more accurately determine which teams were exceptionally gnarly and which were grody to the max.

At the end of the article, we'll also update which teams have active dynasty and anti-dynasty points so you can see which squads are closest to qualifying for these lists in the future.

How many teams qualify for one of the lists? We tallied:

  • 57 Dynasty teams
  • 59 Anti-Dynasty teams
  • 44 Dynasties of Heartbreak
  • 60 Dynasties of Mediocrity

Without further ado…

AFC East

New England (Boston) Patriots

1967-1975: Anti-Dynasty (16)
1974-1988: Heartbreak (22)
1989-1995: Anti-Dynasty (18)
2001-2019: Dynasty (1)
2005-2013: Heartbreak (19)

Total Dynasty Seasons: 19
Total Anti-Dynasty Seasons: 16
Total Heartbreak Seasons: 24
Total Mediocrity Seasons: 0
Total Qualified Seasons: 48 (of 62; 77.4%)

We start with the Patriots because of breaking news: the top dynasty in NFL history has, officially, come to an end. The Bill Belichick-Tom Brady run now officially ends with Brady's departure, and we're in a brave new world of Mac Jones-led football. In the past, I have said that the Patriots run continued, but I was incorrect. They had a losing record in 2020, which was worth one strike. They then went 10-7 and finished second in their division in 2021. That's a good season, undoubtably—it's worth one dynasty point, because they earned a wild-card berth. But it also counts as a run-ending second strike because they neither won their division (thanks, Buffalo!) nor hit the .643 winning percentage needed to earn a point based on sheer record. That winning percentage equates to a 9-5 year in a 14-game season, but to top that in a 17-game season, you have to go all the way to 11-6. That's strike two and they're out. It's conceivable that 2021 could be the start of a new dynasty, with a one year Brady-less interregnum separating them out, but that's not just putting the cart before the horse, that's taking a foal to a carpenter with big plans.

The end means that while the modern Patriots remain the greatest dynasty in NFL history, they do not catch Tom Landy's Cowboys and become the second team with a two-decade-long dynasty run. It also means that they have been a heartbreak dynasty more often than they have been a regular dynasty, though that requires you to accept that a) the Snow Plow game connected two fairly distinct eras of Patriots history in the 1970s and 1980s, and b) losing multiple Super Bowls and AFC Championship Games in the middle of the Brady/Belichick era counts as being heartbroken. Your mileage may vary on both.

Miami Dolphins

1970-1974: Dynasty (28)
1974-1987: Heartbreak (7)
1978-1985: Dynasty (42)
1986-1999: Mediocrity (6)
1990-2005: Heartbreak (15)

Total Dynasty Seasons: 13
Total Anti-Dynasty Seasons: 0
Total Heartbreak Seasons: 30
Total Mediocrity Seasons: 14
Total Qualified Seasons: 36 (of 56; 64.3%)

The Dan Marino Dolphins defy easy categorization. They were clearly very good—they went to a Super Bowl, they broke offensive records, they were in the playoffs on a regular basis. They qualify for a dynasty entry, although one relatively low on the list. And yet they never won any titles, so they're a heartbreak qualifier too. And once you get past 1985 and the last of five straight playoff appearances for Don Shula's teams, you start getting tons of 8-8 and 9-7 seasons and third-place finishes in five-team AFC Easts, so they qualify for the mediocrity list as well. All these eras merge and overlap, with the Dolphins jumping up to greatness and falling back down to averageness without ever actually being bad for any extended period of time. They have become one of my least favorite teams in the past couple of years because those early 1980s seasons really mess up a system that works so well for the other 31 teams in the league. But from 1970 to 2005, the Dolphins are always on some sort of list, because they were everything except for boring.

And since then, nothing. Whether it has been Tony Sparano, Joe Philbin, Adam Gase, or Brian Flores at the helm, with or without Ryan Tannehill under center, the Dolphins simply have not come particularly close to cracking any list since. They have only made the playoffs twice, so they're not a dynasty. They racked up a few anti-dynasty points in the Cam Cameron and Adam Gase eras, but playoff appearances on one side or another of those squash that. Their DVOAs have typically been far enough away from 0.0% to even avoid scoring high on the mediocrity scale. The past 16 years have put Miami in the worst category of all: forgettable.

Buffalo Bills

1963-1966: Dynasty (55)
1967-1972: Anti-Dynasty (22)
1982-1987: Anti-Dynasty (43)
1988-1995: Dynasty (43)
1988-1999: Heartbreak (4)
2000-2008: Mediocrity (37)
2001-2013: Anti-Dynasty (47)

Total Dynasty Seasons: 12
Total Anti-Dynasty Seasons: 25
Total Heartbreak Seasons: 12
Total Mediocrity Seasons: 9
Total Qualified Seasons: 32 (of 62, 51.7%)

We ranked the 44 biggest heartbreak dynasties of all time. The current Buffalo Bills are in 45th place, pending whatever Josh Allen and company can do over the next few years. That means the Bills are very, very likely to add another entry onto this list in 2022. Unless they win the Super Bowl, another winning season of any caliber would qualify them for the heartbreak list, and the Bills are favored to win their division. They also only need four dynasty points to scratch their way onto that list, which can be done by either winning the Super Bowl or losing it after a 14-3 season or better. It would be very Buffalo to dominate the regular season, get to the Super Bowl, and get blown out, qualifying for both the dynasty and heartbreak rankings simultaneously.

That would also prevent the current era from being the longest time in Buffalo history without qualifying for any list. Currently, that's the Joe Ferguson years in the 1970s, with Lou Saban and Chuck Knox helping the Bills keep their heads above water in the least competitively balanced era in modern NFL history. They qualified for the anti-dynasty lists before that run, and after that run, and very nearly did it again during that run, but were strong enough to just barely avoid hitting the bottom of that list. And then long-suffering Bills fans were rewarded with the 1990s teams, which … oh.

New York Jets

1970-1977: Anti-Dynasty (32)
1987-1996: Anti-Dynasty (35)
1988-1993: Mediocrity (46)
1997-2011: Heartbreak (13)
1997-2002: Mediocrity (50)
2008-2013: Mediocrity (43)
2016-2021: Anti-Dynasty (28)

Total Dynasty Seasons: 0
Total Anti-Dynasty Seasons: 24
Total Heartbreak Seasons: 15
Total Mediocrity Seasons: 18
Total Qualified Seasons: 41 (of 62; 66.1%)

Well, when you put it that way, it looks like being a Jets fan is no fun at all! The Jets are one of four teams nursing an active anti-dynasty, though a 12-5 season this year would be enough to fully dispel it and put a final capper on the Adam Gase era. I don't see that happening, but it does feel like the Jets are at least beginning to turn the corner. Whether that corner leads to freedom or an oncoming train remains to be seen.

The AFL Jets don't earn any plaudits despite winning Super Bowl III. They had four straight five-win seasons from 1962 to 1965, which kept them from building up any momentum leading up to the Super Bowl, and then Joe Namath's knees kersploded, preventing Weeb Ewbank's teams from putting up enough success on a regular basis to build off of the Super Bowl win. Jets fans will just have to be satisfied with the Guarantee.

