When Ben Roethlisberger met with the media before practice on Wednesday he was asked to comment about the Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo. His response, “He plays for “America’s team” right? I think the Steelers are the world’s team. We just want to go beat them.” Well done Ben. If you were raised in Steeler Nation, you were raised to hate the Cowboys right along with the Browns and Bengals. This goes long before the Browns turned purple and even before Belichick picked up his first video recorder. In 1978 the Cowboys dubbed themselves America’s Team in their own highlight reel video and they’ve been referred to that ever since, even though we all know who the real America’s Team is. Ever go into a new city and immediately find a Dallas Cowboys bar? I didn’t think so. The idea that the Cowboys are still “America’s Team” is a joke for many considering they’ve been rather competitively irrelevant for many years but it is good to dig up the old rivalry feelings for the upcoming matchup.
My hatred of the Cowboys started as a child, but it began in my family before I was born. I am told my grandmother was never fond of Ed “Too Tall” Jones and I distinctly remember my Pap expressing extreme hatred towards Jimmy Johnson when he was hired. In fact, our family always followed Dan Marino’s career down in Miami because he was the hometown kid but the year Johnson coached the Dolphins my Pap never watched a game of theirs out of protest. I never liked Troy Aikman, have always been rather vanilla towards Emmit Smith, and I’ve always disliked Michael Irving. I was raised to believe that Jerry Jones was the devil himself. Well not seriously, but you get the idea.
I was told stories about those Super Bowls against the Cowboys in the 70s and always wanted to see the Steelers reach that level again. In 94 when the Steelers fell 3 yards short of a Super Bowl berth my heart was broken. I was glad to see the Cowboys fall short in their respective NFC Championship that year to the 49ers. The very next year as Jim Harbaugh’s Hail Mary was batten down in the endzone of Three Rivers Stadium and sealed the Steelers trip to Super Bowl XXX I’ll never forget the goose bumps my dad got. What was even better than the Steelers going to the Super Bowl was the fact that they were facing the Cowboys. To this day I am forever convinced that Neil O’Donnell was paid off by Jerry Jones to blow the game and throw those interceptions to Larry Brown. I mean seriously, who throws two damned near identical passes to the same guy in the same spot on the opposite team twice???
Lately there hasn’t been much reason to hate the Cowboys. I’m actually finding it rather entertaining watching Jerry Jones turn into Al Davis. Sometimes you feel bad for Tony Romo, but then you remember he’s a Cowboy so that moment is fleeting. There is still, however, the long standing debate over the whole “America’s Team” thing. There shouldn’t even be a debate really. People aren’t going all over the world to post pictures of themselves with a Cowboys shirt on the Great Wall of China; they’re there with a Terrible Towel. The Steelers fans are always known for “traveling well” but in reality the stadiums all over the country fill up with Steeler fans that have relocated from Pittsburgh, planted roots and started whole new generations of Steeler fans living in Dallas, Miami, Phoenix, etc. The first time Heath Miller catches a pass in Cowboys stadium will tell you exactly who America’s Team is.
This Sunday’s game is a tough one for the whole “smack talk” against the Cowboys. If the Cowboys fan you’re smack talking with thinks their boys will win easily, their most likely admitting that their team blows seeing as how the Steelers have had their worst losses against crap teams. If they think it will be a close game, they think their guys are good and the Steelers will most likely win and complete their sweep of the NFC East. This isn’t, however, just a “must-win” game, this is one of three must-win games the Steelers have to finish the season. True, they can lose to the Cowboys and still make it into the playoffs if all goes well at home next week against the Bengals, but why leave things up to chance?
In addition, the Steelers and Cowboys are having a social media showdown to determine who is the more popular team. Fans are encouraged to “Like” their team’s site on Facebook and “Follow” their team’s twitter feed and the results are being tracked. Click the link below and you’ll know what to do. Spread the word. Currently, there is no surprise that the Steelers are winning but it’s on you Steeler Nation to go out and make sure to seal the victory for the true America’s Team. Screw that, I like the title of the World’s Team a lot better anyway. Go Steelers!
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