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The great runs

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by PatsFanSince74, Dec 1, 2009.

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  1. PatsFanSince74

    PatsFanSince74 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    If you've read my posts since last night's game, you know that I am a realist but have by no means given up on this season. But, I have been a bit philosophical this morning and, as some of you may know, I like studying the history of the NFL, back to its beginning and beyond.

    Anyway, I looked at The Great Runs of the SB era. For the purposes of this analysis, I am defining a "Run" as three or more appearances in the SB with the same Coach and/or QB and with other key players in place across the run (I leave in the Runs that came up empty in terms of Rings because, as BB, says, it's a big mountain to climb and those teams all climbed it). Here's what it shows.

    We should start with the Lombardi/Starr Packers, which straddled the beginning of the SB era, winning NFL and SB Championships in 1961, 1962, 1965, 1966 and 1967. An awesome run of five championships in seven years with a sixth appearance in the Championship Game in 1960. So, eight years, six Championship Games, Five Rings.

    Next would be the Landry/Staubach(Morton) Cowboys. Between 1970 and 1978, they went to five SB's, winning two. So, nine years, five SB's, Two Rings.

    Then, the Grant/Tarkenton(Knapp) Vikings. Between 1969 and 1976, they appeared in four SB's, unfortunately losing all of them. So, eight years, four SB's, No Rings.

    Shula/Griese Dolphins. 1971--1973. Three years, three SB's, two Rings. (Shula went back to the SB in 1982 and 1984 with two different QB's. Technically, he spans, then, 24 seasons, but I have decided to treat him him as an anomaly because there is no continuity between the teams in the two decades.)

    Noll/Bradshaw Steelers. 1974--1979. Six years, four SB's, four Rings.

    Walsh(Seifert)/Montana Niners. 1981--1989. Nine years, four SB's, four Rings.

    Reeves/Elway Broncos. 1986--1989. Four years, three SB's, no rings. (Like Shula, I am treating Elway as an anomaly. He went back to and won the SB in 1997 and 1998, but he did so after two HC changes, so I don't view his span of play as a "run" in the same way I view the others. Nonetheless, it is an extraordinary accomplishment by Elway, putting him among the greatest QB's of all time.)

    Levy/Kelly Bills. 1990--1993. Four years, Four SB's, No Rings.

    Johnson(Switzer)/Aikman Cowboys. 1992--1995. Four years, three SB's, three Rings.

    Belichick/Brady Patriots. 2001--2007. Seven years (now nine), four SB's, three Rings.

    What do I conclude from the above:

    1) The Pats are in very good company, especially when we consider that they accomplished everything in the post-Cap/FA era.

    2) The average "Run" (excluding Shula across three decades and multiple QB's and Elway across three coaches) is 6.8 years. Eight or nine seasons is historically about how long the longest "runs" last.

    3) Elway and Shula are in a class by themselves, essentially going to the SB with very different teams wearing the same uniform, over a lengthy period.

    4) There's nothing that says that Brady isn't Elway and won't win Rings when he is 37 and 38, as did John. There's also nothing to say that Belichick isn't Shula and won't coach the Pats for another ten years. But, if it doesn't work out that way, Brady and Belichick have already accomplished at the highest levels in a way comparable to the greatest teams of the last 50 years.

    (Footnote: Between 1976 and 1983, the Raiders went to and won three SB's, but neither the Coaches (Madden/Flores) nor the QB's (Stabler/Plunket) overlapped, so they didn't fit my methodology.)
     
  2. maverick4

    maverick4 Banned

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    Great post.

    The thing is looking at this list, the QB's who actually won rings weren't the main stars of those teams, meaning those teams won a lot of different ways depending on the opponent and situation. They didn't overly rely on the QB to win them the game by out-executing the same plays over and over.

    Elway won basically handing the ball off and using play action off of Terrell Davis. Aikman was more of a complement to Emmitt Smith. Brady spread the ball around but wasn't 'the guy'. Montana won rings before Rice even showed up, and they weren't especially pass or shotgun heavy. Bradshaw wasn't even one of the top 3 players on those teams. These teams had great passing games but didn't overly or exclusively (and predictably) rely on them to win.

