FiveThirtyEight Pegs Patriots As ‘NFL’s Greatest Dynasty’ Over 1990s Cowboys


New England fans finally can relish the fact that the Patriots are the best NFL team ever. Well, that’s if you stand by FiveThirtyEight’s data.

Nate Silver’s statistics, sports, politics and culture website broke down the league’s best dynasties, and the Patriots came out on top, even over the Dallas Cowboys dynasty of the 1990s. FiveThirtyEight used Elo ratings, which, in simple terms, estimate a team’s skill level using the final scores and locations games, and Patriots teams of all different eras consistently scored high.

Here’s just a small sample of what FiveThirtyEight’s numbers showed. For reference, an average NFL team has an Elo rating of 1,500.

New England Patriots dynasty

What’s perhaps more impressive is that when you look at the entire chart, the Patriots dominate the bottom, too, which includes 1992 to 2016. From 1992 to 2000, the Patriots had far more bad and mediocre seasons than good ones.

FiveThirtyEight also took a look at how the Patriots stacked up in the “parity era” after the salary cap was introduced in 1994 — the site estimated it began in 1997 — and it got even more unfair. New England took every spot except for the three-year dynasty, which went to the 2013 to 2015 Seattle Seahawks.

Of course, the Elo system is extremely simplistic and doesn’t take into account things like injuries, bad calls, personnel changes and any number of things that could affect a team’s win-loss record. Still, you can check out all of FiveThirtyEight’s dynasty rankings here.

Thumbnail photo via Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports Images

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