Danny Kelly of SB Nation put together the criteria of what it takes to build a dynasty and it is really intriguing when you think about it.
First up is what a team needs to have in order to start the process of building a dnyasty:
1) A top-tier franchise quarterback
2) A talented defense with one or more tough, charismatic leaders
3) A head coach with a well-defined system and strictly practiced philosophy
4) Harmony between ownership, front office, and coaching staff
For those that think Joe Flacco is not a top-tier franchise quarterback.... get outta here. Looking down this list, the Ravens have every aspect pretty solidly locked up.
- Joe Flacco - ✔
- Top-5 defense with stars like Terrell Suggs and C.J. Mosley - ✔
- Top-3 head coach in John Harbaugh that has been one of the most winningest active coaches in the NFL - ✔
- Steve Bisciotti staying out of the way to let Harbaugh and general manager Ozzie Newsome do their jobs - ✔
Whether or not Joe Flacco is #elite, he's at least a franchise quarterback who has played some of his best football in the postseason. The offense looked good last year -- finishing eighth in weighted DVOA -- but similar to Seattle, Baltimore's identity lies with their defense. The Ravens consistently field tough, hard-nosed defenses and always seems to have the intimidation game on lockdown. They're balanced. John Harbaugh has provided consistent, intense leadership as head coach since 2008, and with Ozzie Newsome, they have one of the most respected GMs in the game. Newsome's ability to build the roster from the draft with such consistency is a major reason I'm bullish on Baltimore -- he seems to have the Belichickian foresight of when to move on from veterans, and the system works to develop from within. Scouting and coaching work hand in hand.
Continuity, a very specific philosophy, a recent Super Bowl victory under their belt -- yeah, I would say that the Ravens are still a team that we could look at as a dynasty when we're sitting here five years down the road.
Kelly is completely right. Regardless of Flacco's stats, the guy puts up wins especially in the postseason. A top defense that has helped carry an improving offense, the Ravens are hard-hitting on both sides of the ball currently. With a new offensive coordinator and some new offensive weapons, the Ravens could find themselves with a top-5 offense and defense in 2015 en route to another Super Bowl.
While everyone agrees that a dynasty requires multiple Super Bowl victories, the exact number isn't really a definitive. However, two recent Championships under their belts, the Ravens would be making one hell of a case to being considered a dynasty.
Especially when you figure that the team overall is still really young. Flacco just turned 30 and has a younger offensive line locked up for some time. His offensive weapons are all really young outside of Steve Smith Sr and Justin Forsett, but both have young players behind them that look the part of future starters.
The defense has been the standard in the NFL over the last 20 years and little has changed on that front. C.J. Mosley took over for Ray Lewis last season and looked absolutely amazing on his way to a Pro Bowl. Edge rushers Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil are getting older, but like the offense, have players behind them chomping at the bit to hit the quarterback. A tough defensive line that is full of young players that are stars in the making and a secondary that is scary when healthy. The Ravens even have one of the best special teams units in all of football too in case that matters at all towards the goal of building a dynasty.
If the football gods look down on Baltimore this season and the balls bounce properly, we'll be reporting on the Ravens hoisting another trophy and planning their parade; just a part of the dynasty they are currently building.