Two More Wins and ’04-’10 Steelers Officially a Dynasty

In modern-era NFL history, any team with three Super Bowl wins within a decade gets classified as a dynasty. The Packers of the 60s (who get credit for the first two Super Bowl wins and three NFL titles in the five years before that), the Steelers of the 70s, the 49ers of the 80s, the Cowboys of the 90s, and the Patriots of the 2000s are all recognized as such.

With a victory over the New York Jets in the AFC Championship game tomorrow, and another Super Bowl title in two weeks, the 2004-’10 Steelers would also become a dynasty, ranking behind the ’01-’07 Patriots statistically, but still more worthy of the dynasty tag.

Within that seven-year stretch, Pittsburgh would have on its resume:

– 3 Super Bowl titles
– 4 Appearances in AFC Championship game
– 5 Appearances in the AFC playoffs
– 0 Losing seasons
– A 15-1 regular season that did not include a Super Bowl title

Memo to ESPN’s Tom Jackson: The Patriots dynasty of the 2000s is over. New England has not won a playoff game since 2007 and has not won a Super Bowl since 2004. In fact, only seven current Patriots (QB Tom Brady, RB Kevin Faulk, DLs Vince Wilfork and Ty Warren, and OL Dan Koppen, Matt Light and Stephen Neal) have continuously been with the franchise since their last Super Bowl title.

This means that even if New England wins the Lombardi trophy in 2011 season, it would be with a new group of players and that does not count toward their 2000s dynasty. (Much like the 1994 Super Bowl champion 49ers did not count toward that franchise’s 1980s dynasty.)

In contrast, the Steelers had 13 players on their opening-day 22-man starting lineup this season, who have continuously been with the Steelers since the current group won its first Super Bowl title in the 2005 season (QB Ben Roethlisberger, WR Hines Ward, TE Heath Miller, OL Trai EssexChris Kemoeatu, and Max Starks, DLs Casey HamptonBrett Keisel, and Aaron Smith, LBs James Harrison and James Farrior, and DBs Troy Polamalu and Ike Taylor).

Now, let’s compare this current, soon-to-be Steelers dynasty to the ’01-’07 Patriots, who are the only other franchise deemed a dynasty in the post-free-agency era. The ’01-’07 Patriots had on its resume:

– 3 Super Bowl titles ***
– 4 Appearances in the Super Bowl ***
– 6 Appearances in the AFC playoffs *****
– 0 Losing seasons
– A 16-0 regular season that did not include a Super Bowl title

While not by much, it is clear that the ’01-’07 Patriots tallied a better statistical resume than the ’04-’10 Steelers, even if Pittsburgh wins its seventh franchise Lombardi trophy this year. But why are all those asterisks above?

Because if this was college football, none of those New England titles would remain in the record books; they were earned through cheating. Remember Spygate? It is a huge advantage when you illegally film another team’s walk-through practices. Anyone who argues this did not provide a huge advantage for the Patriots knows little about football.

I never will forget Hines Ward saying, after New England upset the Steelers in the 2001 AFC Championship game, that it was like the Patriots knew every play Pittsburgh was going to run before the ball was snapped.

Most people, including myself, assumed that was because New England coach Bill Belichick was a genius. But really it was because he was a successful cheater. Tonya Harding, Ben Johnson, SMU football and Belichick are all of similar character (or complete lackthereof).

The only reasons Belichick did not receive near the public scorn is because the NFL tried to push his transgressions under the table for fear of losing public trust (and especially those of gamblers) in the fairness of its product, and because the media were too busy blowing Tom Brady and Belichick during the 2007 undefeated regular season, when the Spygate details first emerged.

In reality, the 2010 Steelers should be vying for its fifth Super Bowl tile in 10 seasons, making it arguably the greatest dynasty in NFL history, and comparable to the more talented Steelers of the 70s.

Like the Patriots, Pittsburgh would have likely upset the Rams, too, in the Super Bowl after the 2001 season and would have rolled the Eagles in the Super Bowl after the Steelers’ 15-1 season in 2004. But Pittsburgh was literally cheated out of AFC Championship game titles both of those seasons.

Regardless, two more wins this season and the ’04-’10 Steelers are a dynasty. While slightly trailing the ’01-’07 Patriots in accomplishments, most real football insiders will place this Steelers group ahead of a franchise that still has zero legitimate titles to its credit.

This entry was posted in 2010 steelers, Cool Stuff, Postseason, Steelers History. Bookmark the permalink.
  • Gisele

    HAHA. If I Didn’t know better I’d say “bitter much?” But I have to 100% agree. They were super cheats. I remember the comments right after the games saying it was as if they knew what the Pats were doing. They cheated. Brady is a cheater and a turd. He’s so predictable and such an overrated player. Brady doesnt deserve any of the accolades he gets. I hope Ben wins another 3 or 4 superbowls. That would definately put the Steelers Franchise as a whole as the greatest ever. Screw kraft

  • Anonymous

    They have some very difficult games yet to play.I agree with the article, but it’s putting the cart before the horse.

  • Warriorblitz

    “Memo to ESPN’s Tom Jackson: The Patriots dynasty of the 2000s is over. New England has not won a playoff game since 2007 and has not won a Super Bowl since 2004.”

    Great line! If only ESPN would stop the NE love-fest.

  • EasyLikeSundayMorning

    Ted, I think you and I are the only ones who are still incensed about Spygate. The only consolation for me is that 2001 and 2004 are less painful knowing they weren’t fair contests.