AFC North

Pittsburgh Steelers (Pirates)

1933-1941: Anti-Dynasty (8)
1949-1961: Mediocrity (1)
1964-1971: Anti-Dynasty (21)
1972-1979: Dynasty (6)
1980-1993: Mediocrity (5)
1987-1997: Heartbreak (9)
1992-1997: Dynasty (40)
2001-2005: Dynasty (44)
2014-2021: Heartbreak (24)

Total Dynasty Seasons: 19
Total Anti-Dynasty Seasons: 17
Total Heartbreak Seasons: 19
Total Mediocrity Seasons: 27
Total Qualified Seasons: 69 (of 89; 77.5%)

The Steelers don't do anything by half-measures. Between the four lists, we have 40 top-10 runs; the Steelers have five of them, and they're the only team in the top 10 in all four flavors of rankings. Obviously, the Steel Curtain will be the primary historical feature of the Steelers for a long, long time, but they were terrible in the pre-war era, bland as bland can be in the post-war era, and a quarterback short of another dynasty in the 1990s. That's an impressive collection of single-digit rankings, even if they haven't added to it since thens.

The Steelers' current heartbreak dynasty feels over now that Ben Roethlisberger is gone, but who knows? Maybe Kenny Pickett will lead the Steelers into a new era of just barely failing at things and get yet another top-10 run for this franchise.

Cleveland Browns

1950-1958: Dynasty (7)
1963-1972: Dynasty (49)
1983-1989: Heartbreak (23)
1989-1993: Mediocrity (52)
1995-2021: Anti-Dynasty (1)

Total Dynasty Seasons: 19
Total Anti-Dynasty Seasons: 24
Total Heartbreak Seasons: 7
Total Mediocrity Seasons: 5
Total Qualified Seasons: 54 (of 69; 78.3%)

I have a confession to make. There was a substantial back-and-forth about whether the top anti-dynasty in league history should have been the entirety of the New Browns, or if it should include the final year in Cleveland as well. Basically, are the Old Browns the same team as the New Browns? Or should we consider the Old Browns to be continued in Baltimore and the New Browns their own expansion team? From a player perspective, considering the 1999 team to be an expansion makes more sense. From a fan perspective, considering them the same team makes sense—I don't believe very many Cleveland fans started rooting for the Ravens in 1996. Team "start in 1999" won, and I dutifully changed the run to read 1999-2019 … but I didn't actually change any of the numbers. That's right, you have been staring at Bill Belichick being one of the coaches of the worst anti-dynasty team all this time! Mwa-ha-ha!

Ahem. Anyway, that run is still going. The 2020 playoff appearance gave them one strike, and it looked like things were finally going to clear up, but we require two strikes to end a run, and an 8-9 season last year means that Cleveland isn't quite out of the woods yet. Fortunately, they have Deshaun Watson now, so everything's going to be fine. Right? I mean, I haven't checked the news in about 18 months, so I'm just going to assume everything's going OK there.

Baltimore Ravens

1997-2004: Mediocrity (40)
2008-2012: Dynasty (41)

Total Dynasty Seasons: 5
Total Anti-Dynasty Seasons: 0
Total Heartbreak Seasons: 0
Total Mediocrity Seasons: 8
Total Qualified Season: 13 (of 26; 50.0%)

Yes, the Ravens "mediocrity" era includes the 2000 Super Bowl win, because five of the eight seasons in that streak had between six and nine wins. The Super Bowl win means it's at the bottom of the mediocrity list, and you could argue about whether a title should just automatically clear things out, but it was an April Fool's article that I didn't want to spend an enormous time thinking about, so there you go.

The Ravens are close to adding a heartbreak run here in the Lamar Jackson era; they would have done so had they not suffered every single injury physically possible to suffer last season. With the AFC beginning to pile up contenders, the Ravens might be primed to go on a long heartbreak run here over the next decade.

Cincinnati Bengals

1970-1976: Heartbreak (38)
1970-1974: Mediocrity (57)
1986-1990: Heartbreak (44)
1991-2002: Anti-Dynasty (7)
2003-2007: Mediocrity (41)

Total Dynasty Seasons: 0
Total Anti-Dynasty Seasons: 12
Total Heartbreak Seasons: 7
Total Mediocrity Seasons: 10
Total Qualified Seasons: 22 (of 54; 40.7%)

The Bengals were just about to qualify for another anti-dynasty list last season; even a 7-10 year would have done it. Instead, they went ahead and reached the Super Bowl, which is a pretty solid refutation. It is just one strike, and a 3-14 year in 2022 would be enough to bump the Bengals back into anti-dynasty territory with one weird season mixed in, but suffice it to say I believe that's a long shot at the very least.

And you can see how thin the line between heartbreak and mediocrity is, with the 1970s Bengals scraping the very bottom of each list—38th out of 44 heartbreak teams, 57th out of 60 mediocrity teams. They hovered on the good side of average, and in weaker times in less competitive divisions could have been contenders. It turns out that slamming into the Steelers over and over again, not to mention the other giants that walked the AFC in the 1970s, puts something of a hard cap on your potential! Not quite good enough to avoid the mediocre list, but too good to be forgotten.

AFC South

Indianapolis (Baltimore) Colts

1958-1959: Dynasty (47)
1960-1969: Heartbreak (28)
1964-1971: Dynasty (16)
1978-1986: Anti-Dynasty (14)
1988-1996: Mediocrity (58)
2002-2009: Dynasty (13)
2015-2021: Mediocrity (22)

Total Dynasty Seasons: 18
Total Anti-Dynasty Seasons: 9
Total Heartbreak Seasons: 10
Total Mediocrity Seasons: 15
Total Qualified Seasons: 47 (of 69; 68.1%)

For those playing along at home, the Baltimore Colts generated 29 dynasty points in their two runs; the Indianapolis Colts generated 22. So even though the Indy team was a higher-ranking dynasty, the two Baltimore teams combine to give more glory in general. I'm still giving the Indianapolis Colts top billing because they have been around for longer, but they were technically better in Baltimore, something I'm sure your average Baltimore fan is very respectful about and downplays.

It should be noted that we're only considering the modern Colts, not the version from the AAFC who played one year in the NFL in 1950. Nor are we including the Dallas Texans, whose assets went to the Colts when they folded in 1952, nor the teams that can be variously described as predecessors to the Texans in the New York Yanks, New York Bulldogs, Boston Yanks, Brooklyn Tigers, Brooklyn Dodgers, Newark Tornados, Orange Tornados, or Dayton Triangles. We're just going to close the door on all that nonsense and say the Colts were founded out of nothing in 1953 for the sake of everyone's sanity.

