- DJ Gallo, ESPN.com
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Year in and year out, the Dallas Cowboys are the most disappointing team in the NFL. They have one playoff win, a wild-card victory, since 1996. They talk big and never deliver. They are overpaid, overrated and overexposed. They fall apart when things get tough. They are mediocrity defined.
They are called America’s Team.
That’s a great thing to call them ... if you hate America! Do you hate America? Of course you don’t. You love America. That’s why it’s time to give America a better team, one that she deserves.
But which team should be the new America’s Team? I consulted some of America’s most sacred texts for help.
“When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another ... a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.” -- the first sentence of the Declaration of Independence
Philadelphia was the birthplace of America. The Eagles have a long history with Andy Reid, but it’s time for him to go the way of King George III. Think of paying high ticket prices without seeing a team in the playoffs as taxation without (postseason) representation. As for declaring “the causes which impel” the separation? The Eagles are terrible and getting worse, and Reid is the coach. It’s pretty cut and dry.
There we have it. The Philadelphia Eagles are America’s Team.
“We hold these truth to be self-evident, that all men are created equal” -- Declaration of Independence.
The Jets have three quarterbacks, and it’s tough to argue that the team would be any better or worse if any one of them played over the others. Those men are created equal, as disappointing as that may be for Jets fans.
The New York Jets are America’s Team.
“The history of the present King ... is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world. ... For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury ... A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.” -- Declaration of Independence
At first glance, you may think those words were written by the Saints in a letter to Roger Goodell. They weren’t, though. Amazing but true. Either way, the New Orleans Saints are America’s Team.
“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” -- Preamble to the United States Constitution
Read that again. The Constitution, the core document of our nation, mentions defense in the first sentence. There is not a single mention of offense. Therefore, it can be said that it is an American thing -- perhaps the most American thing -- to build a football team around defense. The Pittsburgh Steelers, Chicago Bears, Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers could all be America’s Team.
“No Person shall be a Representative who shall not have attained to the Age of twenty five Years” -- Article I, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution
The Chargers opened the 2012 season with the oldest roster in football, with an average age of more than 27 years old. So while they won’t make the playoffs again, many of them could serve in Congress, which is nice consolation. The San Diego Chargers are America’s Team.
“If any Bill shall not be returned by the President within ten Days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him, the Same shall be a Law, in like Manner as if he had signed it, unless the Congress by their Adjournment prevent its Return, in which Case it shall not be a Law.” -- Article I, Section 7 of the U.S. Constitution
Huh. That’s interesting. According to the Constitution, if a Bills player goes to see the president and hangs out for 10 days, that player becomes a law. It’s unlikely we ever see this occur because the Bills would have to win the Super Bowl to visit the president, but it’s still an interesting bit of Constitutional minutiae.
The Buffalo Bills are the only team referred to in the Constitution. The Buffalo Bills are America’s Team.
"And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air, / Gave proof thro' the night that our flag was still there." -- Star-Spangled Banner
The national anthem tells the tale of the bombardment of Fort McHenry by the British navy in the War of 1812, and how it was difficult to tell if the American forces held. But they did, and America became the greatest nation in the world.
The Falcons and Texans were crushed for years and years by other NFL teams. They could have given in, but they fought through it and today they are among the best teams in the NFL. The Atlanta Falcons and the Houston Texans: America's Teams.
“Congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press” -- Bill of Rights
Remember: Freedom of speech protects all kinds of speech -- even ridiculous speech or speech you don’t agree with. If it wasn’t for the Bill of Rights, someone probably would have stopped Panthers center Ryan Kalil from putting an ad in the paper in the preseason guaranteeing the Panthers would be in the Super Bowl. Here’s some speech you might not agree with: The Carolina Panthers are America’s Team.
“Congress shall make no law ... [prohibiting] the right of the people peaceably to assemble” -- Bill or Rights
What is important here is what is also implied: Americans can’t be forced to assemble. Tampa Bay is dead last in attendance this season. But the Buccaneers have won five of six! So what? As Americans, Tampa residents have a Constitutional right to not care and to not show up to their games. What a great country! America’s Team is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
“Congress shall make no law ... [prohibiting] the people ... to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” -- Bill of Rights
This part is a little confusing, but a “redress of grievances” is one of the best descriptions I’ve ever heard of a Seattle Seahawks alternate uniform. So that could make the Seattle Seahawks America’s Team.
“The Congress shall assemble at least once in every year, and such meeting shall begin at noon on the 3d day of January, unless they shall by law appoint a different day.” -- Article XX of the Constitution
Showing up to play in January but not necessarily anytime before that? Oh, that’s so the New York Giants, America’s Team.
“O beautiful for patriot dream / That sees beyond the years / Thine alabaster cities gleam / Undimmed by human tears! / America! America!” -- lyrics to “America The Beautiful”
The years of New England Patriots success has not been dimmed by the tears of 18-1. That’s clearly the message of the song, making the New England Patriots America’s team.
“God Bless America, Land that I love. / Stand beside her, and guide her / Thru the night with a light from above. / From the mountains, to the prairies / To the oceans, white with foam / God bless America, My home sweet home.” -- lyrics to “God Bless America”
From the mountains (Knoxville, Denver) to the prairies (Indianapolis) to the oceans (his hometown of New Orleans) -- could we say that any team Peyton Manning plays on is America’s Team? Sure, Why not? The Denver Broncos are America’s Team.
“Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord. / He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored. / He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword. / His truth is marching on.” -- "Battle Hymn of the Republic"
Are these lyrics written to Adrian Peterson, Andrew Luck and RG3, leaders of our nation’s premier one-man teams? Truth. The Minnesota Vikings, Indianapolis Colts, and Washington Redskins are America’s Teams.
“It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us ... that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” -- President Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address
The Packers are the only team in football owned by the people: the fans. And just as governments don’t turn a profit, Packers stock is completely worthless. The Green Bay Packers are America’s Team.
"Give me your tired, your poor/Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free" -- from the sonnet “The New Colossus,” inscribed on a plaque at the base of the Statue of Liberty
These famous words were written by Emma Lazarus in 1883. But it seems that they could have been written about losing NFL franchises such as the Jaguars, Browns, Chiefs, Dolphins, Cardinals, Titans, Bengals, Raiders, Lions and Rams.
The Cowboys, too. Huh. Maybe the Cowboys are America’s Team after all.