NFL Fans Are Obsessed with America's Team Designation

Patrick Schuster@ftballdialogueContributor IIIJanuary 2, 2013

IRVING, TX - SEPTEMBER 19:  Troy Aikman, former Dallas Cowboys quaterback, speaks to the fans in front of former teammates Emmitt Smith (L) and Michael Irvin during a ceremony inducting Aikman into the Cowbos ring of honor at half-time of the game between the Washington Redskins and the Dallas Cowboys on September 19, 2005 at Texas Stadium in Irving, Texas. Former Cowboys teammates Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith and Michael Irvin were all inducted during the half-time ceremony. The Redskins won 14-13. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

As a lifelong Dallas Cowboys football fan, I cannot help but laugh when I read or hear the constant debate regarding their title of “America’s Team.”

I have seen polls on major websites asking the specific question: Are the Dallas Cowboys still America’s team?  I have read countless articles by respected journalists throughout the country arguing that the Dallas Cowboys should not be considered America’s team anymore. I have also heard other players saying that the Dallas Cowboys are not America’s team anymore, or even better, talking up their team as America’s team, or even funnier, saying their team is the world’s team instead. 

My question to all this is, “Who cares?”

For anyone who knows the true story about the nickname of America’s team, it was not something Dallas gave to themselves because, as we all know, you cannot give yourself a nickname. Did we not learn that watching the Seinfeld episode with George trying to give himself the nickname “T-Bone”?  

Instead this nickname was given to the Cowboys by Bob Ryan at NFL Films in 1978 after watching season highlights and noticing how the Dallas Cowboys had so many fans, even for road games.    Initially, as the story goes, Coach Landry did not even like the name, but eventually accepted it.   

The issue I find funny, and kind of sad, is the obsession with so many parties trying to stake claim to that nickname for their team.   

I might be wrong, but I am willing to bet the reason the name sticks with the Dallas Cowboys is simply that they are beloved and hated almost equally, so it means they make money for the league, the networks and all the merchandise arms of the NFL.   

The Dallas Cowboys games on Sunday, Monday and Thursday night are traditionally in the top two or three for ratings for the season, and often they are part of games that set record ratings. Dallas Cowboys merchandise sells not only in Texas or the South, it sells everywhere. 

This summer I was in Lancaster, Penn., and had to laugh when I noticed all the sports stores we went to had Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers, New York Giants, Baltimore Ravens, Washington Redskins and Dallas Cowboys gear. Which one does not belong? The others were all from cities within driving distance of Lancaster, but Dallas had the biggest shelf space and the most merchandise. 

This might all explain the recent Forbes evaluation of the NFL franchise that placed Dallas with a valuation of $2.1 billion, the New England Patriots second at $1.64 billion, the Washington Redskins third at $1.6 billion and New York Giants fourth at $1.47 billion.   

The difference between first and second is almost half a billion dollars. Even the biggest Cowboys haters have to admit that is a pretty nice price tag for a franchise that has only won one playoff game in recent memory.   

I think the players, media and fans who are so concerned with the title of America’s team should focus on their team and leave the rest up to what happens on the field. If they are not careful, maybe they will be given a nickname they don’t like, say, maybe, “Ko Ko”?