Houston Oilers (Tennessee Titans)

1960-1962: Dynasty (52)
1970-1973: Anti-Dynasty (31)
1981-1986: Anti-Dynasty (15)
1987-1993: Heartbreak (29)
1996-2003: Heartbreak (17)

Total Dynasty Seasons: 3
Total Anti-Dynasty Seasons: 10
Total Heartbreak Seasons: 15
Total Mediocrity Seasons: 0
Total Qualified Seasons: 28 (of 62; 45.2%)

The "Tennessee Titans" have never had a dynasty nor an anti-dynasty, and they share part of their one heartbreak dynasty with the very cursed "Tennessee Oilers." Until they can generate some history of their own, I'm going to keep filing them under the Oilers for purposes of historical importance. Indianapolis has earned its way out of the parentheses for the Colts franchise; the Titans have done no such thing.

And what a strange blank spot in franchise history since the end of the Steve McNair era. It's only in the last three years that the Titans have managed three straight playoff appearances, so they have only now even come close to scratching a dynasty—and even then, it would take an all-time great Super Bowl-winning year to actually qualify in 2022. Jeff Fisher was still mixing in playoff berths with his 9-7 nonsense in the back half of his time in Tennessee, so no mediocrity there. Mike Mularkey was slightly too successful to be average; Mike Munchak was slightly not successful enough. It has been a very weird time to be a fan, and until the franchise gets some clarity about whether it's going to be good or bad or what, they still get to wear the Oilers label.

Jacksonville Jaguars

1996-1999: Heartbreak (43)
2008-2021: Anti-Dynasty (6)

Total Dynasty Seasons: 0
Total Anti-Dynasty Seasons: 14
Total Heartbreak Seasons: 4
Total Mediocrity Seasons: 0
Total Qualified Seasons: 18 (of 27; 66.7%)

The Jaguars' last-place finish in 2021 was enough to vault them from 13th to sixth on the all-time anti-dynasty list as the Urban Meyer era was exactly the sort of quality we want to see in a historically awful run. Another bad season this year likely knocks them over the Aints into the top five, but they'll probably have to keep this up for another five years if they want to take over a podium spot, and they probably won't seriously challenge the Browns for the top spot on the countdown until 2029 or 2030. We believe in you, Duval!

The Byron Leftwich years in the 2000s were too solid yet unspectacular to qualify for any sort of list, as were the end of the Tom Coughlin era and beginning of the Jack Del Rio era. It took Jacksonville a good decade before they realized their true potential of being absolutely terrible at professional football, but they're making up for lost time.

Houston Texans

2002-2006: Anti-Dynasty (30)

Total Dynasty Seasons: 0
Total Anti-Dynasty Seasons: 5
Total Heartbreak Seasons: 0
Total Mediocrity Seasons: 0
Total Qualified Seasons: 5 (of 20, 25.0%)

The Texans are too young to have a history. Being bad as an expansion team is not exactly the single most astonishing piece of historical information we can relay. A bunch of wild-card appearances is enough to keep you off lists of mediocrity, but not enough to vault you into being a team someone must remember; nothing about the Gary Kubiak or Bill O'Brien years deserves to be preserved going forwards. The Texans are new, give them a break.

They're not even all that close to qualifying for a list, either. They'd need to go 1-16 this season to make the anti-dynasty list, as the successful Deshaun Watson years are too close in the rearview mirror at the moment. They're sitting at zero in both dynasty points and heartbreak points. It will be a while before we have to talk about them historically.

AFC West

Oakland (Los Angeles) Raiders

1963-1975: Heartbreak (6)
1967-1977: Dynasty (8)
1980-1985: Dynasty (48)
1986-1999: Mediocrity (4)
1999-2002: Heartbreak (33)
2003-2009: Anti-Dynasty (17)

Total Dynasty Seasons: 17
Total Anti-Dynasty Seasons: 7
Total Heartbreak Seasons: 13
Total Mediocrity Seasons: 14
Total Qualified Seasons: 45 (of 62; 72.6%)

With no seasons qualifying for any list since 2009, much less since the 2020 move to Las Vegas, the Raiders remain, in my heart of hearts, an Oakland team. And, considering their vagabond history, who knows? They might well end up there again one day.

The 1967-1975 overlap of dynasty and heartbreak is one of the most interesting runs for any team—the only point where a top-10 heartbreak team overlaps a top-10 dynasty. We could very easily have been talking about the Silver and Black as the team of the 1970s if it wasn't for those pesky Steelers. It's not a situation like the 1980s Broncos or 1990s Bills where a good team took advantage of a weak conference to get plenty of Super Bowl berths and Super Bowl losses. Nor is it a situation like the 1970s Vikings, who fought their way through tough competition only to repeatedly fall short. The Raiders did eventually come home with a title, but could have had so much more. How greedy do you want to be, as a fan? An open question.

Kansas City Chiefs

1966-1971: Dynasty (15)
1974-1979: Anti-Dynasty (54)
1979-1984: Mediocrity (8)
1989-1999: Heartbreak (12)
1990-1997: Dynasty (37)
1994-2006: Mediocrity (39)
2015-2021: Dynasty (23)

Total Dynasty Seasons: 21
Total Anti-Dynasty Seasons: 6
Total Heartbreak Seasons: 11
Total Mediocrity Seasons: 19
Total Qualified Seasons: 42 (of 62; 67.7%)

The current Chiefs dynasty keeps on ticking despite not winning a Super Bowl since the original 2019 publication of the list. They have climbed from 33rd to 23rd as they begin to claw past teams with just one Super Bowl appearance, although they need a couple more years of quality play before Andy Reid's teams can supplant Hank Stram's for the best run in franchise history. It seems inevitable, though who knows; perhaps Tyreek Hill was the glue holding everything together.

The biggest hole in the Chiefs' resume comes from the Todd Haley/Matt Cassel era, a period of time that Chiefs fans would be just as happy as the rest of us to forget, one would imagine.

Denver Broncos

1960-1972: Anti-Dynasty (9)
1973-1996: Heartbreak (5)
1983-1991: Dynasty (54)
1996-2000: Dynasty (22)
2006-2011: Mediocrity (31)
2011-2015: Dynasty (34)
2016-2021: Mediocrity (47)

Total Dynasty Seasons: 19
Total Anti-Dynasty Seasons: 13
Total Heartbreak Seasons: 24
Total Mediocrity Seasons: 12
Total Qualified Seasons: 57 (of 62, 91.9%)

Nearly the entire Broncos history qualifies for one of the four lists, as they have had the decency to stay in one mode or another for extended periods of time without rapidly switching between winning and losing seasons faster than they can rack up points. In years were they haven't been led by a Griese Plummer, it has been easy to sort the Broncos as good, bad, or bland.

It is interesting how the history of the 20th-century Broncos is one of suffering and heartbreak, while the 21st century has thus far been dominated by years of averageness with a brief Peyton Manning spark to liven things up. They're hopeful that Russell Wilson will bring some of that early 2010s feeling back again, because the Broncos just haven't been as relevant over the past 20 years as they were when they were either Elwaying it up, Orange Crushing it, or just being the absolute worst team in AFL history.

