Hearing that the Patriots are going be or are the greatest team of all time. It is crazy to think that in my mind. Now being a big Steelers like everyone else on this Board, you are going to have excuse my arrogence. The simple fact is: the Patriots are NOT the greatest team of all time. Here is why:
-No team in this modern era can be compared with teams of the past and it has nothing to do with "speed of the game" or "better talent". It has to do with how the game is conducted and played today. It is a very different game. Rules are different. You are no longer seeing linemen literally battle in the trenches thanks to rule changes in the 80's. DBs can no longer get too physical with recievers without getting penalized. QBs are more protected then the President of the United States. Like Jack Lambert once said: "Just put a skirt on them!" You cannot hit a QB below the waist or even touch him in said area. These rule changes have provoked a much different game than in the old days. It is more wide open today. Teams are spreading the field and throwing all over the place like it is Arena Football (check Tom Brady's Stats and compare them to any AFL QB). You can't compare the way the game is played today to back then. It just is not possible.
-Then if you cannot compare the game what can you campare? Well, it sure ain't the off-season. With free agency, teams can change drastically year to year. Thus my second reason the past can't be compare with today. Comparing a team today like the Patriots to the 70's Steelers is like comparing the Roman or Spartan to the US Army of today. With drafts and everything, the Army is just too ever changing to be compared. Where as if you joined the Roman or Spartan Army you lived out your life in that army. Think of it this way, when the Browns of the 50's or the Packer's of the 60's dominated, their teams were the same year to year. The only changes came through the draft. No free agency, no big trades or salary caps. Just the draft. The Patriots added several key players thanks to draft trades, free agency and what not. The Steelers drafted success (see the 72 draft for reference) while teams of today have to buy success.
-Ok, what can you compare? The only realstic thing to compare now is how professional a team acts and if they play the game as "champions". I know it sounds silly but let me explain. Take any team from the 50's, 60's or 70's that won Championships. How do think they acted after getting Championship 2, 3 or even 4? Did they get all angry because the world hated them? Did start running up the score on weak opponents because they could? Did they act like they scored a game winning TD after scoring point number 30 or 40? Or did they go by that old cliche: "Act Like you've been there before." The 76 Steelers are perfect example of not doing that can kill you. They got caught up in what they doing and so lost that championship formula. Where as the 75, 78 and 79 Steelers welcomed the attention and did fight did through the media. The truth is: The Patriots have been there before. 3 times in this decade. So why all the immaturity? It is tarnishing the game. Yes it is still a great game, but all this "Me, me, me!" kills..............well me. Players acting like it is all about them, throwing the team out the window. Players like TO and Randy Moss or Ray Lewis just don't conduct themselves like professionals or champions. Look at Chad Johnson a pretty boy who cries when he doesn't get the ball. Any fan that saw the Steelers play in the 70's knows how selfless those teams were. Or even the Packers of the 60's. We need more respect in this league.
Now as for the "big debate". Who is the greatest team of all time? You just can't pick one. Too much change from decade to decade makes the choice hard. I think you can pick a greatest dynasty because there is one in every decade. No here are the choices:
-50's Browns: The Browns used to be very good, especially in this era. Players like Otto Graham, Lou Groza and Jim Brown were just great players and professionals. The Browns won 3 titles in 6 years (they went all 6 years). To go to 6 straight Championships even in that era was just amazing. It has never been done in this Super Bowl era and I doubt it ever will.
-60's Packers: This team had it all. "The Frozen Tundra" of the Ice Bowl, Bart Starr and the Great Vince Lombardi. Here are the numbers: 6 Titles (including 2 Super Bowls) in 8 years. That is dominance. It is almost can't compare it to anything.
-70's Steelers: Talk about going from nothing to greatness. Chuck Noll really made this special through great drafts and great coaching. The numbers: 4 Supers in 6 years. Really many feel that this team could have easily won 6 in a row. They have the most Hall of Famers out of any one team. They had 6 straight Division Titles and maybe the toughest defense ever in football.
-49ers of the 80's: Hmm.....Joe cool + Jerry Rice +Bill Walsh= 3 Super Bowls. Although they won 4 in the 80's only 3 were with Walsh and 1 with George Seifert. They won 4 Super Bowls in 9 years and 5 in 14. Not as dominating as the previous 3, but still pretty good. They had that West Coast offense we all know and love (actually hate). Offenses were starting to get more wide open and the great dynastys were falling with it.
-Cowboys of the 90's: Ok this is only one of two dynasties on this list that have 3 titles in 4 years. Fresh out hte disappointing 80's these Cryboys........I mean Cowboys came out of no were to three titles. Guys like Michael Irvin created this new image of the NFL with show-boating. QB Troy Aikmen and RB Emmitt Smith completed the "Triplets". When the Cowboys got to the Super Bowl in the 90's they usually blew out the team they were (most namely the not-so-Buff Bills). The only close Super Bowl they were was Super Bowl XXX. They were outgained 201-61 in the secind half and still came away with a 27-17 win thanks to some timely throws by Kneel.
-Patriots of Today: I didn't want to include them because their story is still being written, but I almost had to. Ok in 2001 this skinny Michigan kid led the then lovable Pats to a surprise win over the "Greatest Show on Turf". They created the art of winning Super Bowls by fields since all 3 titles were won by field Goals if not always last second. This is a classic FA team. The ony real "stars" that have been there for all 3 until now is Mike Vrable (traitor!), Tom, Teddy Bruschi and ahhhh screw it, I'm not a pats fan!
My Pick: You all know who I would pick on any day. The 70's Steelers. However, I'm going to say that it is actually a toss up between the 60's Packers and 70's Steelers. The Pack won 6, the Steelers 4. If you are scoring that in Super Bowls it is Steelers 4, Packers 2. However, after looking at both teams top to bottom, I think these are the best. You have Great coaching, great players and loyal fans who know their stuff. You have stuffing Ds (although the Steelers get the edge) and punch-you-in-your-mouth running attacks. Hall of Famers all over the place. I can't pick between them. They have two of my favorite title games in Super Bowl XIII and "The Ice Bowl" and two of my favorite coahces of all time in Chuck Noll and Vince Lombardi.