Anyone who wants to work in sports knows the electricity that comes with winning championships. Teams train for months, play the regular season to earn a spot in the playoffs, and compete with the best of the best to take home the trophy.
Confetti falls. Banners are raised. Parades shut down city streets. Players kiss trophies. Fans shed tears.
This is why the world of sports is so powerful — it unites people.
What’s more remarkable is when sports organizations win several championships in a span of time. These are called sports dynasties. They’re teams that have dominated their league for a long time.
If you want to work in sports, you can learn quite a bit from their success stories. After all, dynasties don’t just happen. They’re earned, just like a successful career in the sports industry.
Let’s take a look at some of the most noteworthy sports dynasties:
The Pittsburgh Penguins — Present
This team just accomplished an incredible feat. After defeating the Nashville Predators in six games, they became the first team to win the Stanley Cup back-to-back since the 1998 Detroit Red Wings.
The Penguins are currently dominating the NHL for several reasons. A lot of it comes from their coach Mike Sullivan. His motto is simple — Play the right way. Sullivan also maintained a consistency that set the mood for the team.
“My experience of being around the game is that I think that a demeanor that’s consistent is important to finding the success that you need to find throughout the course of the ebbs and flows of the season,” he said. “Sometimes, when you’re winning games, you’re not as good as you think you are. Sometimes when you’re losing games, you’re not as bad as you think you are. Usually, it’s somewhere in between.
“As a coaching staff, we try to keep our eye on the right ball. We try to have a fair assessment with our play. We try to learn from each experience. At the end of the day, our message always to them is that we believe in them.”
Takeaways: As a professional, you need your own motto or mantra to help you focus and make the right decisions during your career. Stay consistent in the ups and downs of your career.
As Sullivan says, assess yourself in a fair way, so you learn from every experience. Most importantly, when you’re trying to find work in sports, you need to believe in your skills. Just as Sullivan does with his team, you need to express your confidence in yourself.
The New England Patriots — Present
In one of the best Super Bowls of all time, the Pats managed the best comeback in history. Despite being down 28-3, they scored 31 unanswered points, defeating the Atlanta Falcons 34 to 28.
Their dynasty has been built over the course of 17 years, with coach Bill Belichick leading. His leadership style focuses on putting the team before the individual — a philosophy that anyone who wants to work in sports can benefit from.
Takeaways: Think outside of yourself and identify how you want to make a big impact on the industry. You are a part of something bigger than you.
First, identify your mission in your career, then determine how you want to approach it. Seek out learning opportunities where you work with people in your field and can contribute in a team environment.
The Chicago Bulls — 1991 to 1998
Even if you’re not a basketball fan, you know the 90s were defined as the Michael Jordan era. During these eight years, the Bulls won six NBA championships.
A lot of this comes from another strong leader, general manager Jerry Krause. He traded undesirables and built a collection of draft picks, which led to them getting Scottie Pippen and Horace Grant.
He built a team of diverse talents. They thrived because players like Pippen complemented Jordan’s skills and vice versa.
Takeaways: Prepare for the long term, as Krause did when he traded for draft picks. So if you’re pursuing work in sports writing, think about the value you get from an internship.
Also, understand the value of teamwork and recognize how your colleagues complement one another. If you’re aware of your strengths and weaknesses, you will be more aware of how your teammates complement you and how your collective talents strike a strong balance.
The New York Yankees — 1996 to 2003
During these years, manager Joe Torre led his team to win four World Series championships, three of which were consecutive from 1998 to 2000. Similar to Sullivan’s ability to lead the Penguins, Torre stayed consistent.
“I think Joe had a certain empathy because he never forgot how hard the game was,” said Andy Pettitte, one of Yankees’ top starting pitchers during these dynasty years. “He was never antsy or nervous, and I agree that his calm demeanor definitely rubbed off on us.
“If the manager wasn’t freaking out, why should we? It gave us the ability to relax and also a lot of confidence when we did play well. Whether we were winning or losing, his managing style was consistent.”
Pettitte made up the ‘Core Four,’ which also included Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, and Jorge Posada. Between these superstars and the rest of the team, the Yankees had a lot of diversity. The large age range of players created a unique team of experienced players and young players who were eager to learn.
Takeaways: Maintain your level of commitment. No matter where you work in sports, you’re bound to face setbacks, and you will fail from time to time. Just as Torre did, maintain a calm demeanor and keep your strong work ethic.
Also, seek out more experienced professionals in your workplace. You can learn a lot about what you need to succeed when you find your office’s ‘core four.’