America's Team

America's Team

Infobox Film
name = NFL Films The Dallas Cowboys

caption = The Dallas Cowboys: The Complete History of America's Team 1960-2003 DVD Cover
director = NFL Films
starring = The Dallas Cowboys
distributor = Warner Home Video
released = November 25, 2003
runtime = 73:00
language = English
The term America's Team is a popular nickname in American sports that most often refers the Dallas Cowboys of the National Football League. [cite web|url=|title=NFL Films: The Dallas Cowboys|accessdate=2007-02-03] The term is recognized and often used by media outlets, including ESPN, [cite web|url= |title=NFL announces 2007 MNF schedule|accessdate=2007-04-11|] Yahoo!, [cite web|url= |title=The Hottest Numbers: Top 20 Jerseys|accessdate=2007-10-05|publisher=Yahoo!] and HBO Sports. [cite web|url= |title=HBO's 'Hard Knocks' Returning To Cowboys Camp|accessdate=2008-05-08| ]

Bob Ryan, the Vice President and editor-in-chief of NFL Films, coined this for the Cowboys in 1979. After preparing and editing the team’s 1978 season highlight film he had to come up with a title for the film. [cite web|url=|title=DALLAS COWBOYS|publisher=The The Handbook of Texas Online - The University of Texas at Austin|accessdate=2007-02-03] He was quoted as saying:

:"I wanted to come up with a different twist on their team highlight film. I noticed then, and had noticed earlier, that wherever the Cowboys played, you saw people in the stands with Cowboys jerseys and hats and pennants. Plus, they were always the national game on television." During the Cowboys' first game of the 1979 season, a nationally televised game against the St. Louis Cardinals (which Dallas won 22-21), the television announcer introduced the Cowboys as America’s Team and the nickname stuck.

The popularity of the Cowboys as America's Team has been supported somewhat by such NFL records as Team with Most Consecutive Sold Out Games...a streak of 160 home and away games (including playoffs) that began on December 23, 1990 at Philadelphia's Veterans Stadium and came to an end on December 24, 1999 in a Christmas Eve game against the New Orleans Saints in the Louisiana Super Dome. [cite web|url=|title=Cowboys Mystique by the Dallas Cowboys Fan Club] Other examples are the NFL games featuring the Cowboys that result in record-breaking ratings at the time of broadcast, such as 7 of the 8 Super Bowl games featuring the Cowboys and the NFC Championship Game between the Cowboys and 49ers, the only non-Super Bowl NFL game to be ranked in the Top 45 Primetime Telecasts of All Time. [cite web|url=|title=List of Most Watched Television Episodes]

Still, Dallas’ Hall of Fame coach Tom Landry originally did not approve of the appellation of America's Team. He felt that it would give opposing teams extra incentive to play harder. Eventually he gave in and actually came to like the name. [cite |author=Guinn, Jeff|title=Dallas Cowboys: Our Story|date=1996|publisher=Summit Publishing Group]

In 2003, NFL Films released a DVD collection chronicling the Dallas Cowboys franchise entitled "The Dallas Cowboys: The Complete History of America's Team 1960-2003".

Other claims to the name

Few other teams have claimed the title of "America's Team" for themselves, but media and fans have occasionally tried to apply the nickname to other teams. Cinderella stories in college sports often bring out the label, but this usage rarely persists beyond a single season. The Green Bay Packers were at one time labeled "America's Team" when a survey found that more Americans liked the Green Bay Packers than any other team for a period of time.

The Atlanta Braves laid claim to the name due to their games being broadcast on cable television systems nationwide on WTBS, building a fan base in areas of the U.S. far removed from a Major League Baseball team. A 1982 issue of Sports Illustrated had referred to the Braves as "America's Team II". [cite |url=|author=Wulf, Steve|title=America's Team II|date=1982-08-09|publisher=Sports Illustrated]

Franchises with long histories and large nationwide fan bases are occasionally referred to as America's Team. The most prominent example is probably the New York Yankees, who rose to prominence in the US in the 1920s. The Yankees were so strongly perceived as an American symbol that during World War II Japanese soldiers were known to shout: "To hell with Babe Ruth!"

Pittsburgh Steelers owner Art Rooney dismissed the suggestion that the Steelers were "America's Team." 'We didn't want that,' Rooney said. 'We're Pittsburgh's team. We feel strongly about that' [cite web|url=|title=From water boy to Steelers president|publisher=The Repository Canton, OH|accessdate=2007-02-03]

Adam Schein of Fox Sports refers to the Jacksonville Jaguars, an NFL team known for having one of the smallest fanbases in the major leagues, as "America's Team," most likely jokingly.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, some sportswriters referred to the New Orleans Saints as "The Real America's Team" because they drew a national following during New Orleans' recovery.


External links

* [ Dallas Cowboys official web site]
* [ The Big Apple: America's Team (Dallas Cowboys)] - entry from etymologist Barry Popik on his website [ The Big Apple]

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