- George Mason's run to the Final Four in 2006, defeating perennial powers Michigan State, North Carolina, and Connecticut along the way.
- Davidson's run to the Elite 8 behind the unbelievable Stephan Curry in 2008.
- The Tampa Bay Rays making the World Series in 2008.
- Appalachian State defeating Michigan at "The Big House" in 2007. Even though Michigan ended up not being the team everyone thought they would that year, this was undoubtedly on the top 5 greatest upsets of all time!
- Boise State defeating Oklahoma in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl. What an incredible game and all of the trick plays that worked to perfection was unbelievable! Not only did the game have a fairy tale ending but then the star player goes and proposes to the head cheerleader after the game!!!
- New York Giants defeat the previously undefeated New England Patriots to win Super Bowl XLII. One of the biggest Super Bowl upsets in history
If you pull out your trusty Webster’s dictionary and look up the word dynasty you will find the following definition: a family or group that maintains power for several generations. Some common examples of dynasties would be the Ming dynasty of China and the ancient dynasties of Egypt with the pharaohs. However when I think of dynasty neither of these are the first things that come to mind, I immediately think sports.
The concept of a sports dynasty is an easily debated subject because there are no clear-cut criteria for a team to qualify as a dynasty. Has a team achieved the status of dynasty by consistently dominating their league for years, but may not have won championships, i.e. Atlanta Braves 1991-2005, 14 straight division championships but only 1 World Series title, or the Buffalo Bills 1990-1993, 4 straight AFC championships but 0 Super Bowl titles. These are 2 current examples of tremendous teams with amazing consistency, but in my opinion they are certainly not a dynasty. To be considered one you must win multiple successive championships, end of discussion.
This past weekend another chapter was added to the greatest dynasty in all of sports, and it is one that many people may not even be aware of. Before I give you the team here are some incredible statistics based on 28 years of competition:
20 National championships, which means 71% of the time they win a championship!
Appeared in the playoffs all 28 seasons and advanced to the final 4 in 25 of those seasons.
Appeared in 23 of 28 national championship games.
Is 106-7 in NCAA tournament play, that’s a 93% winning percentage.
Have outscored opponents 3,014 to 359 in the history of the program, that’s a margin of 2,654 goals!!!
The team I’m referring to is the University of North Carolina women’s soccer team, who just won their 20th NCAA championship in 28 years on Sunday. This has to be the most incredible streak in sports history and it doesn’t appear that this streak is going to end anytime soon. Coach Anson Dorrance, who has coached since day one of the program, is a master tactician, motivator, and recruiter. I realize that there have been some questions about his behavior with his players off the field, which may be true, I cannot say, but from a pure coaching standpoint he is head and shoulders above others in his sport.
There are certainly some other amazing sports feats in history. Take for instance the Chicago Bulls from 1993-98, they won 6 titles in 8 years, and the two years they didn’t win some guy named Michael Jordan was playing baseball in Birmingham. The UCLA men’s basketball team from 1964-75 won 10 championships in 12 years. Even more recently the New England Patriots from 2001-04 won 3 Super Bowls in 4 years, and even currently you could take the Appalachian State football team that is in the running for their 4th FCS championship in the last 5 years.
There have been some amazing individual accomplishments as well such as Lance Armstrong 7 straight Tour de France titles, Jimmie Johnson 4 straight Nascar titles, and Roger Federer’s run of tennis grand slams, but I would argue that it is much harder to win in team sports where it requires the effort of multiple players working together and often requires more than a superstar to win a championship. Which is why UNC soccer is such an incredible sports feat. With the exception of UCLA, which I would say is the second greatest sports dynasty ever; the core players were the same. The Bulls had Jordan and Pippen, the Patriots had Brady, and even App St. has Armani Edwards. UNC soccer just continues to win with different players year after year after year, that’s what makes it an incredible feat and the greatest dynasty in all of sports. I guess former UNC basketball coach had it right when he said that UNC is first and foremost a soccer school! Congrats to the Lady Tar Heels!!