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Morning Rush: Do great NFL teams still exist?

SAN FRANCISCO — The dank, dilapidated underbelly of Candlestick Park, a stadium then-49ers owner Eddie DeBartolo famously called a "pigsty" 27 years ago, is a wretched place for a Sunday stroll, especially with a cramped NFL locker room as the ultimate destination.

Yet as I made my way through the tunnel at the southeast corner of the 'Stick in the aftermath of the Niners' 27-13 victory over the Miami Dolphins, it felt like a walk down memory lane.

While covering the Niners on a daily basis in the late '80s and early '90s, some of the beat writers and I made it a habit to wait for star safety Ronnie Lott – the greatest defensive back of his generation, and a faithful dispenser of wisdom and perspective – to close out our locker-room visits by telling us what it all meant.

Sometimes, Lott's words shredded our desired storylines. In 1990, as the two-time defending Super Bowl champs raced out to a 10-0 start, Lott's weekly mantra was, "We're not [expletive]. Great teams don't become great until November or December."

Twenty-two years later, after a second consecutive Sunday in December when perceived powers imploded and playoff contenders regressed, I wondered if Lott would amend his words to fit the 21st century NFL. In this current landscape, perhaps, great teams don't become great until January or February.

Or, scarier still: Perhaps great teams no longer exist at all.
Three of of last year's final four teams are back in the conference championship games this Sunday.

Parity can su*k my balls!!

[ Edited by zillabeast on Jan 14, 2013 at 11:10 PM ]
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