At some point this season the Dallas Cowboys will lose a football game and it will prompt some idiot behind a camera, microphone, or keyboard who has an audience, to ask if the Dallas Cowboys are still America’s Team. Can we set the record straight once and for all right now? Nicknames are not transferable territory. I don’t hear the media asking if the purple wearing Baltimore Ravens are the new Purple People Eaters. That is still the Minnesota Vikings. I don’t expect the media to note all of the high draft picks on the Detroit Lions Defensive Line and ask if they are the new Fearsome Foursome.
You’ll find that no other sports nickname seems to be thought of as debatable. You’ll also find that no other nickname seems to insult people. I’ve never heard anyone talk about how repulsive cannibalism is when discussing the Purple People Eaters. I’ve never heard anyone discuss how calling the Chicago Bears the Monsters of the Midway scares children who hear the word monsters. I do think one time I remember someone asking if Green Bay, Wisconsin is still Titletown, or if that belongs to Boston given the success of the New England Patriots, Boston Celtics, Boston Red Sox, and Boston Bruins. However, that was an isolated incident, and the immediate conclusion seemed to be that the Green Bay Packers could still lay claim to being Titletown.
So why is it the nickname America’s Team causes such discussion? Quite frankly it is the fact that the Dallas Cowboys are right in the center of the NFL map, the center of attention, and if things are really bigger in Texas then the spotlight certainly shines brighter in Dallas than anywhere else on the NFL map. Putting it in plain language the nickname fits, and it does not fit any other team. Over the years I have heard that the nickname doesn’t work because no one voted on it. The late Bert Sugar even wrote a book about that very topic called, “I Hate the Dallas Cowboys, and Who Elected Them America’s Team Anyway?” My immediate question to Bert and others of that mindset is, “Who voted the Denver Broncos the Orange Crush?” How come no one asks that? Or why the Atlanta Falcons were the Grits Blitz? Where are the recounts demanded on these elections?
They don’t exist. The reason is simple, there was no election to anoint the Cowboys as America’s Team. Let’s set the record straight. The nickname was penned by Bob Ryan of NFL Films as the title of their retrospective of the 1978 Dallas Cowboys. He coined the name due to noticing that no matter what city the Cowboys played in they drew large contingents of fans. He also noted for the Dallas Cowboys Weekly back in 1979 that he had even seen fans in Europe wearing Cowboys apparel.No one elected them to that nickname. They didn’t even politic for it. He bestowed it upon them for a highlight film and it stuck.