Greatest dynasties in sports history
Montreal Canadiens: 1956-60, 1965-69, 1976-79
The Canadiens have been considered a dynasty three times in the history of the organization. Beginning in 1956 they won five consecutive Stanley Cup championships the last one being in 1960. From 1965-69 they won four championships in five years including 1965, 1966, 1968 and 1969. Starting in 1976 to 1979 they won four consecutive championships. The Canadiens have won the Stanley Cup more than any other team.
New York Islanders: 1980-83
The Islanders won the Stanley Cup four seasons in a row from 1980-83.
Before the 1980 playoffs the Islanders traded for center Butch Goring. Goring is often called the "final piece of the puzzle" because of his presence as a two-way player. Contributions from new teammates, such as wingers Duane Sutter and Anders Kallur and stay-at-home defensemen Dave Langevin, Gord Lane, and Ken Morrow also figured prominently in the Islanders' playoff success.
Edmonton Oilers: 1984-90
Led by Wayne Gretzky, the Oilers won the Stanley Cup five times in seven years: 1984, 1985, 1987, 1988 and 1990.
In the 1983-1984 season the Oilers finished first overall in the NHL with 57 wins for a total of 119 points. They were the first team to feature three players with 50 goals, Gretzky, Jari Kurri and Glenn Anderson. In the Stanley Cup finals the Oilers met the Islanders, the previous Cup winners since the 1980s. The Oilers dethroned the Islanders in five games.
The next year the Oilers finished in second with 109 points. Gretzky led the NHL with 73 goals and Kurri was right behind with 71. This was the season that Gretzky became the youngest player in the NHL to score 1,000 career points. They went on to win the Stanley Cup again in 1985.
They failed to win the cup a third year in a row but were back on top in 1987 and 1988 and then again in 1990. They have not won a cup since.
Boston Celtics: 1956-86
The Celtics won 16 NBA titles in 30 years overall. In those 30 years they had 26 winning seasons, 20 division titles and 18 conference titles. There was a 13-year stretch from 1957-69 where they won 11 championships, including eight straight from 1959-66.
Minneapolis/Los Angeles Lakers: 1949-54, 1980-88, 2000-10
With the league’s first true dominant center, George Mikan, the Minneapolis Lakers rattled off a stretch where they won five championships (1949, 1950, 1952, 1953, 1954) in the span of six seasons.
The Lakers eventually moved to Los Angeles and would experience one championship led by Jerry West and Wilt Chamberlain (1972) before the Lakers and Celtics would emerge as dueling dynasties in the 1980s.
In 1980, rookie Magic Johnson helped the Lakers win the first of, what would be, five championships for the dynamic point guard. Later in the decade, Pat Riley was brought in to be the driving force behind the exhilarating “Showtime” Lakers teams. Along with Kareem Abdul-Jabaar and James Worthy, Magic's Lakers became one of the most exciting teams to ever take the hardwood.
From 2000-2010, the Lakers won six division titles (2000, 2001, 2004, 2008, 2009 and 2010) and seven Western Conference championships (2000, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2008, 2009 and 2010).
Shaqielle O'Neal and Kobe Bryant led the Lakers to three consecutive championships in the early aughts (2000, 2001, and 2002), before the Kobe-Shaq feud came to a head with Shaq being traded to the Heat. During their 2001 postseason run, they made NBA history with a 15-1 record, with the lone loss coming during the NBA Finals.
Kobe, this time with Pau Gasol as his sidekick, led the Purple and Gold to back-to-back championships in 2009 and 2010.
Chicago Bulls: 1989-98
Led by Michael Jordan, the Bulls won six NBA championships in eight seasons. The Bulls pulled off two incredible three-peats in 1991, 1992, and1993, and 1996, 1997 and 1998.
The 1995-96 Bulls recorded the best regular season record ever, going 72-10.
San Antonio Spurs: 1999-08
San Antonio won four NBA championships in the span of nine season: 1999, 2003, 2005 and 2007. The Spurs have not missed the playoffs since Tim Duncan was drafted in 1997. Behind his lead, the team won the NBA championship in 1999. In 2002 Tony Parker and Manu Ginóbili joined the Spurs. The two foreign born players clicked extremely well with Duncan and the three teammates are now known as "The Big 3." The Big 3 went on to help the Spurs win the NBA championship in 2003, 2005 and 2007.
At the helm of this dynasty is head coach, Gregg Popovic. Popovic began coaching for the Spurs in 1996. He is the longest tenured coach in all of the NBA. He has won four NBA championships as the head coach of the Spurs. He also has the most consecutive winning seasons of any NBA coach, at 16.
