It’s time to crown a new “America’s team”: the New England Patriots

Marcus Darby, Reporter

The National Football League was founded 96 years ago on Aug. 20, 1920. Since then, the league has risen to the top of America’s sports food chain, becoming the most popular league in our country.

An argument can be made that football has become America’s new past-time as its popularity has surpassed baseball. What makes this sport and this league so popular in today’s society? Every game is an event. You only get one game a week to see your team play, unlike other major sports in which multiple games are played weekly.

A lot of practice and preparation goes into just a few hours of football. Each game has a huge impact. That makes tailgating more of an event, and the reactions to outcomes more emphatic.

We even have a fantasy version, so that the average person can pretend to be an owner and put together their own team. This begs the question: Of the 32 teams in the NFL, who is really “America’s team?”

First, let us define how we categorize the label America’s Team. This is a team that, if we were to send them anywhere in this universe to play a football game, we would be confident this team would win and represent America with class. They need to have a culture of winning.

America is a land of winners. People come from all over the world to enjoy the benefits of the opportunity to win – that means winning socially, educationally, and financially. America’s team should be able to adjust to adversity and pressure. It should be able to capitalize. So obviously, it needs to be a team full of proven winners, a classy organization.

In the 1970’s, NFL Films dubbed the Dallas Cowboys as “America’s Team,”, and the title has stuck. The Cowboys, or as ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith would call them “an accident waiting to happen,” are considered “America’s team” by most. Let’s be honest, that crown is outdated and a new king should have the crown.

In the 1990’s, the Cowboys were the team. They were dominant on the ground, in the air, and on defense. They had one of the greatest collections of talent on one team in NFL history. The great Emmitt Smith at running back, the great Michael Irving at wide receiver, Troy Aikman at quarterback, and Deion “Primetime” Sanders at corner. Not to mention, Jimmy Johnson as head coach.

The Cowboys won three Super bowls in the 90’s (1993, 1994, and 1996) and five overall in the franchise’s history, with the other two coming in 1972 and 1978. Since the 90’s, the Cowboys have been relatively pedestrian, with only two playoff appearances in the past ten years and a countless list of off-the-field issues, from substance abuse and theft to domestic violence.

The Cowboys have done everything except win recently, but are still considered “America’s team.” This team should not, in any way, represent this country in class or in terms of ability to win big games.

When you think of organizations that embody those values, you can’t help but think of the Pittsburgh Steelers or the New England Patriots. These two franchises are storied, have multiple Super Bowls and countless Hall of Fame members. They always seem to remain relevant in each era. They have fans packing opposing teams’ stadiums every Sunday.

The Pittsburgh Steelers organization has been on the forefront of racial equality in the NFL. The owner Dan Rooney proposed the NFL’s Rooney Rule. This rule states that each team must interview at least one African-American for high-level coaching positions.

The New England Patriots, on the other hand, embody consistency, and are proof that systems and cultures are important to success. They take pride in a culture of winning, to the point where no matter who is under center, or in uniform, this team will still be in the playoffs.

For me, it’s the New England Patriots that are America’s Team. Even though, as a person born and raised in Buffalo, NY and an avid Buffalo Bills fan, it kills me to pick them. I feel confident that if you send this team to play anyone, the Patriots will come home with a win – no matter what.

They have a winning culture and a winning system. The Patriots are the real “America’s team.”

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