The 2010s have brought us a rarity in the modern world of sports — all four major sports leagues have had a dynasty team in this decade.
Creating a professional sports dynasty is a one of a kind achievement, especially in today’s world.
With the way professional sports leagues are designed in the modern era — with the predominance of salary caps, as well as all four major North American sports leagues featuring at least 30 teams — dynasties aren’t as common as they once were. Any team can win a single championship, but it takes something special to win multiple championships on a fairly consistent basis.
Welcome to the 2010s which, following the New England Patriots’ victory in Super Bowl LIII on Sunday night, can now be known as the age of professional sports dynasties. The NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB have all had a dynasty team in this decade, which is a pretty incredible feat.
Decades ago, in like the 1940s, ‘50s and ‘60s, this might not have been considered quite so incredible. Back then, pro sports leagues were significantly smaller, making it much easier for one team to win multiple championships. However, pro sports began to modernize around the early 1970s, and have been consistently growing to this day. But since that modernization, there hasn’t been a decade in which all four sports have had a dynasty team (in this case, defined as a team that wins at least three championships in the span of the decade).
That is, until the 2010s. In this decade, certain teams have figured out how to win and to remain consistent for long periods of time, and it could be paving the way for a future in which dynasties are the norm in professional sports.
Here’s a look at each league’s teams that have achieved dynasty status in this decade and how they compare to dynasties of the past.
NFL: New England Patriots
By defeating the Los Angeles Rams 13-3 in Super Bowl LIII to claim their third title in five years, the Patriots pulled off something that no other NFL team has: They achieved dynasty status in back-to-back decades.
The Pats have won three Super Bowls in the 2010s decade, winning in 2014, 2016 and 2018. They also won three Super Bowls in the 2000s, winning in 2001, 2003 and 2004.
Since the original NFL merged with the original AFL in 1970 to form the modern National Football League, it is the only league to have featured a dynasty team in each decade since. The Pittsburgh Steelers won three titles in the ‘70s, the San Francisco 49ers did it in the ‘80s and the Dallas Cowboys pulled it off in the ‘90s.
Since then, it’s been the Patriots, and only the Patriots. And the scary thing is that Tom Brady and Bill Belichick aren’t finished, meaning there could be even more championships on the way.
NBA: Golden State Warriors
Just like the Patriots, it seems like many fans are ready to see the end of the Golden State Warriors dynasty as well. But whether you love the Dubs or you hate them, you have to be impressed with how they’ve completely revolutionized 3-point shooting in the NBA. Thanks to Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, the 3-point shot is their bread and butter, and they make it look easy.
The result? Four straight appearances in the NBA Finals, and championship victories in 2015, 2017 and 2018. The Warriors are as dominant of a dynasty as we’ve seen in the NBA, a league in which playing for dynasty teams are how you become legendary.
Whether it be the Shaq-Kobe Lakers of the 2000s, or the Michael Jordan Bulls of the ‘90s, or the Larry Bird Celtics or the Magic Johnson Lakers of the ‘80s, the NBA has seen a ton of great dynasties. The Warriors of the 2010s are as good as any of them.
By the time it’s all said and done, it’s hard to guess how many more titles they will bring to the Bay Area.
NHL: Chicago Blackhawks
Before Gary Bettman became the commissioner of the NHL in 1993, it was pretty common to see teams win multiple championships in a short period of times, often several in a row. Heck, the Montreal Canadiens won six Stanley Cups in the 1970s, the New York Islanders won four straight in the 1980s and the Edmonton Oilers won four in five years in the ‘80s as well.
But we have to remember that the pre-Bettman NHL was a much smaller league. After he took over, he greatly expanded the league to where it can now stand toe-to-toe with the other North American sports leagues; the NHL is currently at 31 teams, and will be adding a 32nd team in Seattle in a few years.
As expected, dynasties became less common as the league expanded. But that didn’t stop the Chicago Blackhawks, behind two all-time greats in Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, from unleashing one of the most dominant hockey dynasties we’ve seen in a long time. They won three titles in 2010, 2013 and 2015.
MLB: San Francisco Giants
The San Francisco Giants might not immediately jump to mind when you think of Major League Baseball dynasties, but sure enough, they managed to win three championships in a span of five seasons. They defeated the Texas Rangers in the 2010 World Series, then beat the Detroit Tigers in 2012 and the Kansas City Royals in 2014.
It’s amazing how those Giants teams can easily get swept under the rug, as we often don’t hear much discussion about them. When we think of a baseball dynasty, we tend to think of the New York Yankees three-peating in the late ‘90s.
But the Giants of the early 2010s had some pretty memorable players, such as Buster Posey and Madison Bumgarner, and it’s impossible to argue with three titles in five years.