Nov 24, 2011; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys fan cheers during the game against the Miami Dolphins on Thanksgiving day at Cowboys Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE

Sorry Packers, the Dallas Cowboys are America's Team

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The issue of whether or not the Dallas Cowboys are still ‘America’s Team’ is one of the more ridiculous questions that gets discussed around the blogosphere.  It is astonishing that the legions of NFL fans who despise the Dallas Cowboys and the moniker “America’s Team” lack the ability to understand that nicknames are non-transferable.

Mar 26, 1987;Boston, MA, USA; FILE PHOTO; Boston Bruins defenseman Ray Bourque and Edmonton Oilers forward Wayne Gretzky (99) in action at the Boston Garden. Mandatory Credit: Dick Raphael-US PRESSWIRE

Think about it: if someone broke all the NHL scoring records, would he become the “Great One”?  Nope, that is Wayne Gretzky.  If a ball player had several post-seasons where he smashed home run after home run, would he become “Mr. October”?  Nope, that is Reggie Jackson.  The Cowboys had some behemoth lineman in the 90s, do you think anyone ever thought of calling them the “Hogs”?  I doubt it, they were Redskins.

Get over it.  The Dallas Cowboys are, and always will be, ‘America’s Team’.  No one else can ever be ‘America’s Team’.  You can discuss who is the most popular team in the NFL, but being the most popular team will still not make another franchise ‘America’s Team’.  The funny thing is, many of the Dallas Cowboys players, staff, and fans, don’t even like the nickname.

The notion that the Green Bay Packers are ‘America’s Team‘ because they happen to be (for argument’s sake) the most popular franchise during one season while boasting a undefeated record is just asinine. Leaving aside how incredibly flawed that survey was, the Green Bay Packers would have to be one of the most popular teams in the NFL for decades before they entered into the conversation with the Cowboys.  They would also have to maintain being in the top 5 most popular franchises after a 3 or 4 consecutive losing seasons, then maybe that would warrant them being in the discussion.

People who try to argue that the Cowboys lack of success should preclude them from being ‘America’s Team’ are missing the point.  Their mediocrity in the last 15 years is part of what makes them America’s Team still: they haven’t made a serious playoff run in almost 20 years, but they are still extremely popular and their fan base remains as loyal and devoted as they were when the Cowboys were winning Super Bowls.  Is there even one other sports franchise, except the Toronto Maple Leafs, that can go over a decade without a serious playoff run and yet still remain one of the most popular and profitable franchises in all of professional sports?

It appears that many people confuse being America’s Team with being the most popular team in America.  They are not the same thing.  No one ever argues that the Cowboys are the most popular team in the NFL every year.  That being said, the Dallas Cowboys have been one of the most popular teams in the NFL since the 1970s.  No other team has been in the top 5 or 6 most popular teams every year for more than a generation.  Sorry Packers and Steelers fans.

When attempting to discern the popularity of the an NFL franchise, it is appropriate to consider, at minimum, the following factors:

– ticket sales

– support in the crowd at away games

– TV ratings

– Jersey and other memorabilia sales

Year in and year out, despite not having a very good team sometimes, the Dallas Cowboys continue to be one of the leaders in ticket sales, they continue to have more support at away games than the vast majority of other teams, they  continue to set records for TV ratings, and they continue to be near the top of the league in merchandise sales.

They may not be #1 in every category every year, but they have been near the top in each of the categories for more than 30 years.

Earlier this month, the NFL released its ranking of the top-selling jerseys on NFLShop.com between April, 2011 and February, 2012.

With four players in the top 20, the Cowboys have more players in this ranking than any other NFL team. Tony Romo, Miles Austin, Dez Bryant, and Jason Witten were all in the Top 20.  (I was a bit surprised that DeMarcus Ware was not on the list).

The Patriots had 3 players in the Top 20, while the Packers and Giants each had two.  No other team had more than 1 player in the Top 20.  Nineteen NFL franchises did not have a single player in the Top 20.

Rank Player POS Team
1 Aaron Rodgers QB Green Bay
2 Tim Tebow QB Denver
3 Eli Manning QB New York Giants
4 Tom Brady QB New England
5 Troy Polamalu S Pittsburgh
6 Victor Cruz WR New York Giants
7 Drew Brees QB New Orleans
8 Clay Matthews LB Green Bay
9 Michael Vick QB Philadelphia
10 Tony Romo QB Dallas
11 Miles Austin WR Dallas
12 Rob Gronkowski TE New England
13 Patrick Willis LB San Francisco
14 Wes Welker WR New England
15 Dez Bryant WR Dallas
16 Jason Witten TE Dallas
17 Ray Lewis LB Baltimore
18 Peyton Manning QB Indianapolis
19 Brian Urlacher LB Chicago
20 Darren McFadden RB Oakland
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Tags: America's Team Dallas Cowboys Green Bay Packers

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