Dallas Cowboys…America’s Team.
It’s been their nickname since the guy with the hat walked the sidelines and the man from Navy was dodging the likes of Alan Page and Claude Humphrey.
After Dallas finally broke through to win their first NFL title against Miami in SB5 (‘72), somebody got a little carried away. It’s not like Gallup or CBS took a poll, but then it really didn’t matter.
There have always been grumblings, pockets of protest. But on the whole, most of the nation has been pretty tolerant of the tag. Two reasons: 1) most fans take it for what it is, a promo; and 2) for quite a spell Dallas carried it off. The titles, the stars, the pageantry, the cheerleaders, the setting (Lone Star State), even the unies have stood out.
Though AT is rarely tossed about these days, western / film noir legend Alan Ladd said it best in Shane, “Right or wrong, the brand sticks.” And stick it has. The name was made for the blue-star bunch and looks good on ‘em.
But while Jerry Jones patiently lets the Tony Romo / Dez Bryant era play out, it might be time to find a replacement for these Cowboys, a stand-in America’s Team, so to speak.
It’s not an easy gig being America’s mythical favorite. In a manila envelope inside an attaché case, locked in a safe in a downtown Chicago attorney’s office is a list containing the Guidelines for being America’s Team. It’s rumored that only NFL’ers Pete Rozelle, Tex Schramm, Jerry Jones, Deion Sanders and Roger Goodell have seen it. Just rumors.
1) Championship aura: Though back-to-backs aren’t required, Multiplicity is (and a good Keaton movie for NFL fans in need of a chuckle after Week 1). The boost a team gets from their vintage titles is lessened by the current fixation on recency.
2) Coach & QB: More than any other NFL jobs (linebackers Lewis & Urlacher excepted), these two positions identify a team. Gotta’ be superb.
3) ‘Donna-Free Zone: A team needs personality, but AT won’t allow distractions in the form of prima donna players. Even Moss knew as much when he landed in Foxborough.
4) Locale matters: Don’t have to be smack-dab in the middle of America’s heartland but going Coastal (E/W) will cost you points. It’s a connection thing. East Coast gets their media bias while the “West Coast girls all get some tan.” You can’t have everything. Those are the (imaginary) guidelines and I just report ‘em.
5) Uniforms: Stars, classic looks, red, white & blue are all winners. Simply-stated, colorful designs have the broadest and lasting fan appeal. Nike never read the memo but kids will buy anything.
The candidates? A few years back, the Colts, Ravens and Giants get invites to the debate. Not this year. And, as this is no CNN, White House wanna-be whitewash, the truth will be in attendance and welcome.
Pittsburgh Steelers: Pros: aura, history, locale, unies, QB; Cons: bad press and Tomlin looked befuddled in SB45, though his stars (Ben / Troy) didn’t help much.
New Orleans Saints: Pros: SB44, locale, unies, good press, QB; Cons: pre-aura and Payton was pedestrian in 2010 (Seattle).
Green Bay Packers: Pros: SB45, history, locale, unies, good press, coach & QB; Cons: pre-aura and GB can get too homespun (Rhodes / Devine time).
New England Patriots: Pros: aura, unies, good press, coach & QB; Cons: locale (coastal) and fading-aura.
Like a political potpourri of candidates, there’s no perfect choice. We create in them what we want to believe and tune-out the rest. For now, the America’s Team title remains vacant, waiting on the Cowboys to earn their spurs again or a new champion to fill the bill.
About the Author
Written by Steven Keys
A native of the old Northwest Territory (IL), my wife and I have lived in four Midwestern states and Arizona. Today we live in Duluth, Georgia. I have a history / legal background.