The NBA is in the midst of a super team era. With anywhere between three to eight teams being, what you could consider, a super team. This is nothing new for basketball, in fact super teams go back further than the Magic and Bird rivalry.
In the NFL, the narrative is different. The super team topic is rarely, if at all, discussed amongst NFL fans. Oddly enough, super teams may not exist on the gridiron.
First, before we discuss the topic of super teams in the NFL we must establish what exactly a super team is. There are obvious differences between basketball and football, the first of which is the player’s roles. NFL players are broken into offense and defense, while in the NBA players play both ends of the floor.
That has to be taken into consideration for the super team discussion. They will not look the same in each sport.
Arguably the most important factor of a super team is the amount of future Hall of Famers. That is what is so crazy about the NBA super teams. Often times super teams have at least two future Hall of Famers, some having upwards of three or four.
Generally, I cannot stand the concept of a “future Hall of Famer” because consistency is hard to predict, especially in a game as physical as football. But for this particular conversation I can suffer through it.
Mathematically it is harder to make the NFL Hall of Fame than it is to make the NBA Hall of Fame. There are 32 teams of 53 players compared to 30 teams of about 15. You shouldn’t need a fancy equation to be able to tell there is a hell of a lot more football players than basketball players.
In the past decade, has there really been one NFL team that is absolutely loaded with future Hall of Famers?
The 2007 Patriots quickly jump to mind with Tom Brady, Randy Moss, Junior Seau, Rodney Harrison and Teddy Bruschi all of whom are either in or will be in someday. That team also had Wes Welker, Asante Samuel and Vince Wilfork, among others, who had great seasons but will not be enshrined in Canton. And as great as this team was they didn’t even win the Super Bowl.
The Seattle Seahawks of 2013 could also be considered a super team with one of the best defenses to ever play together. Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor and Bobby Wagner all on defense and Marshawn Lynch and Russell Wilson on offense has all the makings of a super team. And unlike the 2007 Patriots, they actually won the Super Bowl.
Both of the teams mentioned are fantastic, and there are a number of different teams that you throw into the conversation that I haven’t touched on. But what most NFL great teams of recent history have lacked is consistency.
To be a true super team requires more than just one good season. Having one good season just makes you a great team, not a super team.
Would the Miami Heat –with Lebron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh– have been considered a super team if they had just gotten to the finals twice? No.
The Seahawks could not keep everyone on that defense because they couldn’t pay everyone. While they did make it back to the Super Bowl the following season they were unsuccessful and have not been back to even the NFC Championship game since.
In New England Brady got hurt the next year, Randy Moss had a falling out with the coaching staff and Seau, Bruschi and Harrison all retired soon after the 2007 season. The team didn’t make it back to the Super Bowl until 2011.
The Patriots are slightly different though. They’re the most successful NFL franchise since the turn of the millennium. But they’re not a super team.
New England winning five Super Bowls since the 2001 season is an impressive accomplishment. In that run it has been the Brady and Belichick show, with everyone else helping. It really has been just those two leading the charge.
Dynasty might be more of an appropriate word to describe the Patriots rather than super team. And that might go all through out football. There are no super teams but instead dynasties, which seems like a much more prestigious title.
Something only few teams have ever truly been able to accomplish with the Patriots being the most recent. Seattle was great for a stretch, a stretch that they’re still on, but not enough to earn the title of dynasty.
The Pittsburg Steelers in the late ‘70s the San Francisco 49ers in the late ‘80s and mid ‘90s, the Dallas Cowboys in the mid to late ‘90s and the Patriots in the early 2000s to now are the only true dynasties of the NFL.
It’s just the nature of the NFL. The style of the game negates super teams but enables the possibility for organizations to become dynasties.
About The Contributor
Denton was born and raised in Northern Virginia, about 30 miles outside of Washington D.C. At the age of 18 he took his talents to Lynchburg, Virginia to Liberty University. In 2017 He graduated with a journalism degree and now works as a Sports Editor in Bedford, Virginia. Denton is an avid professional wrestling fan and a die-hard fan of all D.C. sports teams and pushed through an unhealthy amount of heartbreak caused by those teams. It’s not an easy life but someone has to live it.
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