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The term America's Team is a popular nickname in American sports that most often refers to the Dallas Cowboys of the National Football League. The nickname originated with the team's 1978 highlight film, where the narrator opens with the following introduction: The term is recognized and often used by media outlets, including ESPN, Yahoo!, HBO Sports, and Sports Illustrated.

On their Top 10 show, the NFL Network named the Dallas Cowboys' "America's Team" as the #1 nickname in NFL history.


Bob Ryan, now Vice President and editor-in-chief of NFL Films, coined this for the Cowboys while preparing and editing the team’s 1978 season highlight film. He was quoted as saying:

Ryan told the NFL Network, for their Top Ten Nicknames show:

During the Cowboys' first game of the 1979 season, a nationally televised game against the St. Louis Cardinals (which Dallas won 22-21), the television announcer for CBS introduced the Cowboys as America’s Team and the name stuck.

Dallas' Hall of Fame coach Tom Landry originally did not approve of the appellation of America's Team. He felt that it would give opposing teams extra incentive to play harder. Eventually he gave in and actually came to like the name.

Records and Media

In 2003, NFL Films released a DVD collection chronicling the Dallas Cowboys franchise entitled The Dallas Cowboys: The Complete History of America's Team 1960-2003.

The popularity of the Cowboys as America's Team has been supported somewhat by such NFL records as "Team with Most Consecutive Sold Out Games", a streak of 160 home and away games (including playoffs) that began on December 23, 1990, at Philadelphia's Veterans Stadium and came to an end on December 24, 1999, in a Christmas Eve game against the New Orleans Saints in the Louisiana Super Dome. Other examples are the NFL games featuring the Cowboys that result in record-breaking ratings at the time of broadcast, such as 7 of the 8 Super Bowl games featuring the Cowboys and the NFC Championship Game between the Cowboys and 49ers, the only non-Super Bowl NFL game to be ranked in the Top 45 Primetime Telecasts of All Time.

Other claims to the name

The Atlanta Braves laid claim to the name due to their games being broadcast on cable television systems nationwide on WTBS, building a fan base in areas of the United States far removed from a Major League Baseball team. A 1982 issue of Sports Illustrated had referred to the Braves as "America's Team II".

Franchises with long histories and large nationwide fan bases are occasionally referred to as America's Team. The most prominent example is probably the New York Yankees, who rose to prominence in the United States in the 1920s.

Pittsburgh Steelers owner Art Rooney dismissed the suggestion that the Steelers were "America's Team". "'We didn't want that,' Rooney said. 'We're Pittsburgh'smarker team. We feel strongly about that.'"


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