America's Team? Dallas Cowboys Can Keep That Moniker

TJ JenkinsAnalyst INovember 8, 2009

ARLINGTON, TX - NOVEMBER 01:  Quarterback Tony Romo #9 of the Dallas Cowboys huddles the offense at Cowboys Stadium on November 1, 2009 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

First and foremost, allow me to explain that I in no way, shape or form expect to make any friends out of Dallas Cowboys fans from this article. But I digress, I have a duty to call them like I see them. For all those who disagree, I look forward to your intelligent debate that shall stem from this article in the comments section, so have away at it.

There are 32 teams in the NFL, every single one of them are based in the United States of America. Only one, however, has been called America's Team. Unless you've been living under a rock since 1978, then you know that this team is the Cowboys.

To actually put forth an intelligent argument for or against the Cowboys having this moniker, once must journey back into NFL history and learn just why the Cowboys have been dubbed as such.

Whilst narrating a 1978 highlight film for the Cowboys season, now NFL Films Vice President Bob Ryan needed something catchy. He coined the term America's Team due to the excessive crowds seen at Cowboys home games and by the fashion of the fan base.

Prior to the first game of the 1979 NFL season, the team was announced as such and the nickname has stuck ever since.

The exact quote from Ryan during that film reads as follows:

"They appear on television so often that their faces are as familiar to the public as presidents and movie stars. They are the Dallas Cowboys, America's Team."

Through thick and thin, the Dallas faithful have remained ever loyal to their favorite team and reminded everyone along the way that they are America's Team.

As a player in Dallas, you're exposed to a whirlwind of media extravaganzas. Each and every player is thrust into the spotlight by simply signing with the team.

But why Dallas? The term was coined in the 1970's when another team was just as dominating if not more so than the team hailing from Dallas. A team that won four Super Bowls during the decade. A team that beat those very Cowboys TWICE in the Super Bowl. I'm of course referring to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

So, why Dallas? Why not Pittsburgh?

Throughout the decades, the teams have both tasted success and both have known the utter shock of defeat. They've gone head to head in the big game three times. More times than any other NFL teams have. Between the two they've won 11 Super Bowls. But only one can wear the prestige of America's Team, such is life in the NFL.

Does a star quarterback thrust a team into the spotlight? Both teams have had their share of those. Dallas had Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman. Pittsburgh was led into battle by Terry Bradshaw and Ben Roethlisberger.

Field general quarterbacks? Check for both.

Or how about a mauler at the running back position? Dallas boasted Tony Dorsett and Emmit Smith while Pittsburgh handed it off to Franco Harris and Jerome Bettis.

Great runners? Check on both.

How about the guys that make the quarterbacks look good? The wide receivers? Dallas' stars threw to Drew Pearson, Butch Johnson and Michael Irvin. The Steelers quarterbacks have had John Stallworth, Lynn Swann and Hines Ward catching their passes.

Sure handed receivers? Check on that.

Or maybe it's the defense that truly makes teams great, after all 'Defense wins championships'? Dallas had their Doomsday Defense while the Steelers boasted the Steel Curtain.

Dominating defenses? Check and double check.

As far as the common names go, this is a fairly balanced matchup. By common names I mean household names and by that I mean names that people who don't make it a point to follow the NFL have heard.

Everyone knows who Emmit Smith, Troy Aikman, Terry Bradshaw and Jerome Bettis were. If they don't then they apparently haven't ever read a newspaper or turned on the television.

Looking back from the present time, it's actually a bit dumbfounding that the Steelers weren't the firs team to be tagged as America's Team.

After all, what represents America more than hard work, determination and winning? The Steelers won four Super Bowls in the 1970s. Super Bowl IX, X, XIII and XIV. The Cowboys only won half as many in that decade. Two of Pittsburgh's Super Bowl victories also saw the Cowboy's tasting defeat.

The team's today could not be more opposite.

The Steelers are a perennial playoff team that have won two Super Bowls this decade (Super Bowl XL and Super Bowl XLIII). In fact, this decade the Steelers surpassed both the San Francisco Forty Niners and Dallas' own Cowboys in Super Bowl wins with six to their name.

The Cowboys seem to be the polar opposite, not seeing the post season since 2007 after a last minute interception by Dallas quarterback Tony Romo sealed the win for the division rival New York Giants.

Prior to that season, Romo had bobbled a snap on an extra point that would have tied the game against the Seattle Seahawks.

I see no reason why the Steelers aren't considered as America's Team. Other than the fact that...we don't want the title.

Shocker, right? Allow me to explain.

Cowboys fans, you can keep the nickname, trust me, we don't want it. The Steelers organization would much rather stay out of that national spotlight that comes with holding that title. They'd rather proceed on a business as usual basis without the distractions.

The name is simply too glamorous for the team in Pittsburgh, they're perfectly happy with being simply Pittsburgh's Team. Perhaps that name's more prestigious anyway.

America's Team and Pittsburgh's Team could not be further apart as far as nicknames go.

The Steelers are the grind it out, blue collar, leave it all on the field kind of team.

The Cowboys, on the other hand, are the prima donna, superstar, go-to-Cabo-with-my-starlet-girlfriend kind of glamor team that the media flocks to. They feed off of the national spotlight.

The fans of the Steelers relate to the team more than one could know without observing them. They epitomize hard work and determination, just like their team. They struggle and strain to work the nine to five pace kind of jobs just to sustain families.

Look no further than one team being nationally known for the beauty of it's cheerleaders. Sometimes that overshadows the team's success or lack thereof.

The other team has no cheerleaders, never has and never will. That's just one more distraction that's not needed on the football field.

I can't speak for any other Steelers fans, but myself, I'd rather be a fan of Pittsburgh's Team than one of America's Team any day.

What about you?

As always, my work can also be found on the Pittsburgh Pigskin Blog and at Sports Jabber.


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