Published: Jan. 27, 2017 at 12:12 p.m.
Updated: Jan. 27, 2017 at 01:29 p.m.

First to seven Super Bowl titles? Steelers, Pats, Cowboys in hot pursuit


As we head toward Super Bowl LI, the 51st installment of this grand NFL tradition, there are six NFL franchises with four-plus Lombardi Trophies in tow:

6: Pittsburgh Steelers
5: Dallas Cowboys
5: San Francisco 49ers
4: New England Patriots
4: Green Bay Packers
4: New York Giants

Pittsburgh's alone at the top, but given Ben Roethlisberger's recent retirement chatter, is the Steelers' Lombardi lead vulnerable going forward? New England could notch a fifth title in Super Bowl LI, while the Cowboys' future looks exceedingly bright with their dynamic rookie duo leading the way.

So, which franchise do you think will be the first to win seven Lombardi Trophies?

New England will continue hunting Lombardis as long as Bill Belichick's on the sideline
The obvious picks are the Steelers (needing just one more) and the Cowboys (because they have Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott to build around for the next 10 years). But I am selecting New England. Brady is ageless -- it's truly amazing. I think he gets No. 5 next week with a shot at one more. Beyond that, their next quarterback is key.

The AFC East still has a ways to go to catch the Pats. That assures them a home playoff game every year (and, in many years, a bye). Bill Belichick still has plenty left in the tank -- figure New England's got another 10 years with him. Some people wonder how Belichick will fair when Brady eventually hangs 'em up. Well, since Brady became the starter in 2001, Belichick is 14-5 in the games No. 12 has missed -- with three different QBs.
Tough to bet against the Brady-Belichick Pats, but the Steelers are right on the doorstep
I'm going to go with the team that needs just one more: Pittsburgh. Winning the Super Bowl isn't easy. With Tom Brady and Bill Belichick partnered in New England, it's hard to go against them, given all they've done in the new millennium. However, even if the Patriots win this year, they still need two more championships. That's why I'm going with the Steelers. They do have a good nucleus of players and could put together a postseason run if they fill a few holes in the offseason.
Cowboys' window just opening with Dak and Zeke
A lot of this depends on how long Ben Roethlisberger keeps playing. But ultimately, it comes down to which team has the best window of opportunity to win a few titles. The Dallas Cowboys are poised to have years of postseason appearances with Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott leading the way behind a superb, young offensive line. I think the Cowboys will continue to build their defense and be regular contenders.
Pittsburgh's well positioned to snag Lombardi No. 7 in the next five years
The Pittsburgh Steelers will be the first franchise to win seven world titles. Yeah, Ben Roethlisberger's dramatic retirement flirtation gives you pause, but the Steelers are well positioned to win another ring in the next five years. They have one of the most explosive offenses in football and their young defense is rounding into form. I would expect to see them in the winner's circle soon, given their personnel and coaching staff.
I'll roll with the Steelers, under the assumption Big Ben will indeed be back
Going with the Steelers here. I think there is a better chance Ben Roethlisberger is merely thinking out loud (and he'll continue to play) than of the Cowboys winning multiple Super Bowls with their current group. The potential is there for Dallas, but we've seen promising rookies come back to Earth quickly (Rick Mirer, RGIII). And honestly, it's hard for even the strongest teams to repeat or string together multiple Super Bowl wins. Look no further than the Patriots, who have dominated the NFL for much of the last decade, but only snagged one Lombardi in that time period.

The issue for the Packers and Giants is that they need three more Super Bowl wins, and their quarterbacks are in their mid-30s. The issue for the 49ers is the 49ers.
With dynamic offense, Cowboys poised to be first to seven titles
I think it's going to be the Cowboys because they have the offensive players in place to win a Super Bowl. The offense features quarterback Dak Prescott and running back Ezekiel Elliott, who are playing behind three All-Pro offensive linemen ( Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick and Zack Martin -- all 27 years old and younger). At the receiver position, the Cowboys have two very good players in Dez Bryant and Cole Beasley. Punter Chris Jones and kicker Dan Bailey are solid pieces for the special teams unit.

The defense needs help but will most likely receive a giant boost if Jaylon Smith is able to play like he did at Notre Dame before suffering the injury that forced him to miss all of 2016. The Cowboys' defense can be helped by an offense that controls the ball and time of possession. It's not easy to win a Super Bowl, more or less two, but Dallas has the players, staff and management to help them do so.

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