“Don't hate me, hate the money I see, clothes that I buy
Ice that I wear, clothes that I try, close your eyes” -- Nas
Okay, the above quote is admittedly only semi-relevant, but I couldn’t in good conscience pass up an opportunity to quote Nas with respect to the Dallas Cowboys.
“America’s Team” were the winners of the dubious designation as America’s most hated NFL franchise last week, edging New England by two percentage points, 36 to 34, respectively.
The findings, as part of an unscientific poll by ESPN, also pointed to Dallas as the most popular team in the country. But they are not America’s Team. There is no America’s Team, in fact, according to the poll.
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This seems a bit on the silly side, with good reason. First, debating whether or not there is an America’s Team, or what that team might be, equates roughly to debating the state of Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie’s friendship, which is to say, who in their right mind cares?
A quick history lesson, kids: The term “America’s Team” was coined in 1979 by Bob Ryan, the vice president and editor-in-chief of NFL Films, who needed a catchy title for the team’s 1978 highlight video.
In true Dallas fashion, the team took and ran with the somewhat-arbitrary designation, espousing hatred from opposition and resulting in millions and millions (and millions) of dollars.
Since that year, and especially since the Dallas playoff win became a hitherto-extinct beast, the team’s consistent and, evidently, exasperating notoriety has ruffled the feathers of more than a few NFL fans.
Thus the most-hated designation, thus the two percentage points over a team that has won three Super Bowls this decade and been caught cheating. It is certainly understandable, with a little objectivity.
Dallas is the most valuable franchise in sports. Their owner has been one of the most controversial figures of the professional sports landscape for as long as anyone can remember. They garner more attention, win or lose, than any other team in the league. Those that do count themselves as Cowboys fans are often outspoken, effectively ending any argument with any fan of any other team in the league (besides the ‘Niners and certainly the Steelers) by simply holding up five fingers, each representing a super bowl win.
Wealthy…Noteworthy… Controversial leadership...Loved and hated with equal vigor… These are descriptive of the Dallas Cowboys as we know them; ditto for the United States of America.
All things considered, “America’s Team” sounds about right.