Can the Dallas Cowboys become America’s Team once again?

Oct 16, 2016; Green Bay, WI, USA; A Dallas Cowboys helmet sits on the field prior to the game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. Dallas won 30-16. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 16, 2016; Green Bay, WI, USA; A Dallas Cowboys helmet sits on the field prior to the game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. Dallas won 30-16. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports /

The Dallas Cowboys may not be America’s Team for all NFL fans. However, these Cowboys are on the doorstep of earning that iconic title themselves.

The term “America’s Team” has gone from a nickname given exclusively to the Dallas Cowboys to a title given to the most interesting, successful, and exciting team the country has to offer. In my opinion, the Cowboys are not currently America’s Team. However, they are on the doorstep of regaining that honor.

I believe there are three ingredients necessary to become America’s Team. Most important among them is success.

The United States is a country that celebrates winning. And that is never more evident than in professional sports. Multiple championships are needed to reach this level of success.

It also needs to come quickly, usually in the first three years of a team contending for a championship. You can only be the up and coming team for so long, before the country moves onto the next contender.

The second ingredient needed is star players. As a society we associate groups of people, organizations, and teams with figureheads and leaders. For sports we narrow it down to the head coach, and a few great players.

For example, look at the 1990’s Chicago Bulls. Unless you’re a basketball junkie and can name every player on their six championship teams, you probably think of the team’s stars (Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen) and head coach (Phil Jackson).

Lastly, for a team to become America’s Team, they need to be exciting. You can have stars and be successful but your stars need to be entertaining and your team needs to have an enjoyable style of play.

This has been the case with the San Antonio Spurs and their dynastic run for the last twenty years. They have had both success (five championships) and multiple stars (Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker, Kawhi Leonard), but their stars have never been out in the media and their style of play in the early 2000’s, which was slow and relied on defense, wasn’t popular with the majority of the country.

Know that the ingredients necessary to become America’s Team have been laid out, It’s time to apply this to the Cowboys and their relationship with the title.

The history of the relationship between the Cowboys and America’s Team

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Bob Ryan, the editor and chief of NFL Films, gave the Cowboys their iconic nickname in a 1978 team highlight reel. From there, it became synonymous with Dallas, sticking in the minds of football fans throughout the country.

What cemented the relationship was how exciting and successful the Cowboys were during that period of time. In 1978, Dallas had just won Super Bowl 12 and would appear in Super Bowl 13, which ended up becoming a classic game they almost came away winning.

The Cowboys had the league’s biggest star in quarterback Roger Staubach, and exciting young players like running back Tony Dorsett and wide receiver Drew Pearson. They were constantly playing in big games, with Staubach usually leading the team to victory with his late game heroics.

The Cowboys of the 1970’s had all of the ingredients necessary to capture the country’s focus. However, as the 1980’s came around the attention began to dwindle. Staubach retired, Dallas couldn’t get past the NFC Championship, and new contenders with different styles of play came along (1980’s 49ers and the West Coast Offense).

When a popular team comes back from the abyss it elevates the excitement level. Such was the case with the 1990’s Cowboys. After falling off at the end of the 80’s, they began their climb back up the mountain with multiple stellar drafts.

The new young core of stars (Troy Aikman, Michael Irvin, and Emmitt Smith) were exciting and became popular across the country. Head coach Jimmy Johnson implemented the modern 4-3 defense which focused on speed instead of size. And only one year after first making the playoffs 1991, they had won a Super Bowl.

They would win two out of the next three titles, and regained the status of America’s Team. But history tends to repeat itself, the Cowboys of the 90’s shared the same fate as their counterparts in the 70’s.

Dallas stopped contending in the late 90’s, as their stars took public relations hits, became injured, and retired. They entered a period of mediocrity. Coupled that with the New England Patriots dynasty of the early 2000’s and the Cowboys had lost their status of America’s Team.

The future of the relationship between the Cowboys and America’s Team

Today, we are repeating the same cycle that has been going on for the last 40 years. The Cowboys are a team full of young stars like Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott. Their offense is high scoring and exciting, and they are now contending for a Super Bowl.

Next: Dallas Cowboys - Three exciting facts about the offense

Dallas is currently standing on the doorstep of regaining the status their fans have held onto so dearly. The only ingredient remaining is a championship, and it seems like they are close. After the success of last season, the clock is now ticking for the Dallas Cowboys to regain the title of America’s Team once again.