**Note** This is Part 3/5 of “coiski 101: 5 Steps on Taking a Stance in an Article” lesson. You can read the previous two here.
America’s Team. Just let that sink in. To tout yourself as the team of an entire country – despite the unabashed loyalty one may have to their own team – is a heavy cross to bear. Yet, the Dallas Cowboys have officially held that title since the late 1970’s. Almost four decades of being the banner franchise of America has boosted the value of the franchise from the meager $140 million that Jerry Jones bought it for in 1989 to the $4.2 billion conglomerate that we know today – the most valuable sports franchise in the world, according to Forbes.
The actual story of how the Cowboys were originally laced with such a moniker aside, the currently constructed team seems to represent America more than ever.
Now Cowboy haters, before furiously scrolling your mouse to the upper right hand corner of this screen to completely shut down this website, understand that I am a long-suffering San Francisco 49er fan that comes from a family where you root for two teams: your team of choice and whichever team is playing against the Cowboys that week. Ironically, that’s a part of the America’s team narrative. The polarizing nature of the Cowboys is partly what makes that title ring true.
Allow me to explain.
The current rendition of the Cowboys is led by two rookies performing at MVP levels. Running backs having good years is nothing new; however, it has become en vogue to use top 5 draft picks on anything other than running backs as teams have opted to take running backs with later picks, figuring there either isn’t much difference between prospects, or they would use a running back by committee approach. Not these Cowboys. They drafted Ezekiel Elliot and his half shirt with the fourth overall pick and have commenced to execute the plan of having him be their bell cow back. Through Week 11, Elliot led the league in rushing while carrying the rock 223 times. That is over 100 more carries than the rest of the Cowboys combined – a new approach.
The second of these two-edged rookie sword is the QB, Dak Prescott. Prescott, though having a stellar career in the most competitive conference in the college ranks, came into the draft with questions swirling about everything from his stature to an untimely DUI arrest. In the 4th round, the Dallas Cowboys decided to take a flyer on the unconventional signal caller to employ as an insurance policy. Then, a crazy thing happened. Dak performed well in the preseason. Like, really well. Well enough for people to at least whisper about Dak playing over the polarizing Cowboy staple, Tony Romo. Those whispers matured to tangible conversation when Romo went Romo during Week 3 of the preseason. Since then, Prescott has thrown all but two of the Cowboys’ pass attempts this year, and has thrown a mere two interceptions compared to 17 touchdowns – a variation from the norm.
These stats have catapulted the Dallas Cowboys to a franchise record 9-game winning streak. It also led to Tony Romo, who is now healthy, reluctantly, almost tearfully passing the torch. Ironically, America’s Team parallels America. Jerry Jones represents the old guard – a man who is infamous for butting in football business when maybe he shouldn’t. He has made questionable decisions that drove the franchise to low points as recently as last year. What changed? Change was embraced. Jones relinquished some of his power. You no longer seem him roaming the sidelines like a helicopter parent to wayward children. The powers that be in Arlington rolled with what worked instead of common knowledge and are reaping rewards in ways they couldn’t have imagined. Seriously, Prescott didn’t take a single snap under center in college. How in the world is that supposed to translate to NFL success? Traditionally, it wouldn’t. For now, it has. All it took was an opportunity, an open mind and a work ethic.
A relatively short, biracial quarterback that prefers the pass over the run, and a young, brash running back that prefers half shirts over full length are now the faces of America’s Team. They have pumped renewed vigor into a downtrodden, yet somehow consistently annoying, fan base. This could all end today. The Cowboys could lose this Thanksgiving game and every game after, and go from darlings to cautionary tale overnight. The thing is, this tale, however tenuous it may be, would have never been written had the historically stuffy regime not embraced a new way of thinking. If they had not ignored the norm and replaced it with progressive thinking, or at least given “innovators” a chance, the book of this Cowboy team would probably read much like last year’s edition.
If the historically stuffy powers that be of this nation had not given way to pioneers, creatives, and new thought, the narrative would still be the same as it has been. If they don’t continue to do so, productivity is inevitably stalled. If we do not embrace change, or at the very least accept it and support those that are prying the proverbial torches from our selfish grasps, our success will be limited. What’s done is done. What will be done hinges upon opportunity, open minds, and unbelievable work ethics.
Love them or hate them, the Dallas Cowboys are America. So when you watch the Cowboys today and throughout this season, root for or against them as you wish. But let the reality of them having hope that has seemingly overshadowed their recent history serve as a symbol of America. After all, they are America’s Team.
**Note** Read the five steps we implemented in creating this article here.