Why are Dallas Cowboys “America’s Team”?

Why are Dallas Cowboys “America’s Team”?

Just like the fans of 31 other NFL teams, Tom Landry hated the term “America’s Team” that was given to the Dallas Cowboys.

He didn’t come up with the term. In fact, nobody in the Dallas Cowboys organization had anything to do with the genesis of the term “America’s Team.”

NFL Films editor Bob Ryan created the term for the 1979 highlight film he oversaw about the Cowboys and their success during the decade.

“The Cowboys were easily the most popular team across America at the time,” Ryan explained years later to the Dallas News. “They were regulars on Monday Night Football. They always seemed to play in CBS’ doubleheader game on Sundays. They were ratings gold. They had the star on the helmet, cheerleaders, the Doomsday Defense and Roger Staubach, also known as “Captain Comeback.” In putting together their highlight film, I wanted to deflect some of the pain from their loss to the Steelers.”

While Landry hated the term because he knew it would provide added fuel for all opponents, his boss, Cowboys general manager Texas “Tex” Schramm loved it.

“[Schramm] adopted it for all things Cowboys,” Ryan explained. “Tom Landry hated it … because coaches are coaches. They don’t like anything that paints a target on their team. He saw it as a bulls-eye that would motivate opponents.”

Ryan doesn’t get any royalties from coining the term “America’s Team.” He was employed by the NFL at the time, so it was a job. He did it very well, but he was salaried and got no monetary bonus for creating one of the most recognized sports terms in the world.

“[Jerry Jones] doesn’t slip me any cash but he is always very nice to me and my family,” Ryan said.


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