Dynasties continue to dominate
Sports dynasties aren’t dead in the 21st Century after all.
Clemson vs. Alabama, Part 4, in the College Football Playoffs occurs Monday night.
From 2015 to 2018 the NBA Finals featured the Cleveland Cavaliers versus the Golden State Warriors for world basketball surpemacy.
In Major League Baseball, the Los Angeles Dodgers have won every National League West Division title since 2013 and have appeared in — and lost — both the 2017 and 2018 World Series.
In the meantime, the Boston Red Sox have won World Series titles in 2004, 2007, 2013 and 2018 — not bad for a team whose title drought had reached 86 years. Cleveland fans are quick to point out that the Indians’ drought now is in its seventh decade.
In the National Hockey League — where the Montreal Canadiens have appeared in 34 Stanley Cup Finals, but none since 1993 (that’s 25 plus years now!) — three teams, Pittsburgh, Chicago and Los Angeles, have together won the Cup eight times in the last 10 years. The only breakthroughs were the Washington Capitals in 2018 and the Boston Bruins in 2011.
Even in the parity-laden NFL, where the company line is that “on any given Sunday …,” the New England Patriots have appeared in three of the last four Super Bowls and in eight since February 2002.
Are dynasties good or bad for these team sports and for the fans who root for the also-rans?
As a fan of Cleveland franchises in baseball (last title in 1948) and football (last title in pre-Super Bowl era of 1964), I have to say that I don’t enjoy seeing the “blue bloods” of the respective sports continue to dominate when the playoff spots are handed out. The law of averages would have to even out, don’t you think?
The Pittsburgh Steelers have gone through a 46-year stretch appearing in 60 playoff games, with 25 of them occurring in the 21st Century. The only other time they appeared in an NFL playoff game before 1972 was in 1947 when the Steelers lost a tie-breaker to its cross-state rival, the Philadelphia Eagles.
Meanwhile, the Steelers’ hated conference rival the New England Patriots, have appeared in 54 playoff games all-time, with 37 of them occurring since 2000.
Another NFL 21st Century power, the Seattle Seahawks, have appeared in 37 playoff games in their history and 28 , including their three Super Bowl appearances, since they switched from the AFC to the NFC at the turn of the century.
The Cleveland Browns, meanwhile, have one playoff appearance and two winning seasons in the 18 of this century.
Watching the Steelers and their fans begging for a Browns win may have turned the worm. But to complete the transition, the Browns’ front office must make a good decision in hiring its next coach.
The vote in this corner is to keep the current Williams-Kitchens coaching team on board for 2019. Maybe that decision can trigger a new 21st Century dynasty. Browns fans can only hope.