A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from August 11, 2006
America’s Team (Dallas Cowboys)

"America’s Team” was the title of NFL Films’ highlight film of the 1978 Dallas Cowboys. The nickname was initially used with pride, but quickly became a source of mockery by Dallas’s 1979 opponents. Whenever the Dallas Cowobys become successful, the team’s many fans across the nation come out to support the club and the nickname is re-used.

30 October 1979, Washington Post, pg. E5:
A gag circulating in pro football was that the Baltimore Colts, not the Dallas Cowboys, really were “America’s team” because of owner Bob Irsay threatening to move to Memphis, Jacksonville, Los Angeles or some other city to get better accommodations.

3 December 1979, Chicago Tribune, “‘America’s Team’ has a happy day, at last” by Cooper Rollow, pg. C3:
IRVING, Tex.—Happy days are here again for the Dallas Cowboys.

At some undetermined point during Sunday’s 28-7 victory over the New York Giants, the professional football club that has become known as “America’s Team” suddenly found itself.

30 December 1979, Upper Peninsula (Escanaba, Michigan) Sunday Times, “Landry’s Cowboys survive a year of travail” by United Press International, pg. B6:
On top of all the injuries and internal disputes that have served to distract the players this year, one of the largest problems of all started quietly enough last March in discussions between club officials and representatives of NFL Films.

The 1978 Dallas Highlight film had been prepared and edited by NFL Films and a script had been sent to the Cowboys. A tentative title for the 20-minute movie had been selected by the filmmakers—“Champions Die Hard.”

That didn’t go over too well with the Cowboys hierarchy. SO representatives from both parties sat down to think about a new name.

The film people said they had noticed that no matter in what stadium footage had been shot, there were always Cowboys pennants being waved. It was also pointed out by NFL Properties, the merchandising end of the league, that Dallas paraphernalia far outsold that of any other team.

The Cowboys, it seemed, had a national clientele.

So someone, no one now seems to remember just who, suggested calling the highlight film, “America’s Team.”

Dallas officials, who had veto power over anyh title chosen, thought that had a nice ring to it.

The film came out in April and merchandisers quickly picked up on the name. America’s Team calendars appeared with Staubach’s picture on them .And soon the chuckles began. The girls along the sidelines were referred to as “America’s Cheerleaders,” Schramm was “America’s President,” and Staubach was “America’s Quarterback.”

At Dallas’ first home exhibition game—against Denver—the public address announcer introduced the Cowboys as “America’s Team.”

Right then, perhaps, the feeling swept the Cowboys front office that things had gotten out of hand. They tried to divorce themselves from the name in every way they could.

But it was too late.

When the Cowboys began to struggle, the slogan was rubbed in their faces.

“They may be America’s team,” gloated Houston Coach Bum Phillips after the Oilers had beaten Dallas on Thanksgiving Day, “but we’re Texas’ team.”

16 July 2003, New York Times, pg. A17:
Tex Schramm Is Dead at 83;
Builder of “America’s Team”
By Gerald Eskenazi
Schramm was general manager of the Cowboys from their creation in 1960 until 1989, he span in which they became known as America’s Team while producing a winning stretch that reached 20 straight seasons.
Schramm did not coin the term America’s Team, but he loved it. It had a dashing connotation with the Lone Star on the helmet, and it became the title of the Cowboys’ 1968 highlight film (1978 is correct—ed.), which helped brand it on the public consciousness.

In 1972, he introduced the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders to pro football. They formed a touring troupe that took them around the world.

Posted by Barry Popik
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • (0) Comments • Friday, August 11, 2006 • Permalink