The Dallas Cowboys are the most popular team in the NFL. In fact, they’re the most popular team in all of American sports. However, the word “popular” doesn’t just mean they’re the most liked — they’re the most disliked as well. That’s the thing with the Cowboys: everyone either loves them or hates them. There is no middle ground. Thus, the Cowboys are always relevant.
Yep, America’s Team is always talked about, no matter if that discussion is positive or negative. If Tony Romo throws a late-game interception, everyone starts up with the choke artist chat. If he delivers a game-winning drive, his few advocates come to his defense through the teeth of his numerous haters.
If Dez Bryant scores a pair of touchdowns, he’s compared to Calvin Johnson, especially when he brings such a comparison upon himself. If he throws a tantrum on the sidelines that’s not really a tantrum because of what he said but really looks like one because of the way he said it, everyone says he’s the biggest waste of talent in the league.
Either way, the Cowboys remain relevant.
In the negative aspect of both examples described above, team owner/general manager Jerry Jones gave the same response: It’s a good thing because the Cowboys are relevant.
Jones doesn’t know it, but those comments blatantly gave away the fact he has absolutely no clue how to organize a winning football team. Sure, he’s put some of the right players in place, but he doesn’t know how to get over the hump. And he dang sure isn’t going to admit that.
Of course, it’s been blatantly obvious that he’s clueless as an NFL general manager since he ran Jimmy Johnson out of town. The Cowboys have a sub-.500 record and one playoff win since that Johnson-built team began to dissolve in 1996, which is more telling than anything.
The side of his job at which Jones excels is business. His team is average, at best, but the Cowboys are the most entertaining franchise in all of pro sports. They’re polarizing, which always keeps them relevant, regardless of their record.
Tim Tebow hasn’t played in an NFL game this season and has been unemployed since August, yet he remains the most searched professional athlete on the Internet. He’s polarizing, so he stays relevant, even when he does literally nothing. Think Jerry doesn’t notice that?
But Jerry doesn’t need to notice it because he’s always been good at keeping the Cowboys relevant through the years, even long before guys like Tebow came into the picture. He built the biggest, most outrageous stadium in the NFL that sells out every week regardless of the Cowboys’ record or opponent. His team sells more merchandise than any other, which is why it’s not uncommon to see someone with some sort of Cowboys garb on their body, car and/or house anywhere in the country.
And when things happen on or off the field that put the Cowboys in the news, Jones is happy, regardless of whether that news is positive or negative. What did he say after Bryant’s tirade on the sidelines against the Detroit Lions?
“I think it’s a very good thing. Yes, you can have some bad publicity, but I think it’s a very good thing to be relevant.”
No mention of the team’s performance or how Bryant’s rant could have been taken negatively. Just relevance. What about when Romo was listed as one of Forbes’ most hated athletes?
“I think you’ve got to be relevant and I think he’s very relevant.”
The worst part is Jerry isn’t even hiding the fact that all he’s concerned with is relevance; as long as the Cowboys are making money, he doesn’t care what happens. Remember all of his talk about how Dallas doesn’t need to win a bunch of games, but just needs to get into the playoffs? As long as the Cowboys are in the hunt — and they will be at .500 in the NFC (L)East — Jones is happy.
Regardless of what Romo and/or any other Cowboys player/coach does, it will be talked about and branding is everything in the business world. Jones may be clueless when it comes to winning on the field, but he’s got winning off the field down pat and to him, that’s all that matters.