TV ratings uphold Cowboys status as America’s Team

Nov 9, 2014; London, UNITED KINGDOM; Dallas Cowboys players join hands in a huddle before the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars in the NFL International Series game at Wembley Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 9, 2014; London, UNITED KINGDOM; Dallas Cowboys players join hands in a huddle before the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars in the NFL International Series game at Wembley Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

The 2015 NFL TV ratings show that the Dallas Cowboys were featured in the three most watched games cementing Dallas as America’s Team.

Despite being one of the most disappointing seasons in the history of the Dallas Cowboys, 2015 provided some of the strongest evidence yet that no matter the state of the franchise, the Dallas Cowboys are still by far America’s Team. According to a graphic published by the NFL, the top three most-watched games of the 2015 NFL regular season had one thing in common, the Dallas Cowboys.

For decades, it has made sense for the Cowboys to be a huge television draw. Going back to the origins of the moniker America’s Team, Dallas has featured some of the biggest stars in the history of the game.

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Whether it has been Roger Staubach, Tony Dorsett, Herschel Walker, Emmitt Smith, Troy Aikman or Terrell Owens the Dallas Cowboys have always brought star power into living rooms across the nation. Which is why the fact that the Cowboys were featured in each of the three highest-rated games of 2015 is surprising because in 2015 the Dallas Cowboys had absolutely no star power.

Consider that starting quarterback Tony Romo (perhaps the most polarizing quarterback in the league) played in only two quarters of theses three games and it is amazing to think that America still tuned in en mass. What’s more is that Dallas was without its other superstar, wide receiver Dez Bryant for half of the season as well.

But yet, America still couldn’t get enough of the Cowboys. The Cowboys’ Thanksgiving game against the Carolina Panthers was the most-watched game of the NFL’s regular season.

Of course, the Dallas Cowboys’ Thanksgiving game is annually one of the most viewed games of the year because it is nationally televised and has no football competition to go against during that time slot.

The ratings for this year’s game make sense because Romo was making his second start after returning from a broken clavicle and many thought Dallas could put an end to the Panthers undefeated start to the season.

But the other two most watched games of the season had much less hype. When Dallas took on the Seattle Seahawks on November 1st, Tony Romo was a spectator.

By this point in the season, Dallas was already 2-5 on the season and had few offensive weapons (other than a hobbled Bryant) to combat the vaunted Seattle defense. The game was a boring sloppy 13-12 Seattle win but yet over 29 million fans tuned in to see Matt Cassel pass for a stunning 97 yards on the afternoon.

Then, on December 13th, 28.9 million viewers devoted three precious weekend hours to watch a 4-8 Dallas team flounder around Lambeau Field to score an exciting seven points against the Green Bay Packers.

In 2015, the Dallas Cowboys were one of the most boring teams in the history of the NFL. Yet America could not stop watching.

Yes, many fans tuned in to delight in the failures of the Cowboys but Dallas is not in the middle of a 1990’s style dynasty so the anti-Cowboys venom is not at its peak right now. In fact, most of the hate in the NFL is now geared towards the New England Patriots.

Others will note that in each of the three games, Dallas faced one of the NFL’s most intriguing teams. And while Carolina was the story of the NFL regular season, Seattle has been a prominent contender in recent years and Green Bay is a storied franchise in its own right, none of those teams were in more than one of the three highest-rated games.

Furthermore, marquee teams like the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Denver Broncos and the New England Patriots (all of which made the playoffs and all of which feature future Hall of Fame quarterbacks) were not in any of the top three games. Yet the woefully bad 2015 Dallas Cowboys were the constant among these three games.

Interestingly enough, these three games were the three most viewed television shows of any type since the NFL opened the 2015 season in September. The Cowboys drew more viewers than any of the Republican Presidential Debates, the college football playoffs or the New Year’s Eve telecast from Times Square.

The power of the Dallas Cowboys is unfathomable. Even when the team is dreadful, the franchise with the blue star on its helmet is more than a sports team, it is an American icon that our nation simply cannot do without.

So no matter how the standings finish or which team makes a historic run through the NFL, there can be no debating that the Dallas Cowboys will always be America’s Team.

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