When you hear someone say "America's Team" do you think of the Dallas Cowboys? Of course you do, especially if you're a Cowboys fan.
It appears, with Super Bowl XLVI between the Giants and the Patriots, the talk has turned once again to which NFL team should really have the nickname.
"I don't think there really is an America's Team," said SI.com sports writer Peter King on Wednesday. "Because even though the Patriots have won more games than anybody, half the people hate them. They hate Belichick, they hate, you know, they hate Brady 'cause he's so beautiful, and his wife is even more beautiful."
The Dallas Cowboys got the nickname some three decades ago thanks to the team's 1978 highlight film where the narrator, Bob Ryan, opens with:
"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.’”
The following season, during a Cowboys game against the St. Louis Cardinals, the announcer for CBS Sports introduced them as "America's Team" and it stuck.
NFL Films has definitely helped perpetuate the moniker with a Top Ten Nicknames show where America's Team ranked No. 1, with the Steel Curtain in second. And let's not forget the NFL Films DVD set called "The Dallas Cowboys - The Complete History of America's Team 1960-2003."
"Anybody who can honestly say that they're talking about America's Team and not have the Dallas Cowboys come to your mind first and foremost is probably a fan of one of the other teams that are trying to claim the title a little bit," said NBC Sports commentator Cris Collinsworth.
Collinsworth is right; other NFL teams have been trying to lay claim to the moniker for years.
Before Super Bowl XXVII, Buffalo Bills coach Mark Levy said the Bills were America's Team because they were wearing red, white and blue. It's just too bad the Cowboys beat the Bills 52-17.
Why shouldn't the Cowboys be America's Team?
In 2010, Nielsen scored the Cowboys No. 1 in NFL Media Exposure Rankings for the audience they bring to nationally televised games and monthly unique visitors to its team website.
Nielsen apparently hasn't ranked teams since September 2010, but we know the Cowboys bring the ratings. The Sunday Night Football game against the Giants on New Year's Day was not only the highest-rated SNF game since it moved to NBC in 2006, but that game also got the best ratings of any Sunday night NFL game in 13 years.
Win or lose, love 'em or hate 'em, the Dallas Cowboys ARE America's Team.