Everyone always wants to know who's next.
Who is the next team to win a Super Bowl? Who is the next team to control the NFL? Who is going to be the next New England Patriots?
The Patriots’ dynasty was as powerful and long as we'll ever see at the NFL level. Over the last two decades, New England has won 18 division titles, nine AFC championships and six Super Bowls. There's a good chance we'll never see anything like the Patriots' dynasty again. Their dominance, for such an extended period of time, stemmed from the pairing of the best head coach of all time, Bill Belichick, and the best quarterback of all time, Tom Brady. The coaching staff has blossomed into elite branches spanning across the league, and the players on the Patriots’ roster always seemed to be at their best.
Now, Belichick remains, but Brady is gone. The once elite roster looks close to the middle of the pack or even bottom half of the league, and the current state of New England's franchise signals a chance for a new dynasty to form.
Dynasties take many elements. Championship organizations must be championship level from the very top to the very bottom to capture a Super Bowl once, let alone multiple times. It requires the right roots. When observing the rest of the NFL, here are some of the teams who show signs of the roots to grow into potential dynasties.
Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs are the most obvious team since they are the reigning Super Bowl champions. Not only do they already have a title under their belt to start what could be called a dynasty, but their roots are also as strong as can be.
Quarterback Patrick Mahomes, at just 24 years old, has two Pro Bowl appearances, won Offensive Player of the Year in 2018 and has NFL MVP (2018) and Super Bowl MVP trophies in his case. As one of the most talented quarterbacks in the NFL, the end is nowhere in sight in terms of how effective he can be.
Kansas City pairs Mahomes with one of the most experienced and creative head coaches in the league, Andy Reid. A few seasons ago, it was rumored Reid was close to retirement. Now over 60 years old, it’s perfectly understandable, but Reid has looked like he’s having the time of his life these past two seasons with Mahomes. Around them is one of the most talented offenses in the NFL. Passing weapons like Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce, Mecole Hardman, Sammy Watkins and Demarcus Robinson make for an attack that can rarely be matched. Adding running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire in the 2020 NFL Draft only increases the mismatch potential.
Winning a Super Bowl is hard; winning more than one in a single regime is even harder. I'm not handing the Chiefs more Vince Lombardi trophies yet. But they certainly have the look of a repeat team.
When talking about the beginning of a dynasty, what better place to start than with the reigning NFL MVP; who happens to play quarterback, has one of the most unique skill sets the game has ever seen and is only 23 years old.
No one could stop Lamar Jackson last season. His 2019 regular-season statistics — 3,127 passing yards, 36 passing touchdowns and just six interceptions along with 1,206 rushing yards rushing and seven rushing touchdowns — made him an easy choice for MVP.
While the Ravens came up short in the postseason, there's no reason to believe they can't make another few good cracks at a championship.
The defense behind Jackson is fierce. With veteran head coach John Harbaugh at the helm, the defense is filled with talented starters at all three levels. It's a good mix of both young and old — something that is necessary to make title runs. This defense doesn't seem to be slowing down anytime soon and added Patrick Queen, Justin Madubuike and Malik Harrison via the draft.
The offense, around Jackson, is quite ideal right now. Baltimore has elite speed at the wide receiver position and a complimentary run game. The biggest question mark for a potential Ravens dynasty brewing is what might happen with offensive coordinator Greg Roman.
Roman orchestrated the 49ers' offense when quarterback Colin Kaepernick's dual-threat ability took the league by storm, which almost resulted in a Super Bowl. Roman was on record during the last offseason saying the Ravens threw out their playbook and totally rebuilt their identity around what Jackson could do, something not ever coasch has the creativity to do o the willingness to do. The 47-year-old Roman is still the offensive coordinator in Baltimore, but more success with unique quarterbacks will likely lead to a promotion somewhere around the league.
"This guy is calling Josh Allen a dynasty quarterback?!"
Calm down, Twitter, there's a lot more that goes into dynasties than just that.
Are the Bills first on my list for teams that could be dynasties over the next five or so years? No, and the reason is largely due to the uncertainty with their quarterback position. But over the last few years, general manager Brandon Beane and head coach Sean McDermott have built a top-notch, sustainable organization and that is worth noting.
