The Dallas Cowboys are 3-1 and continuing to win without their Pro Bowl quarterback Dak Prescott. Cowboys legend and Pro Football Hall of Famer Michael Irvin is elated and went on ESPN’s “Firsst Take” to let Stephen A. Smith know just how good his Cowboys are. But are the Cowboys who last won a Super Bowl in 1995 still “America’s team?”
“It should be an inspiration to America, that the team that represents America will not let them down,” said Irvin.
.@michaelirvin88 on the Dallas Cowboys 👀
"It should be an inspiration to America, that the team that represents America will not let them down." pic.twitter.com/2O0t5damIG
— First Take (@FirstTake) October 3, 2022
The short answer is yes.
Now obviously Irvin’s sermon-like delivery in a pink suit was performative. That is the nature of talking-head sports shows. But the Cowboys remain a lead segment on all sports shows when discussing the NFL.
In a recent survey conducted by USA Today with information obtained from Google for the years 2017-2022, the Cowboys were the number-one searched NFL team. Not only are the Cowboys the most searched team in the country, they are also the most-searched team in the most amount of states (seven).
The editor in chief of NFL Films, Rob Ryan, came up with the nickname “America’s team” in 1978, when he was editing the team’s season highlight package. He noted that wherever the Cowboys played they had fans in the stands. They were the national game every week on television and thus the most popular. So “America’s team” was born.
Despite the NFL only being popular domestically, the Cowboys are the most valuable sports franchise in the world. The Cowboys are worth $8 billion and have held the top spot on the Forbes list since 2016.
Local television ratings fluctuate year over year. Last season the Cowboys’ ratings jumped 23%. They won the NFC East and the Cowboys’ local TV ratings in the Dallas-Fort Worth market were the ninth-highest in the NFL. The year before when the Cowboys failed to make the playoffs, Dallas had the league’s 17th-highest local rating.
According to Nielsen though, the last time the Cowboys were the number-one ranked NFL team as it relates to national television ratings was 2016. Those ratings fluctuate as well.
Owner Jerry Jones is also a factor in the Cowboys being thought of as “America’s team.” He’s arguably the most recognizable owner in North American team sports. The man has a weekly radio show in Dallas. He is always talking to the media and getting into his fair share of controversies.
Last month, Jones said he would welcome a quarterback controversy between Prescott and backup Cooper Rush.
“Of course I want it,” Jones said, per The Athletic, when asked about the potential dilemma of Rush building momentum as Prescott’s replacement. “If (Rush) comes in there and plays as well as Prescott played … over these next games ahead, I’d walk to New York to get that. … Of course we want Dak to be here next week. That’s the thing you do. But Dak and I want Rush to lead the team to a victory here and get another win. Looking back, when Dak was playing instead of Tony, it was game by game.
“So do I think that it’s possible for Rush to come in here and play at a level and win games the way Prescott did when he took over for Romo?” Jones continued. “Yes I do. Yes I do. I certainly think that’s possible.”
When you add in all of these factors, of course, the Cowboys are still “America’s team.” An overinflated sense of self-worth and importance, opulence and riches despite doing nothing noteworthy in a very long time and courting drama at all turns. Sounds like America.
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