    Since Spygate, the Pats have turned into the Culpepper/Moss Vikings: strong regular season record, lots of points and yards, no Super Bowls and little postseason success overall.

    FWIW, after the Pats lost to the Broncos (and after the Pats had already won 3 Super Bowls), Bill Simmons wrote that the Pats were not yet a dynasty. I’m not saying that he’d the arbiter of how to define dynasties, but since he’s about the biggest Pats homer in the media, I’ve always thought that was interesting.

    • Ted

      We agree that they were not fair contests, but I never hear national media mention this anymore when they are praising BB for his 3 Super Bowl wins or absurdly still discussing the Patriots’ dynasty as if its ongoing, so us knowing that they were not fair contests and that awesome Steeler teams (esp. 04) were robbed are slight consolations.

      You go 3 years without winning a playoff game, and your dynasty is pronounced dead but yet Tom Jackson after the Jets’ win last week said the Patriots are the dominant team of this era (speaking in present tense). Simmons can say they were not a dynasty, but 3 titles seemingly has always been the standard for that tag. Early 70s Dolphins won 2 Super Bowls, went to 3 straight and had a 17-0 season, but for some reason still are not considered a dynasty. I am not saying that is right, just the way media has always assigned the tag for some odd reason.

      • Bob Costas

        The Pats have been the dominant team of the era. And I say that as a Steelers fan. They’ve won more Superbowls, won a ton of games and have been statistically dominant the last couple of years. Even if you hate them, I don’t see how you can argue that. The Steelers, as you note, are pretty damn similar in all of those respects but the Patriots have essentially always beaten us. So if two teams are really similar in their accomplishments but one team continually loses, often in games that weren’t that close, than you have to give the credit to the winning team in the comparison.

        I certainly don’t hold the Pats accomplishments in nearly the same regard after Spygate but it’s irrational to completely discredit their accomplishments because of it. The Pats have kicked our ass post-Spygate. And I don’t think knowing our defensive signals had anything to do with the 2001 championship game. Knowing defensive signals didn’t block a FG and return it for a touchdown and knowing defensive signals didn’t return a punt for a touchdown, either. Knowing the defensive signals in 2004 AFCCG didn’t cause the Steelers to turn the ball over 4 times, etc…

        So the Patriots cheated and it very well could have been the difference between several wins and losses. I’m not discounting that at all – their records are clearly blemished. At the same time, I can’t wave my magic wand and say that the Steelers would have won two more Superbowls without Spygate. The truth is we have no idea how things would have been different without their cheating. Maybe they would have won all those games anyway. Maybe they would have been a 9-7 team instead. Unfortunately, life isn’t always fair and it is never black and white.

  • Jason F

    Do you think the players and coaches care if this team is considered a dynasty? All they care about is Super Bowls. So yea, they’re probably angry about spygate. But they can’t win those games, only the present ones. I don’t want a dynasty, but I’ll take a super bowl. And another one after that… the Pats can keep the dynasty tag, and the Steelers can take the super bowls.

  • Cols714

    For once Ted, I completely agree.

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  • Mikej411

    Great article. One BIG issue though. You said…
    “In reality, the 2010 Steelers should be vying for its fifth Super Bowl tile in 10 seasons, making it arguably the greatest dynasty in NFL history, and comparable to the more talented Steelers of the 70s.”

    If the Steelers won a Super Bowl before 2004, the future for those pre-2004 teams would have changed which in turn would have resulted in the Steelers picking at a different number in the 2004 draft. This would mean Ben probably wouldnt have been drafted and the Steelers dont win the next three Super Bowls without Ben. Im glad the Steelers are winning Super Bowls now with Ben instead of just one or two pre-2004 when i was much younger

  • Croche123

    Good year by the Steelers but alas, the Dynasty talk was way too premature. This is a pretty informative site but can folks please stop saying the Patriots taped a walk through? Never happened. Had the Pats employee who shot video from the field of play had done so in the stands, there would have been no infraction. In addition, the Steelers have nobody to blame but themselves in the 2001 AFC Championship Game. Spygate had nothing to do with Troy Brown returning a punt for a TD or the Steelers allowing a blocked FG that was returned for another TD and even Steelers Nation has to admit that nobody would have to resort to cheating to make Slash look bad. As a Pats fan, I have tremendous respect for the Steelers but those that attempt to discredit the accomplishments of the Patriots of the past decade sound as petty as those who call into question the great run of the Steelers in the 70′s for steroid use. Teams since the beginning of time have looked to seize upon any possible advantage in an effort to win (Check out details of 1934 NFL Championship Game where Giants changed from cleats to sneakers on an icy field to defeat the previously undefeated Bears) and those in Steelers Nation who look to discredit the accomplishments of the New England Patriots since 2001 really should give a worthy opponent its due. How about a Patriots-Steelers AFC Championship Game in 2011?

  • Harry Schultz

    I just enjoyed watching the Broncos pummel the Patriots for the 2013 season AFC championship. I remember SPYGATE, and the NFL sweeping it under the rug and destroying the incriminating evidence. I was looking up Hines Ward’s comments regarding the 2001 AFC championship which brought me to this site. I will never believe that New England competed fairly in those games (2001 & 2004 AFC championships) in spite of what coach Cower said recently. I firmly believe that as part of the agreement between them and the league, they were told they would NEVER win another Super Bowl while Belicheat was head coach. So far, I’m right.