"America's Team?" Says who?
That is basically what a lot of people are saying these days about the Dallas Cowboys, who earned that nickname thanks to an enterprising NFL Films producer in 1978.
Yes, the team that visits M&T Bank Stadium on Sunday has the most iconic helmet in the NFL. And the most iconic cheerleaders.
But "America's Team"?
"We don't buy into that," said Ravens cornerback Lardarius Webb, an Alabama native who grew up a big Cowboys fan. "It's another football game."
The luster is surely tarnished a bit on the stars on those helmets, seeing as the Cowboys haven't reached the Super Bowl in 16 years. In the decade of the 2000s, the Cowboys have a record of 98-98. In other words, it's been awhile since "America's Team" was America's best team.
"The Dallas Cowboys, aka America's Team," writes the Orlando Sentinel's Jerry Greene. "I have some questions about that: Which America are we talking about? How long ago? Why?"
Well, to answer that, we go back to 1978, and NFL Films producer Bob Ryan.
According to this NFL.com feature -- in which "America's Team" was named the No. 1 nickname in NFL history -- Ryan was working on a script for a season highlight film about the Cowboys.
"I saw all these fans at away stadiums. Hey, they're the most popular team in the country," Ryan explained. "How can I use that? Why don't we call them America's Team?"
Cue to the awesome, incomparable narration of John Facenda and some classic NFL Films footage: ""They appear on television so often that their faces are as familiar to the public as presidents and movie stars," intones Facenda. "They are the Dallas Cowboys. America's Team. "
Greene, for one, isn't buying it any more.
"We've bought that load of goods for the last 34 years primarily because team owner Jerry Jones fervently believes it. And the irony is that the one face we do recognize is his — an owner. And yet, somehow, Forbes says the 'Boys are worth $2.1 billion.
Uh, again, why? They are the model of mediocrity, winning one playoff game in last 15 years. Granted, we love their cheerleaders. And I guess we should be impress by the stadium/palace that Jerry built that even includes a Victoria Secret store.
You can buy "lace trimmed panties" inside Cowboys Stadium although I'm not sure if you can wear them there....
Shouldn't the Green Bay Packers be America's Team? Small town that owns its own team? Or the Steelers or maybe, Lord forbid, the Browns? Isn't that more American than a palace where they sell lace-trimmed panties? Or am I just out of touch with what America is wearing these days?"