Column: Are the Cowboys still America’s Team?

WASHINGTON — At a time when patriotism in sports is all the rage, NFL.com posed an interesting question back in September: What does it take to be “America’s Team?”

With all due respect to the writer (and longtime Cowboys front office legend) Gil Brandt, tossing Johnny-come-latelys like the Jacksonville Jaguars and Philadelphia Eagles into the conversation is a bit shortsighted — as is the question itself, to an extent. America is about freedom of choice, so coming to a consensus on a single team is nearly impossible when you consider every corner of the country will be looking at this from different perspectives.

Thus, the question isn’t who is America’s Team — it’s how many such teams are there?

Since America means different things to different people, I think it’s appropriate to have different teams represent the specific regions defined by the U.S. Census Bureau. Sure, people in close proximity but in different places don’t necessarily have the same tastes, but I don’t have the time and you don’t have the attention span to read me make a case for each of the 32 teams.

So here are the four teams from the four regional divisions.

New England Patriots wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson strikes a pose after scoring a touchdown against the Philadelphia Eagles during the second half of a preseason NFL football game, Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Mary Schwalm)
Northeast – New England Patriots Considering the Northeast primarily consists of New England states, this one is pretty obvious. There’s a strong case to be made for the Pittsburgh Steelers — one of the best traveled fanbases in pro sports — but their lack of popularity among New Englanders pushes them just a tick behind the Pats. (AP Photo/Mary Schwalm) (AP/Mary Schwalm)
ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 14:  Ezekiel Elliott #21 and Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys celebrate the fourth quarter touchdown against the Jacksonville Jaguars at AT&T Stadium on October 14, 2018 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
South – Dallas Cowboys I know, historically, the Redskins were the team of the South, but the present-day ‘Skins can’t even fill their stadium with their own fans, so it’s hard to make a case for them being the team of an entire region. Though Dallas has been just as mediocre as the Redskins for about as long, the Cowboys are still one of the most polarizing teams in all of pro sports and a ratings boon. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Cleveland Browns fans celebrate after the Browns defeated the Baltimore Ravens 12-9 during overtime in an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 7, 2018, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/David Richard)
Midwest – Cleveland Browns This one might come as a surprise, but Cleveland’s primetime win over the Jets proved they can be a ratings draw, and they may finally have a quarterback capable of making them a winner again. Yes, I said “again.” People under the age of 80 don’t know this, but the Browns were truly great once and were annual contenders in the 1980s. There’s a strong case to be made for the Green Bay Packers in this region, but I think their relevance has a lot to do with having cinch Hall-of-Fame QBs Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers concurrently for nearly three decades. The Browns have either been really good or really bad, making them a more compelling follow than anyone else in their region. We know them well as lovable losers — but if the Browns ever become a powerhouse again, you’d see a big bandwagon joining the Dawg Pound (or, given recent events, “Dogg Pound”). (AP Photo/David Richard) (AP/David Richard)
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 27: Running back Todd Gurley #30 and quarterback Jared Goff #16 of the Los Angeles Rams enter the stadium through the tunnel area of their game against the Minnesota Vikings at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on September 27, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
West – L.A. Rams I mean, what’s more West Coast than the glitz and glamour of the Rams? Young, hunky head coach. Aesthetically pleasing offense that puts (many, many) points on the board. A defense that’ll punch you in the cakehole. Star power on both sides of the ball. This could be the start of the 49ers dynasty of the 80s, and it’ll be exponentially more fun to watch. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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New England Patriots wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson strikes a pose after scoring a touchdown against the Philadelphia Eagles during the second half of a preseason NFL football game, Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Mary Schwalm)
ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 14:  Ezekiel Elliott #21 and Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys celebrate the fourth quarter touchdown against the Jacksonville Jaguars at AT&T Stadium on October 14, 2018 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Cleveland Browns fans celebrate after the Browns defeated the Baltimore Ravens 12-9 during overtime in an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 7, 2018, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/David Richard)
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 27: Running back Todd Gurley #30 and quarterback Jared Goff #16 of the Los Angeles Rams enter the stadium through the tunnel area of their game against the Minnesota Vikings at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on September 27, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

If you disagree with these choices … well, that’s probably the most American part of this whole exercise. After all, there’s not a single president, congressman or senator that’s received 100 percent of the vote, so why would we all agree on the football team we like?

I mean, not everything can be as universally loved as the NFL Week 7 Recap.


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