San Diego (Los Angeles) Chargers

1960-1965: Dynasty (32)
1966-1971: Mediocrity (27)
1970-1976: Anti-Dynasty (45)
1977-1982: Heartbreak (27)
1983-1991: Anti-Dynasty (59)
1997-2003: Anti-Dynasty (41)
2004-2010: Heartbreak (16)
2006-2009: Dynasty (51)
2008-2014: Mediocrity (24)

Total Dynasty Seasons: 10
Total Anti-Dynasty Seasons: 23
Total Heartbreak Seasons: 14
Total Mediocrity Seasons: 13
Total Qualified Seasons: 50 (of 62; 80.6%)

There's something very sad about the 1970s and 1980s Chargers. They go straight from an anti-dynasty (albeit a small one) into the heartbreak of the Dan Fouts years, and then straight into another anti-dynasty (albeit a small one). Chargers fans of that era may be uniquely qualified to answer the question of which is worse—being terrible, or being good but ultimately falling short.

The Chargers haven't qualified for a list since their move (back) to Los Angeles, with the Justin Herbert era looking like it will keep them off the anti-dynasty list for the foreseeable future. They do have a Los Angeles year represented here, though, as the franchise played there for one season in 1960, reaching the AFL Championship Game. The best team of the very early, not-yet-NFL level AFL gives Los Angeles just the tiniest bit of representation in Chargers history.

NFC East

Dallas Cowboys

1960-1964: Anti-Dynasty (49)
1966-1985: Dynasty (4)
1978-1985: Heartbreak (32)
1991-1996: Dynasty (10)
2003-2021: Heartbreak (11)
2005-2013: Mediocrity (29)

Total Dynasty Seasons: 26
Total Anti-Dynasty Seasons: 5
Total Heartbreak Seasons: 27
Total Mediocrity Seasons: 9
Total Qualified Seasons: 50 (out of 62; 80.6%)

With Dallas falling short in the playoffs yet again this last season, they finally reached a point where they have more heartbreak seasons than dynasty seasons, something unthinkable after so many years of tremendous success between Tom Landy and Jimmy Johnson. Another year like 2021 and they'll have a top-10 heartbreak dynasty to go along with their two top-10 dynasties as they try to do nothing by half-measures.

Kyler Murray once said that he was never a Cowboys fan growing up because, quote, "they were always ass." The numbers don't really back that up, unless Murray is secretly 65 years old. The Cowboys of Murray's childhood were certainly not great, and no one looks back at the Dave Campo era fondly, but there are a lot of fans in a lot of cities who have more to complain about than poor Dallas fans.

Philadelphia Eagles

1933-1942: Anti-Dynasty (13)
1947-1949: Dynasty (18)
1967-1977: Anti-Dynasty (24)
1978-1981: Heartbreak (36)
1988-1996: Heartbreak (31)
1993-1997: Mediocrity (35)
2000-2006: Dynasty (38)
2000-2014: Heartbreak (3)
2007-2011: Mediocrity (60)
2015-2021: Mediocrity (32)

Total Dynasty Seasons: 10
Total Anti-Dynasty Seasons: 21
Total Heartbreak Seasons: 28
Total Mediocrity Seasons: 17
Total Qualified Seasons: 60 (out of 89; 67.4%)

I will never get over the 1943 Steagles somehow being good enough to break up anti-dynasties for both the Eagles and Steelers. Take two of the worst teams in the league and join them together, and give them two coaches who hate each other so much that they split roles (with one coaching offense and the other defense in the era before free substitution), and you somehow get a 5-4-1 team out of it? No. No, that is nonsense, 1940s football, stop it.

In a world with wild-card berths and more than two playoff teams, the Eagles' 1940s dynasty might stretch all the way back to those Steagles teams, but 7-1-2 just didn't cut it during wartime football. The Eagles are also one of the rare teams with multiple championships not being grouped as part of a dynasty, with both 1960 and 2017 standing alone without extended runs of success around them.

New York Giants

1925-1930: Dynasty (30)
1933-1935: Dynasty (53)
1938-1946: Dynasty (39)
1939-1946: Heartbreak (20)
1952-1957: Mediocrity (49)
1956-1963: Dynasty (31)
1957-1963: Heartbreak (8)
1965-1972: Mediocrity (51)
1971-1983: Anti-Dynasty (25)
2006-2013: Mediocrity (38)
2017-2021: Anti-Dynasty (46)

Total Dynasty Seasons: 26
Total Anti-Dynasty Seasons: 18
Total Heartbreak Seasons: 6
Total Mediocrity Seasons: 16
Total Qualified Seasons: 62 (out of 97; 63.9%)

Welcome to the anti-dynasty list, New York! The Giants' 4-13 finish in 2021 officially gets them onto the list with 36 anti-dynasty points as the Pat Shurmur and Joe Judge eras have gone quite poorly. With the Jets in the middle of an anti-dynasty of their own, this is the second time in history where both New York teams have been in the middle of terrible runs, with 2017-2021 joining 1971-1977 as the eras of just terrible Big Apple football. We'd argue about which era was worse for New York fans, but that's a false choice—most people aren't fans of both the Giants AND Jets, so the worst era to be a fan of either team is when you stink and the other team is really good. Should that ever happen, we'll let you know.

The Bill Parcells-era teams do not qualify for the dynasty list because they missed the playoffs in both 1987 and 1988. Even if they had made the playoffs at 10-6 in 1988, it still would have counted as a break because they were second in their division behind the Eagles. Win one more game in 1988, playoffs or no playoffs, and they would have qualified for the dynasty list. Add in the choppiness of the pre-war dynasties from the lack of playoff spots available at the time and the Giants probably get screwed over by our system more than any other franchise.

Washington Redskins (Football Team)

1940-1945: Dynasty (50)
1946-1953: Mediocrity (48)
1957-1970: Anti-Dynasty (29)
1962-1970: Mediocrity (20)
1969-1981: Heartbreak (14)
1975-1981: Mediocrity (23)
1982-1987: Dynasty (35)
1996-2002: Mediocrity (9)
2015-2021: Mediocrity (34)

Total Dynasty Seasons: 12
Total Anti-Dynasty Seasons: 14
Total Heartbreak Seasons: 13
Total Mediocrity Seasons: 31
Total Qualified Seasons: 58 (out of 90; 64.4%)

Washington hasn't had a dynasty, anti-dynasty, or heartbreak era since the 1980s. They haven't been terrible, which is a plus, but they haven't done anything of real note since before the majority of NFL fans were born, which makes me feel very old all of a sudden. The mediocrity rankings are something of a joke, albeit a thoroughly researched one. And all Washington has managed to do for the last 35 years is score highly as a joke. That's less than ideal, that!

The 2003-2014 era, with Joe Gibbs and Mike Shanahan, at least occasionally approached qualifying for something. Gibbs made the playoffs twice in his somewhat ill-fated return to coaching, and it looked for a year or so there like the Robert Griffin III era was going to shine before his knee went to shreds. But they could never put together anything for long enough to get out of the doldrums.