Allen has improved in his two years as an NFL passer, but there is no telling where this third season will go. In 2019, he threw for over 1,000 more passing yards with double the touchdowns and fewer interceptions than he did his rookie season. But he still has yet to display a consistent level of play that can rival that of the top quarterbacks even in his own conference, let alone the entire league. Allen must grow in order to be the signal-caller of a potential dynasty, especially in the area of accuracy inside structure as well as deep down the field.
However, Buffalo is strong around Allen from its decision-makers to playmakers.
On defense, the Bills have their cornerstone set at all three levels with Ed Oliver on the line, Tremaine Edmunds in the middle at and Tre'Davious White as a shutdown player in the secondary. Buffalo has a solid mix of young and veteran talent, and the framework can be adjusted and improved without a total rebuild; it is a defense that should be able to maintain positive momentum with the right moves.
On offense, the biggest area of need for the Bills was their lack of playmakers in the passing game. They addressed that in a big way by making a trade for Vikings star receiver Stefon Diggs. Diggs should be able to help Allen out right away, and if Allen still struggles with a player like Diggs — as well as John Brown and Cole Beasley — that can help the Bills make their decisions on what to do with Allen in the future.
Buffalo has a solid foundation on offense, defense and within the coaching staff and front office.
San Francisco 49ers
General manager John Lynch has built quite the winner on the West Coast. After the 49ers went 4-12 in 2018, they made a big turnaround in 2019 with a Super Bowl berth.
San Francisco has an innovative head coach, a fiery defensive coordinator and a lot of young stars at the right spots.
On offense, Jimmy Garoppolo is efficient enough to run coach Kyle Shanahan’s offense to a tee. Garoppolo is surrounded by some of the best young playmakers in tight end George Kittle and wide receiver Deebo Samuel. That’s backed with a strong running back room, which features Raheem Mostert and Tevin Coleman, and one of the best offensive lines in the league.
On defense, the 49ers have a budding (perhaps already arrived) star in linebacker Fred Warner. He should be the centerpiece of the defense for years to come. What he can do from a play recognition and coverage standpoint is already at the top of his position. San Francisco boasts Nick Bosa, Arik Armstead, Dee Ford and now Javon Kinlaw on a defensive line that can match up with any offense.
The 49ers have innovation in the front office and playmaking ability on the field. They have a good veteran presence, but their best players are young, which is ideal since they have already made one Super Bowl run with this group.
The head coach-quarterback combination is what enabled the Patriots' dynasty to take hold and control the league for years. In Arizona, the Cardinals hoping Kliff Kingsbury and Kyler Murray can have similar chemistry and success.
Even in just his rookie season, Murray proved to be one of the most dynamic quarterbacks. He showed growth in processing, confidence and decision making. At the same time, Kingsbury was also learning his way in his first year in the NFL; what worked well and what didn't, but the important part was his creativity. It's fair to not just project personal growth from both the coach and passer, because when there is that growth, it has a chance to take a big leap, catching the league off guard.
Team Selecting No. 1 in 2021
There is a good chance that whatever team has the No. 1 pick will have the fast track on the next dynasty with Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence.
There are two teams that could really get the jump on their next regime with a player like Lawrence: the Jaguars and Panthers.
Jacksonville is tied for the worst odds to win the Super Bowl, which usually means a team is much close to having a down year and a potential top pick. Through the Jaguars have been on a roller coaster since their AFC championship run a few years ago, their roster has the makings of a bounce back. On defense, they the tandem of defensive end Josh Allen and EDGE K'Lavon Chaisson, Myles Jack in the middle and C.J. Henderson as a shutdown player in the secondary. While Jacksonville’s offensive line might need some shifting, the receiving corps of D.J. Chark, Dede Westbrook and Laviska Shenault Jr. has plenty of playmaking potential.
If the Jaguars are selecting No. 1, they're likely cleaning house in the front office. Whoever the new general manager is will have two first-round picks to work with, and if they're picking at the top of the draft, they'll be able to get the exact coach they want to pair with their top pick.
The Panthers’ roster is in rebuild mode after moving on from Ron Rivera this past offseason. New head coach Matt Rhule is no stranger to successful rebuilds and to get his hands on a guy like Lawrence could mean the world for a coach who already has plenty of job security. Carolina has young dynamic weapons on offense and running back Christian McCaffrey to work with.
These teams are ready to make the jump from worst to first, but dynasties often revolve around a big-time quarterback selection. Next year's class is shaping up to have one that brings dynasty potential.
- Aug 10, 2022
- Aug 08, 2022