Dallas Cowboys: The Self-Proclaimed Preseason Super Bowl Champions

If you have not encountered a fan of the Dallas Cowboys football team in the United States of America, congratulations! Their fanbase is very well spread out across the country, which is likely where the nickname “America’s Team” originated. However, that is as far as the compliments will be going.

Against the predictions (or for a better phrase: traditions) of the fans stating that “The Cowboys will win the Super Bowl this season,” the Cowboys have not accomplished such feat this millennium, and they surely will not win the Super Bowl this season. Although this tends to get annoying after nearly 30 years of false predictions, there is more to just this that makes these fans and the entire Cowboys organization annoying.

For starters, the Dallas Cowboys seemed to become annoying the very second that current owner Jerry Jones purchased the team on February 25, 1989. Jones’ first order of business just happened to be firing Tom Landry, the original head coach of the Cowboys, after 29 seasons of service. Jones visited the golf course Landry was playing at and proceeded to fire Landry. This event happened the very same day Jones had purchased the franchise. Although there is no good way of firing people, there is a wrong, unprofessional, and outright laughable way to do so. Jerry just happened to find that negative way.

One reason why we might spot ordinary people flocking to the equally average Cowboy fan fraternity is the bling of “JerryWorld.” This is a world in which Jerry has created everything, including the 100,000 (or more) seat building that is AT&T Stadium or the 12,000 seat indoor stadium that is Ford Field at The Star, the practice facility for the 2016 NFC regular-season champions. The entire team is worth an estimated $5.7 billion as of September 2020, easily dwarfing the $140 million in pocket change that Mr. Jones paid for the team in the late ’80s.

Not only does the bling of the playing facility and the entire team’s worth draw in these types of people, but “JerryWorld” has so much more to offer. The Star is located in Frisco (not Dallas) is a pleasant 40 miles away from the actual stadium in Arlington (also not Dallas). The adjacent buildings include a hotel, some lovely shops, the practice facilities, the “World Headquarters of the Dallas Cowboys” (their offices), the Hall of Fame, which does include Tom Landry to the surprise of many, and more restaurants than the team has good players. It seems like a grand attraction. Jerry Jones has built an empire out of his $140 million investment, and Jerry is now the figurative ‘god’ of his world, the Frisco-Arlington Cowboys.

An aerial view of the Dallas Cowboys headquarters at The Star from the Cowboys new corporate helicopter in Frisco, TX. (Andy Jacobsohn/Dallas Morning News)

The Cowboys have 5 Super Bowl Championships in the history of their franchise, and to Jones’ credit, 3 of them came under his direction in 1993, 1994, and 1996. Jerry knows how to build a winning team. All he needs is a star quarterback (such as Troy Aikman in the ’90s), a star running back (Emmitt Smith in the ’90s), a star receiver (Michael Irvin in the ’90s), a stout offensive line (multiple Pro Bowl linemen in the 90s), and a solid defense throughout (multiple ’90s Pro Bowlers on the defensive line and in the secondary). This seems almost identical to the team viewers have seen in the recent past. At one point, the Cowboys had the following in the recent past: QB Dak Prescott, RB Ezekiel Elliott, WR Amari Cooper, a top-5 offensive line, a prime DeMarcus Lawrence on the defensive line, a pair of young and hungry linebackers, and arguably the best secondary in the NFL. The front office seems to have set everything up for success; all they need to do is win. However, Jerry needs to recognize that there is something deeper.

Outside of a few of these players departing, there are plenty of outstanding players to cheer for if you are a fan of the Frisco-Arlington Cowboys. It is understandable that the fans enjoy the Cowboys because a big-name player has been on the field almost every year the “America’s Team” nickname has been around.

Thinking of the 5 Super Bowl Championships of the distant past and the team’s failures today, their competition must be recognized. During the Cowboys’ division championship era from 1992-1996, the NFC East Division, which included all four current NFC East members plus the Phoenix/Arizona Cardinals, had five wild card playoff teams outside of Dallas. The competition was fierce in the east, as more often than not, those division rivals who reached the wild card round won 10 games in the regular season.

Compare that to the past three seasons out in Frisco and Arlington, where they now have to defeat only three teams (Arizona moved from the east to the west). One team is in a full-scale rebuild, one team plays like it has no name when it actually has no name, and one team is injured so much that a practice squad signing will often be a starter by season’s end. The 2018 season ended with “Dem Boyz” as the East champions, while the Eagles of Philly secured a wild card spot. Although that might be great, Dallas finished with a mediocre +15 point differential. 2019 looked different; although the team had a point differential of +113, the Cowboys went 8-8 and fell short of the Eagles by one win. But 2020 was the year that showed what excellence the NFC East holds, as the team from the Dallas metropolitan area came in third with a record of 6-10. The kings of the NFC East, you may ask? The 7-9 Washington Football Team. The Football Team won the division. They accomplished that feat with a losing record. Cowboys fans cheer for one thing and one thing only: mediocrity. How interesting it is that all other mediocre teams tend to lack fans.

The Arlington branch of the Frisco-Arlington Cowboys wasn’t always in Arlington, as the former home of the Cowboys was in Irving, TX. Before their first stadium, Texas Stadium, was completed in Irving, the new NFL expansion team played their games at the Cotton Bowl from 1960-1971, marking the first and only time the Cowboys played their home games in an outdoor stadium. Following the 1971 season, “America’s Team” began a run of nice, air-conditioned playing fields with a dome to protect them from the outdoors. A review on AT&T Stadium noted that the climate indoors is set between 68 and 76 degrees Fahrenheit, and other reviews mentioned that it was “comfortable.” AT&T Stadium in Arlington, which succeeded Texas Stadium in 2009, has a retractable roof, but why would the football team want to play in the elements when they have air conditioning?

Many have likely heard ESPN Analyst and host of First Take Stephen A. Smith bash the Cowboys by laughing at their defeats, expecting expectations as a joke, and many more meme-worthy moments such as that. Every so often, former star Cowboys WR Michael Irvin comes onto the show and has to absorb the blows that Stephen A. sends towards the team based in Frisco-Arlington. One thing should stand out to viewers over other things: how Smith brings up or implies the “America’s Team” expectations. Whenever expectations are brought into the picture by their loyal fanbase, the team collapses. He frequently sends out Instagram videos reminding the “disgusting fanbase” that “I told you so.” The failure to meet expectations is something the Frisco-Arlington Cowboys are known for, and so many non-Cowboys fans love, and I mean LOVE, to raise the expectations of these fans, so their tall pedestal comes crashing down after every loss.

Sure, “Dem Boyz” have won. The five Lombardi Trophies are kept far away from the city of Dallas, Texas, even though the “Dallas” Cowboys won the trophies. Five trophies are more than most teams have in their arsenal. However, this arsenal is missing something very valuable. A lot of things, actually. For instance, a general manager who can be fired by the owner (Jerry Jones is both), a non-situational head coach, a defense, maybe a stadium that is a few degrees colder…you get the idea. The Cowboys of Frisco and Arlington, Texas, have one of the most powerful owners in all of sports, holds one of the biggest brand names in all of sports, is backed by the largest fanbase in all of sports, and still can’t find a way to beat the Football Team.

That is tough. Very difficult situation to be in for them. I hope they can figure it out. But they can stay the way they are. That might be alright with most football fans.

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