Undrafted – The Network

So you want to build an NFL Dynasty?

What parts do you need to build an NFL Dynasty? It is a question oft asked and impossible to answer, as we see incredible players and teams go an entire career without a Superbowl. Sometimes teams look like they have the beginning of something big, but they are quickly found out and they end up being one and done. So if it is impossible to answer, why am I trying to? Well, I think I might have it worked out.

Protect the house

We saw at Superbowl LV how important an Offensive line is, while the Buccaneers absolutely played well, with an semblance of protection that game is played at a very different pace. The best example of the lack of investment in the Offensive line bringing down a promising dynasty is the Seattle Seahawks. For years, the complete lack of buy in to a strong Offensive line, meant Russell Wilson has to improvise on every play.

Image Credit – NFL.com

Following the Demolition of Denver at Superbowl XLVIII, the Seahawks were being crowned as the next Dynasty to take over the NFL. The Successors to the New England Juggernaut that had dominated the NFL, they had a dominant Defense (more on that later), a franchise Quarterback (that too) and an great Head Coach (Spoiler Alert), however the wheels came off when they tried to defend their Superbowl and since then Wilson has not stopped running

Defense absolutely wins championships

It is the old adage, is it a cliché? Yes, is it true? You betcha! Why then do so many teams work towards a great offense and forgo their defense? Well it is has a lot to do with the fans. This past Superbowl, fans got to see a great Offensive performance by the Buccaneers, which was enabled by a Defensive masterclass, however all the headlines point to Brady and his 7 rings.

Image Credit – Bucs Wire – USA Today

Another example of Defensive disrespect is that of Superbowl LIII, the game ended 13-3 and that was due to two extremely good Defenses who stopped the Offense getting going. This is incorrectly labelled boring by a vast majority of fans. This in turn forces teams to move for more Offense at the detriment to the unit that will actually win them the titles. Look back at any era, any dynasty and I can say without a doubt that they had a great Defense.

Free agent frenzy

In the most part, teams will tell you, to build anything good, you need to draft well. This is absolutely true, and one good draft can turn a perennial loser into a contender within one season. With that being said, for the most part even the strongest draft class is only made up of contributors in the first year, and while the players may become Hall of Fame worthy, early on they are in a fight for their place as nothing is taken for granted in the NFL.

Image Credit – NFL Analysis Network

An interesting statistic states that no Rookie Quarterback has ever taken their team to the Superbowl in their first year with the team. Surely though this stat is a no brainer as any new player will come into a team and need time to adjust. Well, another statistic may surprise you then. Two Quarterbacks for three teams have won the Superbowl their first year with a new team as the starter, Kurt Warner with the Rams and Tom Brady, twice, with the Patriots and the Buccaneers. Now granted Tom Brady was in his second year with the Patriots, but it was his first as a starter and even if you take that out, he still has the record for his time in Tampa.

Building through free agency is the modern day dynasty builder. In years gone by, teams would draft and slowly build their team into a contender. Nowadays teams have to win early and often and the right set of free agents is, for the most part, better than any Rookie class. Take the Bucs for example, all touchdowns in their Superbowl victory were scored by Free Agents that past offseason, none of whom were brought into the league by the Bucs.

The keys to the Franchise

You all knew this was coming, without a doubt one of the biggest, if not THE biggest need when building your dynasty is a Franchise Quarterback. They are the leader on the team and the main producer of touchdowns. Great Defenses cannot win anything if they are left on the field for 45 minutes. Teams have won the big game without a Franchise Quarterback, but no one makes a dynasty without one.

Image Credit – ESPN

So how then do you get the elusive Franchise Quarterback to stick, well I am afraid it is a little boom or bust really. Joe Montana in the 3rd and Tom Brady in the 6th are the outliers and most top draw players at the most important spot in the NFL are for the most part first round picks. This can be great if you hit the big time, however with the league changing to become much more fickle, the same time to learn is no longer available. We will not see another Brett Favre – Aaron Rodgers situation, and so hitting the big time is so important.

Working towards the greater good

In the modern day NFL, it seems the truly great teams are beginning to evolve. There is a difference between being the best at your position, and being the highest paid at your position, which is something most players seem to have forgotten. A shining example of this is Tom Brady, without question he is the Greatest Quarterback to ever play the game, however he is not paid in the top 10 Quarterbacks in the league. Following the 2020 season, Brady ranks 14th in Quarterback salary, therefore this in itself confirms that most talented does not mean highest paid.

In the same offseason that Superbowl champion Wide Receiver Mike Evans came out publicly to say he would take less money to keep the Superbowl winning team together, others shouted about wanting more. Xavien Howard for example had an excellent season, with 10 interceptions and was seen by many as the uncrowned NFL Defensive Player of the Year. He had previously signed a massive extension in 2019 but after one good season wants more money. Dak Prescott signed a new deal making his the second highest paid Quarterback in the league, for a team who now have no money to invest around him.

Image Credit – BBC

Champions work together for the greater good, and this is prevalent in other sports too, just look at the years the Miami Heat won with their big three, Dwayne Wade sacrificed his own earnings in order to bring the players necessary to win to South Beach. I understand the NFL is a inconsistent league and has a what have you done for me lately culture, but the best teams make sacrifices. Their pockets may be lightly, but the ring on their finger and the immortality that comes with it is forever.

Building that next dynasty

Right so we have the tools, what do we do next? Well we build the ultimate dynasty following 5 simple tips, grab some paper, a pen and your clipboard, lets get started.

Image Credit – USA Today’s FTW
  1. Invest in the Offensive line to protect your number 1 asset.
  2. Build a formidable Defense filled with contributors
  3. Be aggressive in Free Agency, do not be afraid
  4. Find the franchise Quarterback
  5. Do not be selfish, work towards the greater good.

If you follow these 5 simple and easy tips, then I guarantee that you will have a team built for dominant success for the next decade, minimum and if not, well you did not follow the correct plan. How hard is it really to build a dominant offensive line, a dominant defense, always hit perfectly in Free Agency, find the Franchise Quarterback first try and find players who only care about the process and do not care about money?

Oh you say it is nearly impossible, that is why even the most dominant dynasties do not last, oh well, okay then, I guess back to the drawing board!

In conclusion, good luck, you are going to need it!

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