    Jim Kelley ran a shotgun happy offense and lost every time he made the bowl. You didn't mention Steve Young in your list (appropriately so) but one reason he couldn't beat the Cowboys for so long was he was basically locked into getting the ball to Rice all the time (sounds familiar with the Pats right now). It took signing Deion Sanders to beat the Cowboys, and even then they barely did so with that predictable scheme. Another lesser example is the Warren Moon run-n-shoot Oilers, whose explosive passing offense would always get stuffed in big games.
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2009
  3. Tunescribe

    Tunescribe PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #61 Jersey

    Excellent post! Lost on a lot of fans here is that there is something to be said for consistent winning football, regardless of whether a Super Bowl win caps it off. Most fans of other teams would give their right arm to have a winning record year-in and year-out like the Pats do. At the very least it gives us HOPE, and that makes a season much more enjoyable.
     
  4. Number 2

    Number 2 Practice Squad Player

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    Great post, nice research! Is there a book about the history that you would reccomend to me? I am interested in following up on more of the history of the game.
     
  5. ctpatsfan77

    ctpatsfan77 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #3 Jersey

    Amen.

    Here are a couple of more things worth noting:

    You have to go back to 2002 to find a streak where the Patriots lost even three games in a row.

    You have to go back to 2000 to find a game where the Patriots were out of contention for the playoffs.

    I'll admit I haven't been a true fan of the Patriots—in the sense of actually making an effort to watch games—until the last few years. But I'm old enough to remember the Patriots going 1-15, and I can truly sympathize with those here who were actually there to watch such monstrosities.
     
  6. PatsFanSince74

    PatsFanSince74 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I'm blushing at all the nice comments.

    Without a doubt, the best place to start is America's Game by Michael MacCambridge (Random House, 2004). Terrific, enjoyable look at the modern NFL.

    If you want to go back a bit, a great text is Pigskin The Early Years of Pro Football by Robert W. Peterson. (Oxford University Press, 1997) Reads more like a text book, but takes you back to the predecessors of the NFL and gives an interesting insight into its relationship to the College Game.

    On the AFL, a very good book is The American Football League, A Year by Year History, 1960--1969 by Ed Gruver (McFarland, 1997).
     
  7. PatsFanSince74

    PatsFanSince74 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Yes, I think the Krafts have it right. Their strategy, as they have stated it often, is to field a team, every season, that is competitive to make the playoffs. They'll never get into a Jets or Redskins situation, where the pressure builds to "Win it all now." Being competitive to make the playoffs is different than saying the strategy is to win the SB. Sure, every player on every team takes the field in Week One with the hope that his team will win the Big game, but, ultimately, the two strategies bring completely different mindsets.
     
  8. Number 2

    Number 2 Practice Squad Player

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    Thank you very much for the reccomendations. I am reading the education of a coach right now, and it has made me curious about back in the day!
     
  9. PatsFanSince74

    PatsFanSince74 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    yes, halberstam's book is amazing...did you know that he was on his way to interview Y. A. Tittle for a book he was writing about the 1958 NFL championship game when he died in a car accident?
     
  10. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    You really think that most fans prefer having traded Seymour for a 2011 draft choice and Hobbs for Ohrnberger? No one is suggesting the strategy of the jets or the skins. Why compare to the losers?

     
  11. eagle eye

    eagle eye In the Starting Line-Up

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    #85 Jersey

    I remember those days. Mondays in the winter always felt colder, I know they talk about Global warming these days, but I have a feeling that that spring in my step is the reason I haven't felt that cold in the last 14 years.:D
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2009
  12. scout

    scout Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    #15 Jersey

    Thanks for the post. Nice to see some this type of perspective versus the knee jerk reaction of some posts found here today.
    I would hedge my bet that the Patriots (with Brady) have another run in them. A lot depends on the #1 pick from the Raiders and what happens in collective bargaining. My thinking is that BB is playing the odds and will make the adjustments.
     
