With the Super Bowl approaching, now seems like a good time to think about the great franchises in football history. And I mean all of history, including the half century or so before Super Bowls began.
The Cowboys' success is really quite stunning. They're often called "America's Team", and are consistently rated as the most valuable franchise in the NFL. This shouldn't have happen. The Cowboys are in Dallas, not New York or L.A. Teams from Dallas in other sports are basically irrelevant, yet this 60s era expansion team has caught hold of the nation's attention above teams from larger markets with longer histories. The 5 Super Bowl titles, and 8 total appearances are a big part of it, but the mystique goes deeper than that.
With 6 Super Bowl wins, the Steelers have a great case as the top franchise of the past 40 years. Most don't realize that in the preceding 30+ years of the franchise, the Steelers played only 1 playoff game and lost it in a blowout. Very interesting for a team many think of as a traditional power.
Another power house with great tradition back to the 30s. With 5 titles, and 5 Super Bowl appearances, there's really no way you can rate the history and not have the Skins as one of the important teams.
The other surviving member of the '40s AAFC. They didn't have the immediate jawdropping success that the Browns did, but when I was growing up, the 49ers were THE team. Bill Walsh architected the greatest dynasty of the Super Bowl era and did so it flamboyant fashion.