First I should congratulate the Cardinals and Steelers on a well played, very entertaining Super Bowl. The Cards weren't given much of a chance going into the game, but I think next year people will take the more seriously. As always we had a good time at the Super Bowl party which was held at Nicole's mom's house this year. You can find out more about our party here and here.
OK, now for the football history. Leading up to the Super Bowl I was thinking about how to define and mathematically find NFL "Dynasties". My first thought would be just to look at overall records for each year including playoffs. However, when I thought about qualities of a successful team in the NFL their regular season record has little consequence in the long run. I don't think anyone would classify Patriot's season this year as successful even though they went 11-5 in the regular season. History really only remembers the teams that make it to the playoffs, so I know that I needed to look solely at the playoffs to find which teams were dominate throughout the recent history of the NFL.
What we decided upon was to give points to each team for how far they made it in the playoffs each year. Then I looked at the 5 year moving average of each teams success in the playoffs. After all the data was compiled I got the following graph. (Note: I removed any team that was not the best team at any point, the lower part of the graph was pretty crowded.)
From this graph we see that the Cowboys have been the most dominate team at any one point, with their height at 1993. (93 Dyn5 means that I am looking at 1991-1995, 93 is the center point of the average.) Also, recently the Patriots have been the team to beat although with the Steelers win in Super Bowl XLIII they are now the team. It is interesting to see that besides the 49ers most teams have a pretty regular peaking cycle that has their rise to power about as swift as their fall.
According to my analysis, these are the football NFL Dynasties for the "modern" era of football (1978 on). I am shifting my years, so that each year listed is at the end of the average, so 1982 means I am looking at playoff performance from 1978 to 1982.
*Both the Packers and the Broncos had the same rating in 1999.
So what does this mean for current football history? It looks like the Patriots are on their way out, it is hard for me to think that this is possible since their team still has a good core but they are heading downwards. Also it looks like the Steelers are on their way to being the dominate team for a couple of years. Looking at the full graph the only other teams that are tracking significantly up are the Giants, Chargers and Cardinals, so they are the teams to watch for the next couple of years.
Know Thy Football History Part I