NFC North

Green Bay Packers

1926-1931: Dynasty (12)
1935-1944: Dynasty (9)
1948-1958: Anti-Dynasty (10)
1960-1967: Dynasty (3)
1968-1974: Mediocrity (26)
1973-1980: Anti-Dynasty (52)
1978-1985: Mediocrity (14)
1993-1998: Dynasty (27)
2009-2016: Dynasty (29)
2019-2021: Heartbreak (34)

Total Dynasty Seasons: 38
Total Anti-Dynasty Seasons: 19
Total Heartbreak Seasons: 3
Total Mediocrity Seasons: 15
Total Qualified Seasons: 70 (out of 101; 69.3%)

The Packers are one of two teams with five separate dynasty runs, though you could make arguments that various smoothing techniques could be used to group the two pre-war squads together. The Packers have the highest average DVOA for any team that existed before 1960; they would be my pick for the most successful franchise in NFL history despite the Ravens and Cowboys having higher averages in significantly shorter periods of time.

That 2019-2021 heartbreak dynasty may go away if the Packers can cash in on their Super Bowl window before Aaron Rodgers retires. Even if it doesn't, the Packers look very likely to add a sixth dynasty period in the next couple of seasons. Winning the NFC North this year would be enough by itself to get the Matt LaFleur Packers past the 10-point threshold needed, as would some kind of crazy 14-3 wild-card season. At the very least, they seem likely to get their sixth dynasty before their biggest rivals…

Chicago Bears (Decatur Staleys)

1920-1926: Dynasty (24)
1922-1931: Heartbreak (30)
1932-1934: Dynasty (33)
1940-1943: Dynasty (5)
1946-1950: Dynasty (26)
1966-1971: Mediocrity (55)
1969-1975: Anti-Dynasty (33)
1976-1983: Mediocrity (7)
1984-1991: Dynasty (21)
2005-2013: Heartbreak (26)
2007-2013: Mediocrity (12)

Total Dynasty Seasons: 27
Total Anti-Dynasty Seasons: 7
Total Heartbreak Seasons: 9
Total Mediocrity Seasons: 13
Total Qualified Seasons: 59 (out of 102; 57.8%)

The Bears are the other team with five separate dynasty runs, although four of them came before 1950. You could argue that they should get a pass for the World War II break to group the two 1940s dynasties together, as that was sort of an unprecedented gap in league continuity as a whole, but since the league kept playing, we have to treat those seasons as if they actually happened. Which they did.

The Bears are not likely to beat the Packers to their sixth dynasty. They had a couple points from some wild-card berths in the Matt Nagy era, but those have been reset to zero by recent struggles. They'll have to just take solace that they haven't been truly awful as frequently as the Packers have.

Minnesota Vikings

1968-1980: Dynasty (17)
1968-1982: Heartbreak (1)
1978-1987: Mediocrity (18)
1986-2000: Heartbreak (10)
1991-1997: Mediocrity (17)
2003-2007: Mediocrity (21)
2014-2021: Mediocrity (33)

Total Dynasty Seasons: 13
Total Anti-Dynasty Seasons: 0
Total Heartbreak Seasons: 30
Total Mediocrity Seasons: 30
Total Qualified Seasons: 47 (out of 61; 77.0%)

Thirty years of heartbreak, thirty years of mediocrity: the Minnesota Vikings story. It's pretty nice to be a fan of a team that has never been bad for an extended period of time ever, yeah? It just would be nice if, you know, you eventually won a title out of it. Just one. Just an idea.

Those 21st century mediocrity runs nearly qualify for the heartbreak table themselves, with each getting more than 300 of the required 400 points to be ranked. If they had been just a little bit better in the Mike Zimmer or Mike Tice eras, they would have enough heartbreak seasons that they would never, ever be caught. As it stands, just three decades of pain? Pfft. Rub some dirt on it, guys.

Detroit Lions

1946-1949: Anti-Dynasty (39)
1952-1954: Dynasty (36)
1971-1985: Mediocrity (2)
1984-1990: Anti-Dynasty (53)
1994-2000: Mediocrity (25)
2001-2015: Anti-Dynasty (11)
2013-2017: Mediocrity (19)

Total Dynasty Seasons: 3
Total Anti-Dynasty Seasons: 26
Total Heartbreak Seasons: 0
Total Mediocrity Seasons: 27
Total Qualified Seasons: 51 (out of 92; 55.4%)

Three years of being really good in the 1950s and nothing to show from it since. At least they have titles—legitimate world titles, not like the Vikings' 1969 NFL title which they couldn't defend in the Super Bowl. That gets harder and harder to wave as a triumphant point as it fades further and further into history, mind you, and the Lions would really like to have the opportunity to win a Super Bowl at some point, please.

The Lions do not have any years qualifying as the Portsmouth Spartans, although they come close to a heartbreak run in the very early 1930s; the 1935 title ends up wiping that out before any long-term harm could be done. Both the 1935 and 1957 titles hang out there entirely unconnected to anything; the Lions might have a couple more dynasties to speak of had there been full playoffs back in ye olden days. They, uh, haven't really pressed for one since the merger.

NFC South

New Orleans Saints

1967-1986: Anti-Dynasty (5)
1982-1990: Mediocrity (10)
1994-2001: Anti-Dynasty (51)
2001-2008: Mediocrity (13)
2009-2013: Dynasty (46)
2012-2016: Mediocrity (28)
2017-2020: Dynasty (20)
2017-2021: Heartbreak (21)

Total Dynasty Seasons: 9
Total Anti-Dynasty Seasons: 28
Total Heartbreak Seasons: 5
Total Mediocrity Seasons: 22
Total Qualified Seasons: 52 (out of 55; 94.5%)

The 2017-2020 Saints qualify as our newest dynasty with a 31.6% DVOA over those four seasons rivalling any other four-year stretch in the history of the league. Every other team that has been that good for that long has won at least one title, and usually several. The Saints haven't even reached the Super Bowl. That might call for a rule change if and when we ever run the full dynasty list again, but it was at least the final straw for deciding to run the heartbreak dynasties, as it's amazing that a team could be that good for an extended period of time without any hardware to show for it.

The only three Saints seasons that don't qualify for at least one countdown are the 1991-1993 Jim Mora years, as they slowly declined from the best years of the Dome Patrol back towards being a league doormat. They are the only team in the NFC South to have a dynasty, and they only picked one up in 2009. When realignment happened in 2002, the South was very much an "and the rest!" division.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

1976-1980: Anti-Dynasty (27)
1983-1996: Anti-Dynasty (3)
1995-2003: Mediocrity (44)
2011-2019: Anti-Dynasty (43)

Total Dynasty Seasons: 0
Total Anti-Dynasty Seasons: 28
Total Heartbreak Seasons: 0
Total Mediocrity Seasons: 9
Total Qualified Seasons: 35 (out of 46; 76.1%)

The Buccaneers' time as mid-tier contenders in the early 1980s was surprising at the time and astonishing in retrospect, as John McKay turned some of the worst teams of all time into something almost respectable … before falling down and once again becoming some of the worst teams of all time. No heartbreak years, no dynasty years; just eras of terrible football punctuated by surprising titles.

