A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away (ok, 1978), some video narrator decided to coin the Dallas Cowboys ‘America’s Team’. It may have been gimmicky but somehow it stuck, especially after Pat Summerall used the term. But let’s be honest. The Cowboys haven’t been ‘America’s Team’ in 25 years.
Most other fan bases can’t stand the Cowboys or their fans (or their owner). The Cowboys were recently voted ‘The most hated team in the NFL’ by fans, edging out the New England Patriots. The Boys end up being too polarizing to be truly called ‘America’s Team’. These five teams would be great candidates to replace Dallas. Sorry guys, you had a good run.
Replacements for the Cowboys as “America’s Team”
1. Cincinnati Bengals
There’s no denying the charisma that this team has suddenly started oozing. Star players, well-coached gameplans, and a winning culture all stir into the pot and make a delicious recipe. Just when you thought the Chiefs would dominate the AFC for years to come, here comes the Cincinnati Bengals. They are young and exciting to watch in a division of teams that like to trip over their own cleats. The scary part of the Bengals is, it doesn’t look like they’ve reached the peak of their potential yet.
2. Philadelphia Eagles
Last year’s runner-up team has suddenly shed their gruff listless ways and become a team that is hard to root against (unless you’re a fan of another NFC East team). After numerous misfires, the Philadelphia Eagles have found their next franchise quarterback and paid him like one. They have names on offense and a defense without big names that still make big plays. The Eagles seem poised to be a problem in the NFC for years to come, but that doesn’t make them less watchable or less winsome.
3. Buffalo Bills
Once the sort of lovable losers of the NFL, the Buffalo Bills have established themselves as the new powerhouse of the AFC East (Aaron Rodgers who?). After years of obscurity and underachieving, the Bills are among the favorites to win the Super Bowl and it’s just hard to not cheer for them.
If any franchise deserves to finally get over the hump and off the schneid, it’s Western New York’s favored sons. Buffalo has become a destination for big named players like Diggs, Miller, and Poyer. They have six prime-time games this year. The NFL schedulers seem to think that America wants to see the Bills. America wants to see them finally win the big game.
4. Green Bay Packers
As far as storied franchises with more history than some countries, the Green Bay Packers are top dogs. Their fans travel really, really well. That alone should put them into consideration to be America’s Team. Beyond that, a team that is owned by fans and not disillusioned Billionaires certainly seems like a candidate for the title. Green Bay is all about tradition and consistency. Being one of the oldest teams is another checkmark for the cheeseheads. The Packers are different. Their appeal is universal.
5. New Orleans Saints
This proud team and proud city has had their share of hard times and too few shining moments. It is hard to believe that the New Orleans Saints have only one Super Bowl win to their credit. Drew Brees’ career alone should qualify the Saints for America’s Team. If the title of ‘America’s Quarterback’ existed, Brees would win going away. Sure, Drew has ridden off into the sunset, but the gunslinger Derek Carr steps into the limelight looking to restore the Saints to contenders. I’m not sure I’ve ever met someone who hated the Saints. That sounds like a team for America.
The one thing most of these teams have in common is that they are smaller market teams. Philidelphia is the largest city on the list, and it’s the sixth largest city in the US. New Orleans is number 53. Cincy is number 65. Buffalo is number 78. Green Bay? 292. The other commonality is that they all have young superstar quarterbacks.
No offense to Dak Prescott but he’s not young, nor is he a superstar. Derek Carr is barely holding on as a young superstar, and this chance with the Saints may be his last to prove himself. With that old guy Aaron Rodgers going to the New Jersey Jets, Green Bay turns to the Padawan Jordan Love to return Green Bay to the playoffs. Then of course there are the wonder boys Joe Burrow, Josh Allen, and Jalen Hurts.
One can debate who could be the 2020’s version of America’s Team, but for certain, it’s not the Cowboys, and it hasn’t been for a long long time, in a galaxy far far away called Jerryworld.
Main Image: Cara Owsley/The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK