Written by: LaShawn Encarnacion aka The Dark Knight of Sports
Since the AFL/NFL merger, there have been numerous candidates for the title of “America’s Team.” For decades that title has ridden with the Dallas Cowboys, especially in the nineties when they backed up the name with the play on the field winning multiple championships under Jimmy Johnson. Led by the lethal team of Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith and Michael Irvin, this was truly the team the beat in the nineties.
But lets go over which teams SHOULD be considered as TODAY’S America’s team for there are a few since the Cowboys have fallen a bit from grace since the nineties.
1. The New England Patriots:
Some would say that with all the championships that the Patriots have won since the 2000-2001 season, combined with their constant dominance of the AFC East division, they deserve the moniker as “America’s Team.” Some would have a very strong argument with this one. Same head coach in Bill Belichick and same quarterback with Tom Brady. Owner Robert Kraft is well respected in the NFL and in the community. Five Super Bowl Championships and the best win/loss record in that same time frame.
Once a franchise known for constant bottom-feeding, the New England Patriots made a name for themselves as a powerhouse of the NFL. But then came Spygate and more recently Deflategate and even more recent, the formation that helped the Patriots win their fifth Super Bowl was deemed unfair by the NFL Rules committee and banned from competition. Cheating to win does not make a team “America’s Team.” Not being 100% completely honest in an investigation does not help the credibility of a wholesome image for the Patriots which is needed to be considered “America’s Team.” And that does not even go into the “murderous” elephant that still lingers around by the name of Aaron Hernandez.
2. The Green Bay Packers:
Since 1996 and Brett Farve putting the Packers back onto the NFL radar, the Packers have been a staple in the NFC North. Multiple NFC North division titles (four straight since 2011) and appearances in the NFC title game with an additional Super Bowl victory under the leadership of current QB Aaron Rodgers in 2010.One of the original eight teams the Packers continue to show the definition of what it is to be an American.
The Packers are owned by the PEOPLE, the PEOPLE have a financial interest in their team and last season the Packers got plenty of money back from TV deals and royalties from the NFL as the Packers made the most money for the NFL. There have been a couple minor suspensions here and there but nothing major in Packer Nation in terms of potentially endangering the title of “America’s Team.”
3. The Pittsburgh Steelers:
With the resigning of Mike Tomlin and General Manager Kevin Colbert, the Rooney family continues to keep the stability that a franchise needs to win games and make themselves competitive for championships on a season by season basis. The loyalty this team shows goes not just to front office and coach but to players as well. Big Ben Roethlisberger got his long-awaited extension. Linebacker James Harrison, who once was released by the Steelers only to come back because they needed help at the position, earned his two-year extension. Troy Palomalu who is now retired, was one of the primary faces that is the Steelers and while Antonio Brown has two years left on his deal, expect the Steelers to resign him sometime this season. Fellow cornerstone players like tight-end Heath Miller and center Maurkice Pouncey also have been well taken care of by the Steelers front office.
The one thing that easily can eliminate the Steelers from being considered as “America’s Team” is their constant involvement with drugs and DUI infractions, most notably caused by Pro Bowl running back Le’Veon Bell and back up LeGarrett Blount. Not the first time and obviously not the last.
So who do YOU think is “America’s Team?” Is it the Dallas Cowboys or one that has been mentioned or even one that is NOT mentioned? Please comment as to who YOU think is worthy of being called “America’s Team.”
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