Larry MacDougall/Associated Press
5) NHL: Edmonton Oilers, 1983-1990
The Oilers won five championships in seven years (1984, 1985, 1987, 1988, 1990). They had the greatest player in the history of not only hockey, but perhaps of all sports: Gretzky.
That's how great the Great One is -- you don't need to hear his first name to know who I am talking about.
He was the best, but here's the thing -- the Oilers traded (more like sold) Gretzky to the Kings in 1988 and still won a title in 1990 based on the strength of the team. The Chicago Bulls didn't win without Michael Jordan. The Los Angeles Lakers struggled after Magic had to retire. So, yeah. That's significant.
Also, quit crying, Montreal Canadiens fans; there were six teams in the NHL until 1967. SIX!
Lennox Mclendon/Associated Press
4) NFL: San Francisco 49ers, 1981-1994
Hear me out. Give me a chance. Don't start getting all mad before you even read this.
The 49ers were the first to five Super Bowls. The most impressive thing is, they did it with two different coaches (Bill Walsh and George Seifert) and two different quarterbacks (Joe Montana and Steve Young) -- and the first two titles didn't include Jerry Rice. Boom. Dynasty.
I'm sure Packers fans would point to Vince Lombardi's run in Green Bay. And that's quaint. But the NFL was in competition with the AFL during the 1960s, which means talent was diluted. I'm happy for you, but you're not the greatest.
I also considered the 1970s Steelers. Actually, I didn't, because the NFL still wasn't really a thing in the '70s -- not like today. Hell, back then, baseball teams would routinely win the "Superstars" team competitions on ABC. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed it. But I also liked "Land of the Lost," too. Go back and watch either. The difference is striking.
3) NBA: Los Angeles Lakers, 1979-1991
Yes, the Celtics won a lot of titles in the 1960s -- when there were nine NBA teams. Yes, the Bulls were impressive. But Michael Jordan didn't parachute into the NBA in 1991. He was there for seven years while Bird and Magic did their thing.
The team with the biggest gripe could be the Spurs, which FiveThirtyEight.com says had the greatest dynasty, based on metrics.
I'm going to use anecdotal analysis and say the Lakers probably would have taken the Spurs in six. Tim Duncan and David Robinson might have handled Kareem. They'd have no answer for Magic. The dude had 42 points, seven assists and 15 rebounds. As a rookie. Playing power forward in the NBA Finals. AS. A. ROOKIE. He'd be such a matchup nightmare. (And if Shaq and Kobe had been able to co-exist, what would've befallen San Antonio?)
2) MLB: New York Yankees, 1947-1964
Honestly, you could just put New York Yankees, and that would be it for baseball. Even through the terrible Don Mattingly years in the 1980s. (OK, he wasn't terrible -- but the team wasn't great.) In any event, the 1947-1964 stretch was very impressive. The Yankees won 15 of 18 AL pennants and 10 World Series, including five in a row.
So how are they not No. 1?
This comes down to the way baseball operated then. The only teams that mattered during that era (mostly in the 1950s) were the Yankees, Dodgers and Giants. The rest of the MLB was developmental talent. Kind of like WWE jobbers. The Indians, Braves and Pirates were like better versions of the secondary champions, like Zack Ryder, The Miz and Dolph Ziggler -- not like the big three of that era.
David J. Phillip/Associated Press
1) NFL: New England Patriots, 2001-today
You're all sick of the Patriots. Mostly because they're beating your favorite team. I get it. Let's look at this objectively. They're the best ever.
Four Super Bowls. Six conference titles. A 16-0 season. They've missed the playoffs twice since 2001 -- and had nine and 11 wins in those seasons, the last one without Tom Brady.
That's the biggest thing. The only constants: Brady and Bill Belichick. The Patriots jettison players who are still good -- Wes Welker, Logan Mankins, Randy Moss -- and never seem to pay. Hell, they traded Jamie Collins and finished with the No. 1 scoring defense. Unlike the Packers, Steelers and Canton Bulldogs, the Patriots have won in an era when player turnover is at an all-time high. I swear to great Caesar's ghost, if they win the Super Bowl without Gronk, I'm going to be even more insufferable about this.
None of it matters; the Patriots keep winning. Belichick is Darth Sidious. (Yes, the Emperor. Sheesh.)
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