The Buccaneers could pick up the first dynasty in franchise history this season with three or more points. That would require either a trip to the Super Bowl (win or lose) or going 14-3 and winning the NFC South. The Super Bowl trip is the more likely of the two.

Atlanta Falcons

1966-1970: Anti-Dynasty (19)
1977-1983: Mediocrity (15)
1983-1997: Anti-Dynasty (26)
2008-2012: Heartbreak (40)
2015-2019: Mediocrity (37)

Total Dynasty Seasons: 0
Total Anti-Dynasty Seasons: 20
Total Heartbreak Seasons: 5
Total Mediocrity Seasons: 12
Total Qualified Seasons: 36 (out of 56; 64.3%)

There were a couple points in the 2010s where the Falcons could have put enough successful years to generate a dynasty, but there's just no easy way to link the Mike Smith and Dan Quinn years together without a lot of handwaving and tap dancing; it's not like the Falcons fired Smith because things were going well. They're not in any danger of putting together an anti-dynasty anytime soon; they're actually eligible for an anti-dynasty in 2022, though it would take an 0-17 season to get there.

That's a pretty big gap between 1998 and 2007 with Dan Reeves and Jim Mora at the helm. The 1998 Super Bowl run is enough to clear off an anti-dynasty, but it wasn't followed up with any success—they didn't have another year with a winning record until 2002. If we do "most unexpected seasons" in a future list, you can bet the Dirty Bird Falcons will have a real shot at the top spot.

Carolina Panthers

1997-2009: Mediocrity (16)
2003-2009: Heartbreak (37)
2013-2017: Heartbreak (39)

Total Dynasty Seasons: 0
Total Anti-Dynasty Seasons: 0
Total Heartbreak Seasons: 12
Total Mediocrity Seasons: 13
Total Qualified Seasons: 18 (out of 26; 69.2%)

What makes a franchise turn neutral? Lust for gold? Power? Or were they just born with a heart full of neutrality?

The Panthers are the only franchise without a dynasty or an anti-dynasty to talk about; they have been mired in a state of blandness for the vast majority of their existence, rarely putting even two good or bad seasons together. That may end this year, as a 3-14 season would be enough to give them their very first anti-dynasty. That's a tall ask, but if anyone can do it, it's Sam Darnold … which is why Carolina traded for Baker Mayfield shortly before this was published.

NFC West

San Francisco 49ers

1956-1962: Mediocrity (11)
1968-1972: Heartbreak (42)
1973-1980: Anti-Dynasty (55)
1981-1998: Dynasty (2)
2003-2010: Anti-Dynasty (20)
2011-2014: Heartbreak (18)
2015-2018: Anti-Dynasty (48)
2019-2021: Heartbreak (41)

Total Dynasty Seasons: 18
Total Anti-Dynasty Seasons: 20
Total Heartbreak Seasons: 12
Total Mediocrity Seasons: 7
Total Qualified Seasons: 57 (out of 72; 79.2%)

The 49ers dynasty lost a couple points when it turned out the 1981 Super Bowl team wasn't quite as good as estimated, but they're still a very solid second place behind Bill Belichick's Patriots. They have never come close to matching it, of course, but it's a bit interesting how they have flopped between absolutely terrible runs and painfully close runs since realignment in 2002. Definitely hasn't been annoying to be a fan of the team in this era, nope, not even a little bit.

And because they didn't either win the NFC West or go to the Super Bowl last year, the 2019 Shanahan Super Bowl team can't possibly be part of a dynasty, either, even if the Trey Lance team ends up winning the next 20 Super Bowls in a row. The injury-plagued 2020 season, plus a runner-up finish in 2021, counts as two strikes in the same way the Patriots run ended despite earning a wild-card berth last season. To be a dynasty, you have to be the best team in your division, and the Rams simply blocked the 49ers out last season.

Seattle Seahawks

1978-1991: Mediocrity (3)
1998-2007: Heartbreak (25)
2003-2007: Dynasty (57)
2012-2016: Dynasty (11)

Total Dynasty Seasons: 10
Total Anti-Dynasty Seasons: 0
Total Heartbreak Seasons: 10
Total Mediocrity Seasons: 14
Total Qualified Seasons: 29 (out of 46; 63.0%)

The AFC Seahawks end up as almost a complete afterthought on these lists, never being good enough or bad enough for any extended period of time to really matter. It's not until they rejoin the NFC West in 2002 that they really start racking up relevant seasons, first with the Shaun Alexander years and then with the Legion of Boom and the DVOA Dynasty.

They are technically right on the cusp of an active heartbreak dynasty, which would start from them not handing Marshawn Lynch the ball against the Patriots, but with Russell Wilson out of town, it seems unlikely they'll actually generate enough points to qualify any time soon.

Los Angeles (St. Louis) Rams

1949-1952: Dynasty (19)
1959-1965: Anti-Dynasty (57)
1966-1980: Heartbreak (2)
1973-1980: Dynasty (25)
1983-1989: Heartbreak (35)
1990-1998: Anti-Dynasty (34)
1999-2003: Dynasty (45)
2002-2006: Mediocrity (54)
2005-2016: Anti-Dynasty (12)
2010-2015: Mediocrity (45)

Total Dynasty Seasons: 17
Total Anti-Dynasty Seasons: 28
Total Heartbreak Seasons: 22
Total Mediocrity Seasons: 11
Total Qualified Seasons: 60 (out of 84; 71.4%)

The Rams started out in Cleveland, but they don't actually show up as relevant at all until after they move to Los Angeles in 1946; one playoff berth and a .405 winning percentage is not typically going to gather you a ton of plaudits or acclaim in one direction or the other. Besides, by the time the Rams left, Cleveland had another team to start caring about, one that was winning titles and would never let them down.

The current Rams have all but clinched a dynasty; they need one more point next season, so any playoff berth would be enough to take care of that. The NFC West is tough, but it seems unlikely it will be that tough to the point where the defending Super Bowl champs will be staying home in January.

Chicago (St. Louis) (Phoenix) (Arizona) Cardinals

1926-1945: Anti-Dynasty (4)
1950-1959: Anti-Dynasty (23)
1985-2006: Anti-Dynasty (2)
1993-2001: Mediocrity (59)
2007-2011: Mediocrity (56)

Total Dynasty Seasons: 0
Total Anti-Dynasty Seasons: 52
Total Heartbreak Seasons: 0
Total Mediocrity Seasons: 14
Total Qualified Seasons: 57 (out of 102; 55.9%)

No matter who you are, no matter what you do, no matter how badly you do a thing, at least take some solace in the fact that you are better at your job than the Cardinals have historically been at theirs.

One hundred and two seasons with no dynasties and no heartbreak stretches. That seems impossible, but it's true—the Cardinals have never, ever been even halfway decent for an extended period of time. A curse of the stolen 1925 championship? Karmic punishment for leaving Chicago for the money in 1960? Or are they just really impossibly bad at building professional football teams? Your guess is as good as mine.