They are currently amidst a 15 season record of 50+ wins dating back to the 1999-2000.
Green Bay Packers: 1960s
The Packers in the 1960s were one of the most dominant NFL teams of all time. Their reign started in 1959 when Vince Lombardi assumed the head coaching position. Lombardi took a last place team and turned them into a powerhouse, winning five league championships in a seven year span.
The Lombardi era got off to a promising start when the Packers, behind legendary quarterback, Bart Starr shut out their division rivals, the Chicago Bears in their season opener. From there Lombardi continued to help the team improve. The Packers won the championship behind Lombardi and Starr in 1961, 1962, 1965 and Super Bowl I and II in 1966 and 1967. After the 1967 season Lombardi announced he was stepping down from his head coaching position. He was diagnosed with cancer in 1970 and died at the age of 57. The NFL named the Super Bowl trophy in his honor.
Starr was named league MVP after the 1965 championship and again in 1967 after winning Super Bowl II. Starr is the only NFL quarterback to win five league championships. Starr was the last piece of the dynasty Packers to leave. He started in only four games in 1971 and retired at the end of the season. In 1975 Starr took over as head coach of the Packers but did not have much success.
Dallas Cowboys: 1970-82, 1991-97
The Cowboys were the first team to win three Super Bowls in four years winning in 1992, 1993 and 1995.
They won three conference championships in four straight appearances and five straight division titles.
The Cowboys also had a National Football Conference dynasty from 1970-1982, in which they won eight division titles: 1970, 1971, 1973, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1981, ten NFC Championship game appearances 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1978, 1980, 1981, 1982, five Super Bowl appearances 1970, 1971, 1975, 1977, 1978, and two Super Bowl championships 1971, 1977. The Cowboys were the only NFC team to win a Super Bowl during the 1970s.
Pittsburgh Steelers: 1972-84
The Steelers are the only NFL team in history to win four Super Bowl titles in six years. They won in 1974, 1975, 1978 and 1979.
They were also AFC conference champs in 1972, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1978, 1979, 1983 and 1984.
San Francisco 49ers: 1981-94
The 49ers won four Super Bowl championships in the 1980s: 1981, 1984, 1988, and 1989 and then again in 1994. From 1981-94 the 49ers won 10 division titles. They had the most wins of any NFL team in the 1980s and 1990s with 104 and 113, respectively.
This dynasty started with the draft of quarterback Joe Montana in 1979. Montana’s first year was anything but successful ending the season with a 2-14 record. In 1980 the team was still unimpressive but was beginning to mesh. Although his career got off to a rocky start, he was at the helm of their Super Bowl victories in 1981 and 84.
In 1985 the 49ers drafted receiver, Jerry Rice. Rice turned out to be one of the greatest wide receivers in NFL history and is a leader in several statistical categories. He and Montana made quite the pair and led the 49ers to back to back Super Bowls in 1988 and 1989.
San Francisco failed to achieve a three-peat in 1990 and eventually quarterback, Steve Young came in to take Montana’s place after he suffered recurring injuries. From 1990-93 the 49ers had unsuccessful seasons but bounced back and won the Super Bowl in 1994. That year Steve Young set what was then the, the highest passer rating in a season, 112.8. He was named MVP that season.
New England Patriots: 2001-04
The Patriots are amidst what can be called the Brady/ Belichick era. With these two at the helm, the Pats won three Super Bowls in four years: 2001, 2003 and 2004.
Bill Belichick assumed the coaching position after a bit of a controversy. Belichick had been the Pats assistant coach in 1996 under Bill Parcells. When Parcells went to coach the Jets, Belichick went with him. After the 1999 season Parcells resigned and Belichick became the Jets head coach. The following day Belichick resigned at a press conference. After sorting out their differences and making a few draft pick trades, the Jets released Belichick and he signed as Patriots head coach where he has remained to this day.
Quarterback Tom Brady was a 6th-round pick in the 2000 draft. He started his career with the Patriots as their fourth string. By the end of the season he had moved to number two on the depth chart behind starter, Drew Bledsoe. The next year, during the second game of the season, Bledsoe suffered internal bleeding as the result of a hit. Brady played the rest of the season as the starter and had a record of 11-3. Since that season Brady has been the starting quarterback and was named MVP in two of his three Super Bowl wins.
In 2007 Brady led the Patriots to an undefeated regular season. They were the first team to do so with a 16 game schedule. The Patriots went on the win their first two playoff games reaching an 18-0 record, an accomplishment no other team in NFL history has done. They played the New York Giants in the Super Bowl where they suffered their first loss, taking away their perfect season.
