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The Dallas Cowboys: The Team America Loves To Hate
The Dallas Cowboys started their journey in American football as an expansion team in 1960.
In their first few years they experienced little success as most upstart teams do but by the mid 60's they were providing stiff competition against the better teams in football.
Beginning with the 1966 season the Cowboys made the playoffs 17 times out of 18 seasons with 1974 being the only time in that period that they failed to qualify.
They won seven straight division championships from 1967 to 1973. During that string they won the first of five Super Bowl Championships in 1972.
The Dallas Cowboys were rising stars and the darlings of the National Football League. Many of the star players like Roger Staubach were celebrities off the field.
Staubach had served time in the Naval Academy and was an American hero of sorts. To top it off he wore a uniform that had a helmet with a star on it which was symbolic to some fans of the stars on the American flag.
America by all appearances was in love with the Cowboys.
So what went wrong?
Its Not Easy Being Good
During the 1970s the Dallas Cowboys put together a winning record that was unrivaled by any other team in professional football. From 1971 to 1979 they won 105 regular season games.
Also during the decade they made five Super Bowl appearances winning two of them. In two head-to-head meetings with the Pittsburgh Steelers the Cowboys lost both times by the same margin of four points but that did little to tarnish their image.
It was clear that within a very short time the Dallas Cowboys had gotten very good and a lot of people began not to like it.
In the 1980s it seemed the tide of support that the Cowboys had enjoyed turned into a climate of hate. This was especially true when it came to their now rivals, the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The Steelers developed a particular dislike for the Cowboys in the 70's which carried over to the 80's and went out of their way to show it on the football field.
Pittsburgh was a blue collar town that took pride in its image of hardworking steel men and their football team wore that image proudly.
The Steelers were a rough and tumble team that believed in physically intimidating their opponent. They looked upon the Cowboys as a "pretty boy", finesse team that had gained their success by being clever instead of physical like a "real" football team and it seems that the Steelers' image portrayal of the Cowboys struck a nerve with football fans around the country as well as with other teams in the league.
In the 1980s the Cowboys found the going a little more difficult. They won only two division championship and made the playoffs five times with no Super Bowl appearances.
America was out of love and the hatred was building.
Roger Staubach putting in work
By the 1990s it was clear that many football fans and teams in the NFL did not like the Cowboys.
Fans and teams alike seemed to gloat and glory in the Cowboys fall from the top. They had something to prove.
It had been thirteen years since Dallas had appeared in a Super Bowl game when they finally made it at the conclusion of the 1992 season and they were primed and ready when they took on the Buffalo Bills.
The Cowboys won going away 52-17 which was the first of three appearances and wins in the big game during the 1990s.
The Cowboys were back on top and loving it.
Three The Hard Way: Aikman, Irvin and Smith
The Team They Love To Hate
By the end of the 1990s the fortunes of the Cowboys began to fade again. Age, injuries and off-the-field problems plagued Dallas and once again they found themselves in a drought as the new millennium began.
Flash forward to 2014.
The Dallas Cowboys are the team America loves to hate.
Since 1999 Dallas has only been in the playoffs four times and their current quarterback Tony Romo has only won one playoff game. A fact that fans and sports analysts both harp on.
As any Cowboys fan like me knows there is a lot of "hater-aid" being passed around in the sports world and on social media.
Just mention the Cowboys and the hate begins to pour out like Niagara Falls.
Could it be that its because they are tied with the San Francisco 49ers with the second most Super Bowl wins at five apiece? Or could it be because they are tied with the Pittsburgh Steelers with the most Super Bowl appearances with eight apiece?
Is it because as a franchise they have more total wins, Super Bowls victories and playoff appearances than the haters' teams do when they haven't been to a Super Bowl in seventeen years?
Who knows but whatever the reason is it doesn't change the facts.
The Dallas Cowboys are one of the winningest franchises in the National Football League and are in the top three in Super Bowl wins and appearances.
The Cowboys have fallen on hard times but they have been there before and just like before they will rise again...........I hope.