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Old 12-02-2007, 07:57 AM   #1
lamberts-lost-tooth
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Default Patriots not quite at level of greatness

Patriots not quite at level of greatness
'90s Cowboys and '70s Steelers rank as top NFL dynasties
02:00 AM CST on Sunday, December 2, 2007


New England needs eight more wins to achieve perfection and stake its claim as the greatest team and dynasty in NFL history. Realistically, we're all going to be surprised if that doesn't happen.

Sure, the Patriots reign over today's watered-down, parity-driven NFL, but let's stop all this chatter about New England being the league's greatest dynasty.

Frankly, it's not even worth discussing.

I was reminded of that the other day, when the Cowboys recognized their 1977, 1992 and 1993 championship teams at halftime of their win over Green Bay.

You take the Patriots of the new millennium and give me the '90s Cowboys or '70s Steelers and I'll beat you every time ? or almost every time.

If you're honest, you know it's the truth.

By the way, this is not some pom-pom waving piece because I grew up in Oak Cliff and religiously watched every Cowboys' game from the third grade until I left for college.

This is based, in part, on the research done by Norm Hitzges, a fixture on the Dallas-Fort Worth sports scene for more than 30 years, and common sense.

We all know Hitzges' fascination for statistics borders on obsessive compulsive behavior, but he dug up some intriguing numbers and theories that's he's put in an interesting book he co-authored with longtime Cowboys' photographer Ron St. Angelo.

In their book, Greatest Team Ever: The Dallas Cowboys Dynasty of the 1990s, Hitzges compared the dynasties of the Cowboys (91-95), San Francisco (1988-92), New England (01-05), Pittsburgh (1975-79), Miami (1970-74) and Green Bay (1963-67) in several categories.

They are: number of wins, playoff wins, 12-win seasons, player honors and free agency impact. From that, he concluded the Cowboys were the greatest dynasty of all time.

I arrived at a similar conclusion.

My criteria: How many great players did each team have, how good were the teams they had to beat to win their championships and how decisively did they win their titles.

Let's deal with one issue off the top. When we're talking about the best of the best, splitting hairs is a necessity.

It's not New England's fault that it plays in an inferior era because of expansion and free agency, but it is what it is.

Bill Belichick and his right-hand man Scott Pioloi have done a wonderful job of filling their roster with more good players than any other NFL team.

Some teams might have more great players, but the Patriots win because they never put a bad player on the field ? and they exploit the bad players their opponents use.

Understand?

Look at it this way, other than Tom Brady, Randy Moss and probably Junior Seau what other Patriots are going to the Hall of Fame? If you open your mouth to say Wes Welker, our conversation is over.

Maybe Richard Seymour? Or Asante Samuel? That's my point. Brady was the Patriots' only great player on their previous championship teams.

When it's all said and done, the 90s Cowboys will have at least five Hall of Fame players in Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, Michael Irvin, Deion Sanders and Larry Allen. If Charles Haley eventually makes it, as he should, Dallas will have six.

As for the Steelers, you could easily make the argument they have some undeserving Hall of Famers, but you can't argue about the merits of Terry Bradshaw, Franco Harris, Mean Joe Greene, Jack Lambert and Mel Blount.

When you're talking about greatness, it matters who you beat to win your title. Joe Frazier helped make Muhammad Ali "The Greatest" because he brought out the best in Ali.

The Cowboys had to go through Steve Young, Jerry Rice and one of the most potent offenses in NFL history to win their championships.

Ask anyone and the NFC championship games between the Cowboys and the 49ers from 1992-94 were among the best in league history. San Francisco, a team with championship pedigree, made the Cowboys raise their level of performance to win.

And don't sleep on Buffalo, the only team to lose four consecutive Super Bowls. Jim Kelly and Thurman Thomas are already in the Hall of Fame, and Bruce Smith and Andre Reed should soon join them.

Pittsburgh had to go through great teams in Miami and Oakland for much of the '70s.

The Patriots biggest rival is the Indianapolis Colts, who won a championship last year. The teams were each 8-0 when the Patriots beat Indianapolis earlier this season.

Perhaps, history will remember the Colts as the Patriots' Frazier. For now, they're not.

New England slowed down a terrific offensive team, when it slipped past the 2000 St. Louis Rams. Still, the Patriots have never won a Super Bowl by more than a field goal.

The '90s Cowboys never won a Super Bowl by fewer than 10 points; the Steelers won two of their four titles by at least 10 points.

