It’s almost inconceivable that the same franchise that endured the football equivalent of a nuclear winter during the days of Rod Rust and Dick MacPherson can claim the NFL’s historical high ground with a win in Super Bowl LI next Sunday. History is written by the victors, and the Patriots head to Houston to face the Atlanta Falcons with their pens poised.
Winners of four Super Bowls since the 2001 season, the Bill Belichick-Tom Brady Patriots are already recognized among the great houses in NFL history. But if they lift the Lombardi Trophy for a fifth time they’re the greatest dynasty in modern NFL history — the best combination of longevity, consistency, and championship jewelry, forged in the era with the highest degree of difficulty.
The D-word, dynasty, being thrown around in a sports setting is anathema to some. It is to be revered and reserved for teams whose excellence spans both decades and double digits, such as the New York Yankees, UCLA basketball, and the Red Auerbach/Bill Russell Celtics.
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