Other Franchises

1920-1922: Columbus Panhandles Anti-Dynasty (56)
1920-1926: Hammond Pros Anti-Dynasty (58)
1921-1923: Canton Bulldogs Dynasty (14)
1921-1925: Rochester Jeffersons Anti-Dynasty (36)
1921-1930: Minneapolis Marines/Red Jackets Anti-Dynasty (50)
1922-1926: Buffalo All-Americans/Bisons/Rangers Mediocrity (53)
1923-1929: Dayton Triangles Anti-Dynasty (40)
1924-1928: Frankford Yellow Jackets Dynasty (56)
1925-1931: Providence Steam Roller Mediocrity (30)
1931-1939: Brooklyn Dodgers Anti-Dynasty (37)
1942-1945: Brooklyn Dodgers/Tigers Anti-Dynasty (38)
1944-1948: Boston Yanks Anti-Dynasty (45)

Total Dynasty Seasons: 8
Total Anti-Dynasty Seasons: 41
Total Mediocrity Seasons: 12
Total Heartbreak Seasons: 0
Total Qualified Seasons: 61 (out of 177; 34.4%)

There were a lot of teams in NFL history which no longer exist. The vast majority of them made zero impact on the league and its history. No one mourns the Tonawanda Kardex.

Active Points

Here are the active dynasty, anti-dynasty, and heartbreak points as we enter the 2022 season. Remember that a team needs 10 dynasty points, 30 anti-dynasty points, or 400 heartbreak points to qualify for the rankings.

Active Historical Points
Team Dynasty Anti-Dynasty Heartbreak
ARI 1 0 58.2
ATL 0 15 0
BAL 2 1 389.3
BUF 6 0 399.1
CAR 0 21 0
CHI 0 5 115.8
CIN 3 20 207.6
CLE 0 90 77.5
DAL 2 0 782.7
DEN 0 21 0
DET 0 28 0
GB 8 0 445.4
HOU 0 16 0
IND 0 0 176.9
JAX 0 78 0
KC 17 0 0
LAC 0 7 23.3
LAR 9 0 0
LV 1 0 31.6
MIA 0 0 39.8
MIN 0 3 0
NE 1 0 0
NO 8 0 632.2
NYG 0 36 0
NYJ 0 42 0
PHI 1 6 0
PIT 2 0 545.4
SEA 0 3 390.1
SF 1 0 414.3
TB 7 0 0
TEN 4 0 285.6
WAS 0 19 6.0

The Rams qualify for a dynasty with any playoff berth this year. The Packers need to win the NFC North outright or have some sort of insane 14-win wild-card season. The Buccaneers must either reach the Super Bowl or win 14 games and the NFC South. The Bills must either win the Super Bowl or have a 14-win season leading to a Super Bowl loss. The Titans must have a 14-win season that ends with a Super Bowl victory. Everyone else will have to wait at least one more season before they can qualify.

The Lions qualify for an anti-dynasty with a 7-10 season or worse. The Broncos, Panthers, or Bengals qualify with a 3-14 season or worse. The Commanders qualify with a 2-15 season or worse. The Texans qualify with a 1-16 season or worse. The Falcons qualify with an 0-17 season. Everyone else would have to wait a year before they could pick up an anti-dynasty.

Heartbreak dynasties are a little harder to qualify, as they depend on the size of your playoff loss as well as your win-loss record and eventual DVOA, plus there's the issue of weighting which makes things even more complicated. But nearly any winning season for the Bills, Seahawks, or Ravens would surely see them over that 400-point barrier. It's tough to see any other team pulling it off in 2022, though if the Titans or Bengals end up losing the Super Bowl, they'll at least have a strong argument. Anyone else would have to be historically good and lose in the Super Bowl to have a chance.


20 comments, Last at 11 Jul 2022, 2:30pm

1 1950-1958: Dynasty (7)1963…

1950-1958: Dynasty (7)
1963-1972: Dynasty (49)
1983-1989: Heartbreak (23)
1989-1993: Mediocrity (52)
1995-2021: Anti-Dynasty (1)

Even speaking as a Lions fan, that's a horrific slide for a fanbase to experience.

If a gaping chasm opened up beneath... FirstEnergy (seriously?) Stadium and Satan himself came forth and brought about the end times... would that be a step up or a step down?

Nor are we including the Dallas Texans, whose assets went to the Colts when they folded in 1952, nor the teams that can be variously described as predecessors to the Texans in the New York Yanks, New York Bulldogs, Boston Yanks, Brooklyn Tigers, Brooklyn Dodgers, Newark Tornados, Orange Tornados, or Dayton Triangles. We're just going to close the door on all that nonsense and say the Colts were founded out of nothing in 1953 for the sake of everyone's sanity.

Triangle man hates person man
They have a fight, triangle wins
Triangle man

the Lions would really like to have the opportunity to win a Super Bowl at some point, please.

I'd be happy with an opportunity to lose a Super Bowl.

2 That years can get double…

That years can get double-counted seems to be a problem. A franchise could conceivably have more than 100% of their seasons on one of the lists.

Basically, you're Steagles-ing dynasties.

4 Even with the possible…

Even with the possible double counting (I think only HB and dynasty can overlap much), most teams only have ~60% qualification for ANY list so not sure it's an issue. I suppose you could say you can't start a HB dynasty till any active dynasty ends although that feels artificial and the championship penalties cover it pretty well. 

I think for the percentages Bryan is just adding up the seasons and comparing to the total seasons the team was around, so I suspect the number of qualifying seasons for most teams is actually closer to 50% rather than high 60s due to the overlap. I guess you could say the normal mode for the NFL is to have short periods of good and bad, but rarely be any one thing consistently for a long time. 

Currently, NE is furthest from any type of dynasty although that is due to one just ending, Vikings would be next. 

8 The one that jumped out to…

The one that jumped out to me was the Saints, where something like 9 of their 55 total seasons played are double-counted dynasty years.

They have more double-dynasty seasons than the Texans have dynasty years of any kind! And it's approaching the same rate!

10 Vikings win that actually,…

Vikings win that actually,(maybe not % wise), but they they had 13 double seasons from 1968 to 1980. 

A possible change to the dynasty list would be to require any dynasty to include a championship. 

15 Nice. 3 different lists is…

Nice. 3 different lists is pretty tough however. Kinda curious how often that happens, seems like maintaining the dynasty and mediocrity at the same time would be a very fine line. Probably a string of like 9-7 wc berths or something. 

18 It is very rare, and mostly…

It is very rare, and mostly come from the addition of the "mediocrity" April Fools article.

Balancing heartbreak and dynastyness is easy -- keep getting playoff berths, win a lot of games, lose Super Bowls, and you're set.  

