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How Do You Define "Dynasty"?

What makes a dynasty? According to dictionary.com, a dynasty is a sequence of rulers from the same family, stock, or group. That definition doesn't really help us when we're talking about sports. Allow me to try to define it.

A dynasty occurs when a sports team displays a consistent level of dominance over the course of a consecutive number of years. Now, I think that definition is accurate, but does it allow us to confidently declare whether or not a team has been or currently is a dynasty? Probably not, because there are too many factors that are left up to discussion. For instance, must a team display that consistent dominance in just the regular season, or must their dominance extend into the Postseason? Are titles included when determining dynastic achievement, or can we include teams who showed a high level of play without winning their sport's respective championship?

In my opinion, it is not only preferable but necessary for a team to win titles in order to be considered a dynasty. For instance, the Buffalo Bills went to four consecutive Super Bowls from 1991-94 and lost each time. Very few people consider them a dynasty, even though they were the most dominant team in the AFC for nearly half a decade. The Dallas Cowboys, on the other hand, went to three Super Bowls in four years behind Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, and Michael Irvin, and they won all three. Many, including myself, consider them to be a dynasty.

There may have never been a more obvious dynasty in sports history than the Boston Celtics of the 1950's and '60's. Led by Bill Russell, the Celtics appeared in 10 consecutive NBA Finals and won nine of them. That is a dynasty.

Baseball has had few dynasties in its long and storied history. The first was arguably Connie Mack's Philadelphia Athletics, who won three World Series titles in four years from 1910-13. The Yankees won titles from 1936-39, in 1941, '43, '47, and again from 1949-53. There has never been a more dominant team over a longer period of time than the Yankees of that era. Clearly a dynasty. More recently, the Athletics won three straight from 1972-74 and the Yankees won three straight from 1998 to 2000.

In the 10 World Series that have taken place since the Yankees won in 2000, we have seen nine different teams win championships. Obviously, if we use titles as the measuring stick for dynasties, we certainly haven't seen one recently.

Many are beginning to wonder if the Philadelphia Phillies of the last five years are a dynasty. They have finished in first place in the NL East each year, and will do so again in 2011. In 2007, they were swept in the first round of the playoffs by the Rockies. In 2008, they cruised to a World Series championship behind Cole Hamels. In 2009, they were defeated in the Series by the Yankees, and in 2010 they lost in the NLCS to the eventual champs, the Giants. Philadelphians are claiming that anything short of a title in 2011 will constitute a lost season, considering that the Phils have been the best team in baseball for long stretches. But even if they win the Series, will they go down in history as a dynasty?

In my opinion, this Phillies team is not a dynasty—yet! I think one of the pillars of a dynasty is the ability to win consecutive titles. This Phillies team, should it win the title this season and win again in 2012, could be on the cusp of being a dynasty.

At the moment, however, with just one title to show for four-plus years of dominance, it's merely a very, very good team.

What do you think? Tweet me @rwags614.

What makes a dynasty? According to dictionary.com, a dynasty is a sequence of rulers from the same family, stock, or group. That definition doesn't really help us when we're talking about sports. Allow me to try to define it.

A dynasty occurs when a sports team displays a consistent level of dominance over the course of a consecutive number of years. Now, I think that definition is accurate, but does it allow us to confidently declare whether or not a team has been or currently is a dynasty? Probably not, because there are too many factors that are left up to discussion. For instance, must a team display that consistent dominance in just the regular season, or must their dominance extend into the Postseason? Are titles included when determining dynastic achievement, or can we include teams who showed a high level of play without winning their sport's respective championship?

In my opinion, it is not only preferable but necessary for a team to win titles in order to be considered a dynasty. For instance, the Buffalo Bills went to four consecutive Super Bowls from 1991-94 and lost each time. Very few people consider them a dynasty, even though they were the most dominant team in the AFC for nearly half a decade. The Dallas Cowboys, on the other hand, went to three Super Bowls in four years behind Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, and Michael Irvin, and they won all three. Many, including myself, consider them to be a dynasty.

There may have never been a more obvious dynasty in sports history than the Boston Celtics of the 1950's and '60's. Led by Bill Russell, the Celtics appeared in 10 consecutive NBA Finals and won nine of them. That is a dynasty.

Baseball has had few dynasties in its long and storied history. The first was arguably Connie Mack's Philadelphia Athletics, who won three World Series titles in four years from 1910-13. The Yankees won titles from 1936-39, in 1941, '43, '47, and again from 1949-53. There has never been a more dominant team over a longer period of time than the Yankees of that era. Clearly a dynasty. More recently, the Athletics won three straight from 1972-74 and the Yankees won three straight from 1998 to 2000.

In the 10 World Series that have taken place since the Yankees won in 2000, we have seen nine different teams win championships. Obviously, if we use titles as the measuring stick for dynasties, we certainly haven't seen one recently.

Many are beginning to wonder if the Philadelphia Phillies of the last five years are a dynasty. They have finished in first place in the NL East each year, and will do so again in 2011. In 2007, they were swept in the first round of the playoffs by the Rockies. In 2008, they cruised to a World Series championship behind Cole Hamels. In 2009, they were defeated in the Series by the Yankees, and in 2010 they lost in the NLCS to the eventual champs, the Giants. Philadelphians are claiming that anything short of a title in 2011 will constitute a lost season, considering that the Phils have been the best team in baseball for long stretches. But even if they win the Series, will they go down in history as a dynasty?

In my opinion, this Phillies team is not a dynasty—yet! I think one of the pillars of a dynasty is the ability to win consecutive titles. This Phillies team, should it win the title this season and win again in 2012, could be on the cusp of being a dynasty.

At the moment, however, with just one title to show for four-plus years of dominance, it's merely a very, very good team.

What do you think? Tweet me @rwags614.