With Super Bowl XLV now less than a week away, there is more speculation as to which NFL team most deserves the title, “America’s Team.” The three candidates include the two Super Bowl contenders and the team that plays its home games in the stadium where that game will be held five days from now. In case you’re NFL illiterate, those three teams are the Green Bay Packers, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Dallas Cowboys. The reason for this new speculation is the Packers and Steelers adding to their legacies with this latest Super Bowl berth. But as ESPN Dallas’ Tim MacMahon points out, the Cowboys still own the coveted label.
With this latest Super Bowl appearance, the Steelers will pass the Cowboys as statistically the greatest NFL team of all time. On Sunday, Pittsburgh will make its 8th Super Bowl appearance, tying Dallas for the league lead. However, the Steelers already have six Super Bowl rings while the Cowboys only have five. Thus, the Steelers have now been to as many Super Bowls as the Cowboys and have won more Super Bowl titles without having played the final one. Thankfully, though, we have guys like MacMahon to keep those smart aleck bandwagon fans honest.
If you don’t already, would you like to know why the Cowboys are still America’s Team? Because our fan base never rests. Unlike the New England Patriots and New Orleans Saints, Dallas fans have always been Dallas fans and always will. The word “new” in their titles reflects their fans. There aren’t nearly as many Tom Brady or Drew Brees jerseys floating around this year. The Cowboys have always been popular and always will. The Steelers and Packers are similar in that they do have loyal fans, but they don’t draw the attention of America as a whole year in and year out like Dallas does.
For example, the Cowboys’ 30-27 loss to the Saints on Thanksgiving Day was the most-watched program of television’s fall season. We’re not even getting to the good stuff yet. I’m a huge Al Michaels fan and love watching Sunday Night Football on NBC simply because he’s doing the play-by-play. Like Monday nights, the Sunday night games are always marquee matchups featuring high-profile teams. In Week 14, the Cowboys had a 4-8 record and were well out of the playoff race. However, Dallas played host to Philadelphia that Sunday night and over 25 million people tuned in, the most-watched Sunday night game in NFL history.
MacMahon also pointed out that the Cowboys always get four prime-time games, the most allowed per season by NFL rules. However, the league decides which teams play in the prime-time slots, so that proves the NFL wants more Cowboys games on national television. Even in a down year like the Cowboys’ 5-11 season in 2001 when the team started 0-4, neither the Packers nor Steelers had more prime time appearances than the Cowboys. All time? Neither Pittsburgh nor Green Bay has as many Monday Night Football Appearances as Dallas. Oh, and for you smart alecks (Steelers’ fans), the Cowboys also have the most Monday Night Football wins.
For you stiffs out there, I’ve got plenty for you, too. In 2010, Forbes Magazine reported the most valuable sports franchises in the world. Just in case you’re still wondering, the Cowboys are by far the NFL’s most valuable team, valued at over $1.8 billion. So whether you’re about championship appearances, popularity, or value, you cannot argue the Cowboys are still America’s Team.