  13. maverick4

    maverick4 Banned

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    Actually, based on the 1st post and who actually won rings, we won't have another run until this offense stops being a shot gun pass-happy offense. Our style/profile right now fits more the Jim Kelly chokers than the teams that have won it.
     
  14. PatsFanSince74

    PatsFanSince74 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Well, I just picked the Jets and Redskins out because the Jets are pursuing a stated "Win Now" strategy with Sanchez, Edwards and others and because the Redskins are always just trying to put "the final piece" in place from outside. So, yeah, I was just making examples of them because it was easy (the OP took a while and I didn't have much more time this morning).

    But, if I'd written a longer answer I would have said something like the following.

    There are a handful of franchises in the NFL that distinguish themselves by being competitive over time. But, even these franchises go through long periods of bad years when it's hard to remember that, yes, the Dallas Cowboys have actually been to eight SB's.

    This is because the nature of the NFL is that success is driven not just by 53 players on a roster, but particularly by a HC and QB and by many things out of control, like luck, the strength of divisional opponents, scheduling flukes. So, expecting that a franchise will always have a Noll or a Belichick or a Landry at the helm and a Bradshaw or a Brady or Staubach over center is unrealistic. Yet, the history of the game is that, with few exceptions (yes, I mean you, Trent Dilfer and you, Doug Williams), teams don't succeed without special excellence in those two roles. Drafting QB's is a perilous business, as many have learned and as the success of a sixth round pick reminds us. Knowing whether someone will be a successful or great HC is very difficult as well.

    So, all a team can do is have a process that it follows carefully and then hope the intangibles and uncontrollables fall in place over time. The rational way to approach the game, if one wants to consistently build a winning team. is to take a view that puts a longer term perspective above any one season.

    So, to answer your direct question. Yeah. We won't know the exact benefit of the deal until we see the picks and how they perform, but, yes, trading Seymour is consistent with what I describe, and Hobbs as well. Not every deal will turn out to look brilliant in retrospect, but that is part of the risks that are taken to change the risk profile of the game itself.
     
  15. ausbacker

    ausbacker Brady > Manning. PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #51 Jersey

    What it comes down to, is sure I'd love to win a Superbowl every season, but I'd rather be winning more games than losing each season. The point in basking in the glory of Superbowl victory is how bloody hard they are to win.

    Imagine having to support the Raiders this past decade, even Detroit.
     
  16. PatsFanSince74

    PatsFanSince74 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    yes, belichick calls every season "climbing the mountain." only those who have done it know how hard it is.
     
  17. scout

    scout Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    #15 Jersey

    The game has changed. New Orleans will win the Superbowl this year and it will be because of Drew Brees.
     
  18. ausbacker

    ausbacker Brady > Manning. PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #51 Jersey

    I beg to differ. Whoever wins the NFC Championship between the Vikings and Saints (yes I'm calling it) will win the Superbowl. The Vikings will stop the Saints run and force it completely on Brees. This is where the Vikings pass rush will be at it's most disruptive. I can see Jared Allen having a monster game. That said, after seeing the Saints last night, that game can go either way.
     
  19. DaBronxPats14

    DaBronxPats14 Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

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    Well thought out & well said.
    Since you brought up 76 Pats I remember that like it was yesterday. If it wasn't for BS call roughing passer on Stabler it would have been my favorite 2 QBs going to superbowl. Grogan Vs Tarkenton. What a year in 1976 for Pats.
     
  20. maverick4

    maverick4 Banned

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    Has it changed in terms of the 'great runs', the point of this thread? It's pretty much always been about a dominant D and a balanced offense that can hurt you both ways.

    Sure you'll have an occasional pass-happy team win it, like the 00 Rams or 06 Colts, but look at the list of the 'great runs', especially those who won.

    The most recent team to win multiple rings are the Steelers, another team built with strong D and a balanced offense.

    The Saints are a lot more like the 98 Vikings, 01 Rams, and 07 Pats than they are any of the winners on the list of the 1st post.
     
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