Still think the Patriots can hang with the '90s Cowboys or '70s Steelers?
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Old 12-02-2007, 05:01 PM   #2
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Default Re: Patriots not quite at level of greatness

I'm not saying that the Patriots are the best team ever. I was more certain in 2004 that we'd win the Superbowl then I am this year but I disagree with this article. Football has changed alot. Athletes have gotten better with superior weight programs, better diets, and in many cases steriods. There are also tons of more players in the sport today and with no more racial barriers you can expect to see the very best playing in the NFL. Players have also specialized themselves to master certain positions. In the 50s and 60s any big guy who could withstand a beating could play football.
Older men will always believe that their teams and players of the past were the very best there ever was. But for that to be true, there would have had to be a freak surge in human evolution of amazing athletes 40 years ago. Records are made to be broken. The first guy raises the bar so the second guy can later raise it again. The Patriots might be the best dyanasty ever, if you can make that assumption, but I'm sure that in a decade or so there will be several other teams that are even better.
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Old 12-02-2007, 05:15 PM   #3
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Default Re: Patriots not quite at level of greatness

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I'm not saying that the Patriots are the best team ever. I was more certain in 2004 that we'd win the Superbowl then I am this year but I disagree with this article. Football has changed alot. Athletes have gotten better with superior weight programs, better diets, and in many cases steriods. There are also tons of more players in the sport today and with no more racial barriers you can expect to see the very best playing in the NFL. Players have also specialized themselves to master certain positions. In the 50s and 60s any big guy who could withstand a beating could play football.
Older men will always believe that their teams and players of the past were the very best there ever was. But for that to be true, there would have had to be a freak surge in human evolution of amazing athletes 40 years ago. Records are made to be broken. The first guy raises the bar so the second guy can later raise it again. The Patriots might be the best dyanasty ever, if you can make that assumption, but I'm sure that in a decade or so there will be several other teams that are even better.
So players like Stallworth, Lambert, Greene, Emmit Smith & Aikman couldnt have played in todays game against the Patriots?

Gotta call BS on that one.
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Old 12-02-2007, 05:19 PM   #4
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Default Re: Patriots not quite at level of greatness

I, too, have to disagree, on a couple grounds.

First, with all respect, this season isn't over, and any talk about the '07 Patriots and eternal greatness is premature. They haven't won anything yet, other than their division. Maybe they will, maybe they won't. But either way, it's only Dec 2nd.

Second, the game changes. The rules change, the players change, the styles of play change, the way a franchise has to be managed changes. You can't fault the team. They aren't being called on to win in the'70s or '90s; they are being called on to win TODAY. Call it what it is. Do you REALLY think you could transport the '70s Steelers, with their O-line that averaged around 250 lbs, into today's NFL? I don't. At 6'4" and 220, Lambert would be a hell of a safety. You can say that they would bulk up for today's game, but that's not the point; that would be the same as saying that the Patriots would have built their franchise differently in the '70s. Well, yeah.

I like to look at the great teams, like everyone else. But I'll settle for wondering rather than trying to figure out absolutes.
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Old 12-02-2007, 06:53 PM   #5
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Default Re: Patriots not quite at level of greatness

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So players like Stallworth, Lambert, Greene, Emmit Smith & Aikman couldnt have played in todays game against the Patriots?

Gotta call BS on that one.
Ofcourse they would have been able to play. They would be recognized as excellent players but wouldn't dominate the league.
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Old 12-02-2007, 06:55 PM   #6
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Default Re: Patriots not quite at level of greatness

belichick would never survive w/o free agency to plug the holes.
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Old 12-02-2007, 07:01 PM   #7
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Default Re: Patriots not quite at level of greatness

[QUOTE=The Patriot;331260]in many cases steriods.

something your pattys know alot about. 30 year old athletes dont exactly normally have strokes.
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Old 12-02-2007, 07:11 PM   #8
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Default Re: Patriots not quite at level of greatness

One thing not to be forgotten is the BIG * next to everything the cheatsies did under belicheat.
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Old 12-02-2007, 08:34 PM   #9
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Default Re: Patriots not quite at level of greatness

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something your pattys know alot about. 30 year old athletes dont exactly normally have strokes.
Bruschi had a blood clot that travelled to his brain due to the altitude change after a long flight home from Hawii. He was in critical condition for a while and during the months he spent in the hospital he never once tested positive for steriods. But thanks. It's a great time to be joking about death in the NFL right now.
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Old 12-02-2007, 08:39 PM   #10
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Bruschi had a blood clot that travelled to his brain due to the altitude change after a long flight home from Hawii. He was in critical condition for a while and during the months he spent in the hospital he never once tested positive for steriods. But thanks. It's a great time to be joking about death in the NFL right now.
how was i joking? ever hear of hgh? of course he wasnt going to test positive. and if that piss poor excuse makes you feel better knock yourself out
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