Today, Skip Bayless, Stephen A. Smith, and Shannon Sharpe tried to have one of those heated, semantic arguments about whether or not the Dallas Cowboys are, in fact, “America’s team.” On a slow news day, we can understand shoehorning some ancient debates into the programming, but this one seemed extra, um, stupid.
Shannon: They’re not good!
Skip: TV ratings!
Stephen A.: I’m a Steelers fan who roots for New York teams!
As much as the trio tried to find a deeper meaning in their discussion, it ended up sounding like the same argument you had in 1994 at summer camp with some rat-tailed kid named Denny, reaching the same conclusion. The term “America’s team” is subjective and meaningless and oh my god why do you have an earring at 7 years old?
Towards the end of the shouty argument, Stephen A. Smith tried to make a distinction between “the most watched” and “the best.” Under his definition of the controversial title, the New England Patriots are “America’s team” because, ya know, winning stuff. We understand his sentiment — and on any other country on Earth that’d make sense — but in this country, we’ll go out on a limb and say “the most watched” is kind of the definition of what being “the best” is all about. Being America’s team should probably be defined as being the most definitively American. Biggest, richest, and most deluded as to your own importance.
Point being: You kind of don’t want to be considered “America’s team,” just like any legitimate, self-respecting musician would never want to be considered “America’s Idol.”
As to the reason for the Cowboys longstanding popularity, we have a theory on that, too. They’ve always used an identifiable formula: A handsome quarterback, a diva wide receiver, an outspoken owner, a gigantic stadium, and sideline boobies. To the lay person, the current iteration of the Dallas Cowboys look like a football team (regardless of their lack of playoff success). They’re like the American cheese of franchises. Sure, they’re not winning any awards for being the best — but no one’s looking at them going, “What the hell is this?” That kind of simplicity goes a long way in in this country.
The bulk of Cowboys fans — much like Yankees and Lakers and American cheese fans — probably haven’t put too much thought into their allegiance. They just consume it because it happens to be a part of something everyone enjoys (Sunday TV, a hat, the NBA Playoffs, burgers, etc.). Right?