Winning one championship is hard, let alone two in a row. Three championships in a row? Well, that is the stuff of legend, a feat that very few teams have been able to over to achieve. That is the challenge that awaits the Kansas City Chiefs in 2024 as they look to become the first NFL team to win three straight Super Bowls.
Watching Travis Kelce discuss the prospect of a three-peat from the podium Sunday night conjured up memories of former 49ers running back Roger Craig doing the same thing after San Francisco vanquished the Broncos in Super Bowl XXIV to cap off back-to-back titles. Unfortunately for Craig and his teammates, San Francisco came close but ultimately fell short of becoming the first team to win three Super Bowls. Will the Chiefs have better luck? We’ll find out in 2024.
As mentioned above, the list of teams that have won three straight titles is a small one. It’s an even smaller list when you narrow it downs to teams that have done so this century.
Let’s take a look at the list of three-peat winners Kelce, Andy Reid, Patrick Mahomes, Chris Jones and the rest of the Chiefs look to join next season.
Pro sports franchises that have won three consecutive titles
2000-02 Los Angeles Lakers (NBA)
This group was spearheaded by the legendary duo of Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal. Coached by Hall of Famer Phill Jackson, the Lakers defeated Reggie Miller’s Pacers, Allen Iverson’s 76ers and Jason Kidd’s Nets in the Finals from 2000-02. Shaq won Finals MVP each year, but Bryant was every bit as integral to the Lakers’ success in those series. For example, his eight points in overtime in Game 4 of the 2000 Finals — which occurred after Shaq had fouled out — led the Lakers to victory and a 3-1 series lead.
1998-00 New York Yankees (MLB)
This team was stacked. Led by Derek Jeter, the Bronx Bombers won four titles over a five-year span that included three straight. It would have been four straight titles if not for the epic performance by Diamondbacks pitchers Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling in Game 7 of the 2001 World Series.
Each Yankees team was great during this run, but the 1998 team is historic. That group won an MLB-record 125 total games that included a four-game sweep of Tony Gwynn’s Padres in the World Series.
1997-00 Houston Comets (WNBA)
The Comets were champions in each of the WNBA’s first four seasons. Houston’s incomparable lineup in those years included hoops legends Tina Thompson, Sheryl Swoops and Cynthia Cooper, the MVP of the first four Finals.
1996-98 Chicago Bulls (NBA)
The second three-peat for Michael Jordan’s Bulls during the 1990s. This one featured the ’96 squad that won a then-NBA record 70 regular-season games. Chicago finished its magical ’96 season with a six-game series win over a talented Supersonics team that was led by Gary Payton and Shawn Kemp.
Chicago followed that season up with two more title runs that ended with Finals wins over the Jazz, who were led by the formidable duo of John Stockton and Karl Malone. Jordan had several memorable moments in these Finals that included his buzzer-beating, game-winning shot in Game 1 of the ’97 Finals, his memorable “Flu Game” four games later, and of course, his final shot as a Bull that sealed the Chicago’s sixth title in eight years.
1991-93 Chicago Bulls (NBA)
After years of coming up short in the playoffs, Jordan and the Bulls broke through in 1991 and followed that up with two more titles before Jordan’s shocking first retirement. The first title was captured against the Lakers and Magic Johnson, the NBA’s dynasty team a decade earlier. Chicago successfully defended its title with Finals wins over Clyde Drexler’s Trail Blazers and Charles Barkley’s Suns.
During this time, Jordan firmly established himself as arguably the greatest player in NBA history. His performance against Magic’s Lakers in ’91 put him in the conversation the greatest of all time, and his 35-point first half in Game 1 of the ’92 Finals reinforced it. Jordan’s 55 points in Game 4 of the ’93 Finals was icing on the cake.
1980-83 New York Islanders (NHL)
The last of the Islanders’ title teams taught Wayne Gretzky a lesson in what it takes to win championships. Gretzky, after losing to the Islanders in the ’83 Stanley Cup Finals, expected to see a celebration when he walked past their locker room after the title-clinching win. Instead, Gretzky saw an exhausted group of players who seemed to be more relieved than elated. That moment stayed with Gretzky, whose Oilers team would go on to dethrone the Islanders in the ’84 Finals.
1976-79 Montreal Canadiens (NHL)
Coached by the legendary Scottie Bowman, the Canadiens had a loaded roster that included Hall of Fame right winger Guy Lafleur, who led the league in scoring each year from 1976-78. Sandwiched between Final wins over the Bruins were Cup victories against the Flyers and Rangers.
1972-74 Oakland Athletics (MLB)
Baseball was largely dominated by a handful of teams in the ’70s. One of those teams were the Athletics, whose powerful roster included slugger Reggie Jackson, who led MLB in several major statistical categories during the ’73 season. Oakland’s dynasty started with a seven-game World Series victory over a Reds team that would win back-to-back titles later in the decade.
The last team to win three straight NFL titles, Vince Lombardi’s Packers also won the first two Super Bowls. Green Bay’s roster oozed with talent back then, with Hall of Famers on both sides of the ball. Offensively, Green Bay devastated opponents with Lombardi’s legendary sweep that contributed to the Packers’ blowout wins over the Chiefs and Raiders in the first two Super Bowls. Quarterback Bart Starr was the MVP in both games.
1959-66 Boston Celtics (NBA)
You read that right. The Celtics won an unheard of eight straight titles during the Bill Russell-Red Auerbach era. It would have been 13 straight if not for Hall of Famers Bob Pettit (in 1958) and Wilt Chamberlain (1967).
1962-64 Toronto Maple Leafs (MLB)
One of the most talented hockey teams of all time boasted a whopping 11 Hall of Famers. One of those Hall of Famers, left winger Frank Mahovlich, led the NFL in game-winning goals during the ’62 and ’63 seasons.
1956-60 Montreal Canadiens (NHL)
Among the Canadiens’ top players was Henri “Pocket Rocket” Richard, the brother of fellow Hall of Famer Maurice “Rocket” Richard. “Pocket Rocket” may not have an award name after him like his brother, but he does have 11 Stanley Cup wins while being a key member of the Canadiens’ dynasty.
1952-54 Minneapolis Lakers (NBA)
The NBA’s first dynasty was spearheaded by George Mikan, the league’s first dominant player. During a five-year span, Mikan led his respective league in scoring three times and in rebounds twice.
1949-53 New York Yankees (MLB)
These Yankee teams were led by some of the most recognizable names in baseball history, led by Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, Joe DiMaggio and Phil Rizzuto. Three of the Yankees’ titles during this span were won against the crosstown rival Brooklyn Dodgers, led by trailblazer and Hall of Fame Jackie Robinson.
1947-49 Toronto Maple Leafs (NHL)
Oddly enough, the Maple Leafs’ third cup was won despite them having a losing record (22-25-13) during the regular season. Toronto was nearly unbeatable in the playoffs, though. They put away the Bruins in five games in the semis before sweeping the Red Wings in the Final.
1936-39 New York Yankees (MLB)
These Yankees teams were the final ones for legend Lou Gehrig, who played just eight games during the 1939 season before being diagnosed with ALS. Gehrig was a force on the Yankees’ first two championship teams during this span. He led the league in home runs in 1936 and in walks and OBP during the ’36 and ’37 campaigns.
1929-31 Green Bay Packers (NFL)
Wanna know how much the NFL has changed since the ’30s? Johnny Blood, one of the best players on these Packers teams, led the NFL with three touchdown receptions in 1933. Green Bay was coached in those years by Curley Lambeau, who in all won six titles as Packers coach.