Where triple overlaps happen is generally speaking when the dynasty is sputtering to a stop -- the last couple runt years as your great era of players slowly age out or leave the team.  It's quite possible for a couple 9-7 years with wildcard berths to be appended to the end of a dynasty run before it collapses completely.  Those 9-7 years can also be the start of a mediocrity run, if you collapse down 7-9ish rather than 4-12ish.  This can also happen in reverse, with a few 9-7 wildcard years being the first steps before a team starts winning divisions on a regular basis.  That's where the triple overlaps can happen -- when those coincidences line up with a heartbreak dynasty.

I believe the complete list of overlaps are:

The 1957 Giants
The 1978-80 Vikings
The 1992-93 Steelers
The 1994-97 Chiefs
The 2008-09 Chargers

3 I guess you need an…

I guess you need an inconsistent dynasty to bridge the gaps. :) Although that's really just another type of mediocrity. 

Looks like the Bengals(really, the texans, but their history is to short) have the most seasons that don't qualify for any list, since they are only at 40%. (Most teams are over 50%, looks like the average is in the 60s). 

You may want to adjust the win loss thresholds for 17 game seasons (or just wait for 18, since it's easier), but yeah, that does make the win/loss thresholds wonky. 

It might be interesting to look at super bowl winners that wern't part of a dynasty, since they don't qualify for any list.   2017 Eagles looks the like most recent via eyeball test, that's excluding ones that are active but havn't qualified yet like LAR and TB) NYG may actually get 2. Maybe call it the Eli list.  

Nice to see all the info in one place. 

5 The really interesting …

The really interesting (recent) one is the '08 Steelers who aren't on any dynasty list. The '17 Eagles, '11 and '07 Giants, '02 Bucs and '00 Ravens are all in Mediocrity dynasties, which is interesting.

But the '08 Steelers were just hung off the end of the dynasty because fractions suck, and they're nowhere near a stretch of mediocrity.

edit: to be clear, the 'fractions suck' part is because the Steelers dynasty ended in '05 because 10/16 is less than 0.643.

6 Right. I forgot you could…

Right. I forgot you could win a championship in a mediocrity dynasty. (I  was thinking it ended them due to the way they end HB dynasties). Nice find.  But yeah, champion ships in mediocrity dynasties (or nothing as the previous poster mentioned) would be interesting. 

What the '08 Steelers did was end their dynasty at 2005, won again in 2008 but didn't rack up enough points to qualify for a dynasty, were too good to qualify for a mediocrity dynasty but had any nacent HB dynasty killed by the championship penalty. 

2007 +1 Dynasty point (WC exit)

2008: +5 dynasty points (won SB)

2009: -2 dynasty points I think

2010:  +3 (lost SB)

2011: +1 (lost WC)

Pair of 8-8 seasons kills it. 

So they finish with...8 points and don't qualify.  Way to good for mediocrity as only one of those seasons had single digit wins even and the championship penalty wipes a HB dynasty. They didn't really come out of nowhere.  More like being high variance as they either made the super bowl (1-1) or lost in the WC round or even failed to make the playoffs. Basicly, when they wern't making the super bowl they were worse than teams typically are. (Generally teams tend to have later round playoff losses before or after a championship). 



11 The Steelers dynasty ending…

The Steelers dynasty ending in 2005 is because of 2007, and it's kindof hilarious: the Steelers almost certainly would've finished 11-5 and continued the dynasty, except they rested Roethlisberger, Ward, and others versus the 4-11 Ravens. And they only barely lost that game.

They rested starters since they were in the playoffs either way and didn't care about getting the #3 seed, which is a bit of a surprising choice given that it ended up being the difference between the Titans (+4 point diff, 11th in DVOA) and the Jaguars (+107 point diff, 3rd in DVOA)... and it kinda bit them in the face since the Jaguars bounced them in Steelers-fan controversial fashion.

16 Yeah, but not many of them…

Yeah, but not many of them do it by choice.

The Steelers gambled on a higher risk/higher reward path - if they had won the WC game, they'd be in a much better position to make the Super Bowl with healthier starters. So they lowered their odds on winning the WC game to boost their odds for a Super Bowl victory. The '07 Steelers absolutely could have continued the dynasty, they were totally a good enough team to do that. It was just a strategic choice that backfired (at least in my opinion).

17 I admit they made an…

I admit they made an interesting decision though.  Rest starters and face a team with a worse record but better stats (point diff and DVOA for example) or go for it and draw the team with the better record but worse stats (point diff and DVOA). Still, a coaches almost never make that decision bc they don't rest they get blamed, but if the do, the players get blamed. 

7 '20 Tampa isn't on any of…

'20 Tampa isn't on any of the lists either, right?

Looks like the Bengals(really, the texans, but their history is to short) have the most seasons that don't qualify for any list, since they are only at 40%

I think it's Cardinals, then Bears, then Lions.

The Titanic Oilers are ahead of the Bungles even for nascent franchises, at 34 vs 32 years.

\something about the upper midwest fills a team's heart with mediocrity.
\\perhaps it has something to do with all the lakes, and the woebegone. 

9 Last years Rams arn't either…

Last years Rams arn't either. Both have active nascent dynasties. All the lists have multi-seasons smoothing so it doesn't really for for really recent teams. The Bucs had an anti-dynasty going till brady arrived. (pretty common I think with QB upgrades)

Saints are the only team with potential to have active dynasty and HB dynasty although them getting the last 2 dynasty points with no Payton or Bree's seems like a long shot. Two more WC exits would do it, but they basicly have to make the playoffs the next two years since a miss in either would end the dynasty. Playoff expansion to the rescue I guess. 


Actually GB has the best shot at an active dynasty+HB dynasty.  They basicly need to get past the first round the playoffs(or earn a bye), or win 14+ games. Two more years of WC exits would do it also, so this one is pretty locked in I think . Pretty much the only way they don't have both going is if they miss the playoffs or win a championship.  I suppose the former is slightly more likely. 

19 My rough plan, assuming I…

My rough plan, assuming I keep writing these forever and ever, is to wait until there's a significant chunk of 17/18-game seasons and 14 (16?)-team playoffs, and then recalibrate the dynasties based on that -- just seeing how teams develop and change as the format of the league changes.  You're absolutely right, though, in that win-loss thresholds and playoff cutoffs are difficult to manage across multiple eras!


As for Super Bowl winners not part of a dynasty, that might be an interesting thing to look at in terms of one-off teams -- teams that were unusually good (or bad!).  One-Hit Wonder type teams.  That's a potential future list.

20 Broncos and Saints

Interesting (well, MILDLY) that they are so far in front in terms of qualifying season % compared to everyone else, and in completely different ways.  Broncos get over 90% led by dynasties and heartbreaks, while the Saints get there led by anti-dynasties and mediocrity.

If I wasn't so lazy (hint, hint, for someone else :) ) I'd like to see the numbers without the Mediocracy element.  What teams have spent the highest or lowest % of their history as really good and/or train-wreck bad?  Ignore the mediocre and the so-boring they don't even count as mediocre years and which fan base has had the most to be engaged with?  I'm guessing Vikings or Broncos.