NFLís Longest Runs of Success
Team Seasons Winning Playoffs NFL Titles
Chicago Bears 44 (1920-63) 38 10 8
Pittsburgh Steelers 40 (1972-11) 31 26 6
Miami Dolphins 34 (1970-03) 27 21 2
Green Bay Packers 27 (1921-47) 26 5 6
Cleveland Browns 24 (1950-73) 22 15 4
Oakland/LA Raiders 23 (1963-85) 21 15 3
Washington Redskins 22 (1971-92) 18 13 3
Dallas Cowboys 20 (1966-85) 20 18 2
Green Bay Packers 20 (1992-11) 16 14 2
San Francisco 49ers 18 (1981-98) 17 16 5
NFLís Greatest Quarterback Runs
Quarterbacks Team Years Total Seasons
Brett Favre-Aaron Rodgers Green Bay 1992-11 20
Joe Montana-Steve Young San Francisco 1981-98 18
John Elway Denver 1983-98 16
*Sammy Baugh Washington 1937-51 15
*Baugh split the job with Frankie Filchock in 1939 and í44
Some might argue that this latest run of Green Bay Packersí success doesnít match that of Curly Lambeauís and Vince Lombardiís great teams.
For the record, of the Packersí NFL record 13 league championships, six were won under Lambeau and five under Lombardi.
Lambeau is tied with George Halas for most NFL titles won by a head coach. In all, he was credited with coaching the Packers for 29 league seasons. And over the first 27 of those, he had only one losing team. Halas is the only coach in history to have had more winning seasons with one team, but his tenure as coach of the Chicago Bears was interrupted three times.
Lombardi won his five championships in just nine years.
The Lombardi Era certainly qualified as a dynasty, maybe the greatest in NFL history. And the 16-year period, from 1929 through 1944, when Lambeau won all six of his titles perhaps qualifies, as well. The debate would center on the length of time it took Lambeauís teams to win the crowns and whether the term dynasty would apply when a franchiseís roster is completely overhauled between its first and last championship.
Thatís why the ĎDí word has been rarely used to describe the Packers of today. Their last two Super Bowl victories came 14 years apart.
But talk of a dynasty will certainly heat up if the Packers win another Lombardi Trophy on Feb. 5. Any team with a chance to win three straight is going to be the object of intense and endless discussion on that topic. After all, only twice in the 92-year history of the NFL have teams won three in a row: The 1929-31 Packers before there were playoffs ó when the title was decided by the final standings ó and the 1965-67 Lombardi teams.
But even if the Packers fall short this year, their current run of success still ranks among the best ever.
It started in 1992 with the arrival of Ron Wolf, Mike Holmgren and Brett Favre, and it hit the 20-year mark this season with Ted Thompson, Mike McCarthy and Aaron Rodgers leading the way.
During that period, the Packers have finished with a winning record 16 times and made the playoffs 14 times.
They also can subjectively claim the longest uninterrupted streak of great quarterback play in the history of the NFL. For 20 years, theyíve had two quarterbacks: Favre, a cinch to be elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and Rodgers, who is building a similar resume.
Maybe the Packers havenít won enough Super Bowls lately to satisfy some of their fans. But, clearly, what they have accomplished over the past 20 years qualifies as one of the 10 most dominant eras in league history.
Maybe the fans in Pittsburgh have it better. Over the past 40 seasons under Chuck Noll, Bill Cowher and Mike Tomlin, the Steelers have been to the playoffs 24 times and won six Super Bowls. But the Packers have finished with a losing record only twice in their last 20 seasons; the Steelers have finished under .500 seven times in those 40 years.
During a 34-year stretch that spanned the coaching tenures of Don Shula, Jimmy Johnson and Dave Wannstedt, the Miami Dolphins finished with a winning record 27 times and qualified for the playoffs 21 times. But they won only two Super Bowls, and those were both under Shula in the first four seasons of that run.
The Dallas Cowboys enjoyed a 20-year period from 1966 to 1985 under Tom Landry where they didnít have a losing season. But they also won only two Super Bowls during that stretch and endured five straight losing seasons when it ended.
San Franciscoís powerhouse teams from 1981-98 produced five Super Bowl victories. But they, too, pretty much collapsed when it was over.
The Packersí streak figures to continue well beyond this year with Rodgers in the prime of his career. Favre and Rodgers endured some occasional rough times in the last 20 years, but neither one had what youíd label a bad year. San Francisco is the only franchise that has ever had a comparable run, but the Joe Montana-Steve Young union covered only 18 seasons.
The Packersí future, win or lose over the next four weeks, couldnít look brighter. And that means this era of Packers football could soon match the Glory Years of Lambeau and Lombardi if it hasnít already in the eyes of fans and football historians.
But it will take winning more Super BowlsÖ and winning back-to-back titles would certainly help.
Former Press-Gazette sports editor Cliff Christl offers analysis of the Green Bay Packers each week.