Ahmad Bradshaw had just made a major contribution to the New York Giants' upset victory over the mighty New England Patriots. He and his teammates had just been crowned world champions for the second time in four years.
So, what did the folks at the NFL Network want him to talk about? The Dallas Cowboys!
The world over, the city of New York is seen as the great American city. Football is the great American sport. The NFL is the great American sports league. The New York Giants are one of the storied franchises of the NFL.
However, the New York Giants still cannot escape the shadow of America's Team, the Dallas Cowboys.
Despite the Giants having won two Super Bowls in four years, despite the Cowboys having been a non-factor in the Super Bowl hunt for 15 years, Bradshaw was asked what he thought about the Cowboys chances of winning it all next season.
"I don't see it happening," Bradshaw told the NFL Network when asked if the Cowboys will ever win a Super Bowl with Romo at the helm. "I don't think they believe it, and they're America's Team. If America don't believe it . . ."
Bradshaw was asked to clear his comment, about whether he was referring to the team itself or the fans.
"It all comes together," Bradshaw said. "If the fans don't believe it, the team doesn't. They're kinda doubtful with Romo."
How frustrating must that be for the Giants? They have owned the Dallas Cowboys, winning six of their past eight meetings with them. What's more, they are 3–0 in Cowboys Stadium. Giants quarterback Eli Manning has more Super Bowl rings than big brother Peyton.
However, the talking heads at the NFL Network don't want to talk about those things. They just want to know whether Tony Romo is the man to get the job done in Dallas.
As frustrating as the America's Team thing is for the Cowboys' NFC East bunkmates, it should be equally embarrassing to the Cowboys themselves. I am sure the boys with the stars on their helmets would be just as happy if that bull's-eye was taken off their chests.
It doesn't matter how badly the Cowboys may want folks to forget about that whole America's Team thing. It doesn't matter how badly the Giants may want to be the team everybody either loves or loves to hate, either. Neither franchise can escape the fact that the mediocre Cowboys are still America's Team, or so says Gary West of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram:
The Thanksgiving Day victory over the Dolphins was the most-watched game of the regular season; in fact, with 31 million viewers, it was the most-watched program. Three of the 10 most popular programs were indeed Cowboys' games. With 27.6 million viewers according to Nielsen, the finale against the Giants was the most-watched regular-season primetime game in 15 years and the most-watched primetime game ever on NBC. And with 17.1 million viewers, the Cowboys' Monday night game against the Redskins was the most-watched program on cable television.
As for embracing bold innovation, these Cowboys could be the most American of America's Teams. They play, after all, in the largest air-conditioned space in the world, beneath the largest television in the world, in a $1.2 billion monument to boldness.
And so don't accept impostors or substitutes. Don't consign the nickname to the trash, or put it in the freezer or hide it in a drawer beneath the old socks. The Cowboys, Staubach said, are still America's Team. And America's quarterback is right. Yes, amid dubious poll results and pullulating flapdoodle and perennial piffle, America's Team still stands out.
Bradshaw himself referred to the Cowboys as America's Team, as if there were no arguing the matter, as if winning a Super Bowl, or a couple of Super Bowls, or every Super Bowl from now one would not be enough to change it.
He may be right about that.
However, more importantly, he may also be right about Romo.
What do you think?