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Dynasty - The Hallmark of Sporting Immortality

by Mahek

There are number ones and then there are Number Ones. Just ask Dinara Safina and Serena Williams. Almost every sport has a ranking system which is an indicator of the form team/athlete at a given point in time. However, it isn't always the best indicator of the pre-eminent force in that sport, and there are times when there is really isn't a pre-eminent force in the sport.

Brazil are the number one ranked football team in the world but they were knocked out in the quarterfinals of the 2006 FIFA World Cup. No European Club has won the Champions League in consecutive seasons. Dinara Safina was ranked number one for a few months this year but she hasn't won a single Grand Slam. Kim Clijsters had a similar ascent to the top of the rankings a few years ago. Since then she has added two Grand Slam titles to her resume, one of which came in her first Grand Slam since coming back from retirement.

Test Cricket is going through a similar period of flux. There are two legitimate contenders for the number one spot but there are compelling arguments for and against each of these contenders. But this post is not about me arguing the case for one of these contenders, it is about what it really means for a team to be the best in the business.

In India when we think of dynasties we think of the Mughals, we think of the Mauryas and Guptas who are part of our rich history. But this term is used quite commonly in the sporting world, especially in America. Dynasty is a term used to describe a team that has been the undisputed best in its sport for a prolonged period of time. It is what every sporting franchise aspires to but very few have the honour of achieving it.

Here's a look at some of the great sporting dynasties since the end of the Second World War. Their achievements might put into perspective what Indians and South Africans should aspire to in order to be remembered as the best instead of just a footnote in the ICC Rankings.

Real Madrid C.F - Football (1954 to 1969)

As a Barcelona supporter, it is doubly painful to acknowledge the superiority of the Castilians over the Catalans. But 12 La Liga titles and 6 European Cups, 5 of which came in a row are the stuff legends are made of. It's hardly a surprise then that the best footballers in the world dream of playing at the Bernabeu and not Old Trafford.

Boston Celtics - NBA (1957 to 1969)


11 NBA titles in 13 years. They say it's harder to defend your title than to win it for the first time. Well, how about defending it 7 times in a row? It still remains the longest championship winning streak of any professional franchise in America.

Ferrari - Formula One (1999 to 2004)

6 consecutive Constructors Championships, 5 consecutive Drivers Championships to Michael Schumacher. The FIA had to constantly tweak the rules in an effort to level the playing field but Ferrari came out on top every time.

West Indies - Cricket (1975 to 1995)

Arguably the most dominant team in the history of cricket. Unbeaten at home during this period, they also did not lose a test series in over 15 years until Australia conquered them in the Caribbean. Series record: 25 wins, 4 losses, 10 draws. Their dominance extended to One-Day internationals as well with the Windies winning the first two World Cups and losing the finals of the third one. Their fall from greatness could not have been worse, they are ranked 8th in the world right now and their past greats are hoping they have hit rock bottom.

Australia - Cricket (1995 to 2007)

The period of Australian dominance started with the fall of the Caribbean empire. Australia were initially a bit suspect away from home, they were even more dominant than the Windies in their own backyard. Series record: 37 wins, 5 losses, 3 draws. Australia dominated the shorter version even more than their predecessors, winning three consecutive World Cups. In fact, their winning streak in World Cup matches is 23 and counting. Their downfall started at one of their strongholds - Perth was considered to be their fortress and it was breached in early 2008 by India. Since then, the Aussies have lost of their 6 series and are placed third in the ICC Rankings.

4 comments:

Purna said...

If only Real today remembered those days. As a Real fan, it is hard to acknowledge they are a classic example of too many cooks spoiling the broth.

Mahek said...

Purna, they needed General Franco's intervention to steal the great Alfredo di Stefano from Barcelona. Real would have never won all those European Cups in the 50's otherwise.

Naked Cricket said...

I'm disappointed you have not included the Indian Kabadi Dynasty.

Mahek said...

Or the Indian Hockey team of yesteryear.