Brady and Belichick have made one of the most successful quarterback-coach tandems in NFL history winning 148 regular season and 18 postseason games, as well as appearing in five Super Bowls together.
Cincinnati Reds: 1970-76
In the 1970s the Reds were known as The Big Red Machine. They won five National League Western Division titles and four National League pennants in six years. In those six years they appeared in the World Series four times: 1970, 1972, 1975 and 1976, winning all but the 1972 World Series. The team's combined record from 1970-76 was 683 wins and 443 losses, an average of nearly 98 wins per season.
Pete Rose was a crucial hitter for the Reds. He played from 1963-1978. In his first season he won the National League Rookie of the Year award. In In 1973, Rose led the league with 230 hits and a .338 batting average en route to winning the NL MVP award. Rose assumed the role of player-manager from 1984-1986 and continued as manager after retiring in 1986 until 1989. In August 1989, Rose agreed to permanent ineligibility from baseball amidst accusations that he gambled on baseball games while playing for and managing the Reds. Although he had a rather impressive career including beating Ty Cobb's all-time hit record, the Baseball Hall of Fame voted to ban him from being inducted.
Oakland Athletics: 1971-75
The As won the AL division five consecutive seasons from 1971-75. They won the World Series three consecutive season from 1972-1974.
Hall of famer, Reggie Jackson was a key player for the Athletics from 1967-1975. He won the AL MVP award in 1973. The Athletics retired his number, 9 in 2004. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1993.
New York Yankees: 1996-03
The Yankees always seem to be a dynasty waiting to happen. They have the most championships in North American professional sports with 27, in addition to 40 American League pennants and 18 American League East Division championships.
The first dynasty came shortly after the famous acquisition of Babe Ruth. From 1920-32, the “Murderer’s Row” Yankees, led by Ruth and “The Iron Horse” Lou Gehrig, won four championships
(1923, 1927, 1928, 1932).
The second dynasty came after the arrival of Joe DiMaggio; the Yankees would win an unprecedented four consecutive championships from 1936-39 and six in eight seasons (1941 and 1943, without Joe D). DiMaggio would leave to serve the United States in World War II before returning to MLB in 1946. He won four more championships (1947, 1949, 1950 and 1951) before retiring as a nine-time World Series champion.
Those nine wins aren’t the most in Yankees history. That distinction goes to Yogi Berra, who won ten. Berra, along with Mickey Mantle, were the backbone of the third Yankees’ dynasty during the 1950s and early '60s.
From 1996-03 the New York Yankees made eight postseason appearences, won their division each year except the 1997 season, won six AL pennants, each year except 1997 and 2002, and won four World Series championships (1996, 1998, 1999 and 2000).
University of Southern California baseball: 1958-78
In this two-decade span, the Trojans won ten national championships under head coach Rod Dedeaux. Dedeaux who coached at USC for 45 seasons. During Dedeaux's tenure, his teams won 11 national titles, including five straight from 1970–74, and 28 conference championships.
UCLA Bruins men’s basketball: 1964-75
From 1964-1975 the UCLA men's basketball team won ten NCAA Championships over a 12-year span under Hall of Fame head coach John Wooden and future NBA Hall of Famers such as Lew Alcindor (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar), Sidney Wicks and Bill Walton.
From 1967-1973, the Bruins won seven straight titles, finishing undefeated four times (1963-64, 1966-67, 1971-72, 1972-73).
Their famous 88-game winning streak is the longest in men's college basketball history.
Oklahoma Sooners football 1953-57
Led by legendary head coach Bud Wilkinson, the Sooners compiled 47 straight wins from 1953-57, a record that has never seriously been threatened. That win streak included 27 shutouts. The Sooners finished 60-3-1 in a six-year span, including back-to-back national championships in 1955 and 1956.
Alabama Crimson Tide football: 1961-66, 2009-13
After leaving Texas A&M to become Alamaba’s head coach, Bear Bryant led the Crimson Tide to their first winning season in four years. In his fourth season, Bryant led his team to their sixth national championship which included Bryant's first bowl victory with Alabama. Between 1961 to 1966, Alabama went 60–5–1, which included three national championships in 1961, 1964 and 1965, four Southeastern Conference Championships and two undefeated seasons.
Nick Saban took over the role of head coach in 2007. In 2008 and 2009, Saban led the team to two undefeated regular seasons, winning the national championship in 2009. Saban and Alabama won the national championship again in 2010 and 2011, making them champions three times in a four year span.
Several players who had an impact in the 2009 championship win were drafted in the first round to the NFL. That list includes James Carpenter, Dre Kirkpatrick, Trent Richardson, D. J. Fluker and Chance Warmack.
Miami Hurricanes football: 1983-92
During the ten-year span, “The U,” led by three different head coaches: Howard Schnellenberger, Jimmy Johnson and Dennis Erickson, won four national championships (1982-83, 1986-87, 1988-89, 1990-91).
Miami received great quarterback play throughout, led by Bernie Kosar, Vinny Testaverde and Gino Torretta. NFL Hall of Famers Michael Irvin and Cortez Kennedy also laced up the cleats for the Hurricanes.
North Carolina women's soccer: 1979-12
From 1979–2012 the Tar Heels have won 22 national championships, 21 of those are NCAA Tournament championships. This also includes nine consecutive NCAA tournament championships from 1986-1994, and 15 consecutive ACC Tournament Championships from 1989-2003.
The UNC women also claim a 90% win rate, having won 704 games and lost or tied only 78 games in that time.
UConn women's basketball: 2000-14
In 15 seasons from 2000-2014, the Huskies won eight championships, including three consecutive championships from 2002–2004. They played four undefeated seasons in 2002, 2009, 2010 and 2014. They had a record 90 consecutive wins from November 16, 2008 to December 30, 2010.
At the helm of their success is head coach Geno Auriemma. He is one of the most successful women's coaches of all time. His career record at UConn is 879-133. He has led the team to 19 Big East regular season championships and nine national titles during his tenure.
Auriemma would not have been so successful without the help of his players, most notably Sue Bird, Maya Moore, Swin Cash, Svetlana Abrosimova. All players who have made a name for themselves at UConn and continued to play in the WNBA.
Roger Federer: 2002-12
Roger Federer is widely regarded as the greatest tennis player in history and his decade on top may never be matched. He has ranked inside the Association of Tennis Professionals top 10 since May 2002. He has held the world no. 1 position for 302 weeks overall, including a 237-consecutive-week stretch at the top from 2004 to 2008.
Federer has appeared in 24 Grand Slam finals and won 17 Grand Slam singles titles. He has reached each Grand Slam final a record of at least five times. He has reached Wimbledon a record eight times. The tennis star appeared in a record 10 consecutive Grand Slam finals and 18 of 19 from 2005 to Wimbledon Championships to 2010 Australian Open. He also won a gold medal in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.
Jack Nicklaus, 1961-86
Nicklaus spent a quarter of a century perched on top of the PGA Tour. Nicklaus was preceded by players such as: Sam Snead, Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer and Gary Player, but he tops them all due to his trump card, 18 major wins. The list of Nicklaus’ achievements and awards is impressive.
He has a total of 115 professional wins, 73 PGA Tour wins, third of all-time and 18 Major Championship wins. He won the Masters in 1963, 1965, 1966, 1972, 1975 and 1986. He won the U.S. Open in 1962, 1967, 1972 and 1980. He was the winner of the Open Championship in 1966, 1970 and 1978 and the PGA Championship in 1963, 1971, 1973, 1975 and 1980. Nicklaus was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1974. He was the PGA Tour leading money winner in 1964, 1965, 1967, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975 and 1976. And finally he was the PGA Player of the Year in 1967, 1972, 1973, 1975 and 1976.
Tiger Woods: 1997-TBD
Tiger is the only active golfer capable of surpassing Nicklaus’ record 18 major titles. Woods, however, due to a back injury, will not compete in the 2014 Masters Tournament. Woods, in mostly a 12-year span (1997-2009) compiled a list of achievements that may never be matched in the same time by any PGA Tour player ever again. His most dramatic victory may have come during the 2008 U.S. Open, where he defeated Rocco Mediate in a playoff on, allegedly, “one leg.” Woods’ off-course car accident and subsequent split with ex-wife Elin Nordegren in December 2009 has contributed to recent talk about his decline, but Woods rebounded in 2013 to capture his 11th PGA Tour Player of the Year.
Woods has complied a long list of achievements and awards starting with PGA Rookie of the Year in 1996. He has had 106 professional wins and 79 PGA Tour wins, which is second of all-time. He is second in all-time Major championship wins with 14 and won the Masters in 1997, 2001, 2002 and 2005. His U.S. Open wins came in 2000, 2002 and 2008. He won the Open Championship in 2000, 2005 and 2006, the PGA Championship in 1999, 2000, 2006 and 2007 and the FedEx Cup in 2007 and 2009.
Woods was the PGA Player of the Year in 1997, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009 and 2013. He was the PGA Tour leading money winner in 1997, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009 and 2013.