Brace yourselves, Cowboys fans: The Chiefs ‘America’s Team’ debate is here

This latest chapter of Kansas City success has only fueled the ultimate jab at Cowboys fandom: Who is really America’s Team now?

DALLAS — A Dallas-founded franchise with Dallas owners and a Texas quarterback just won another Super Bowl, their third in the last five seasons.

If that sentence isn’t enough to make a Cowboys fan cringe, get this: Even North Texas’ own Post Malone switched out his Cowboys jacket for a Chiefs jacket at the Super Bowl after-party, at least for one song.

This latest chapter of Kansas City success has only fueled the ultimate jab at Cowboys fandom: Who is really America’s Team now? Are the Chiefs the rightful heir to the throne?

The Dallas Morning News asked the question Sunday night, after Kansas City beat the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LVIII. Wait, that’s not right. There was no question about it.

“Latest Super Bowl leaves no doubt: Chiefs have swiped ‘America’s Team’ title from Cowboys,” the News headline declared.

“The Cowboys have watched the high ground slowly erode from under their cleats these last 28 years,” Cowboys beat writer David Moore wrote. “Super Bowl LVIII chipped away even more.”

Moore wasn’t first to the party, though.

Over the last few weeks, the anointing of the Chiefs as America’s Team has become the hot take du jour. The Associated Press, Bob Costas and USA Today have all weighed in, if not declared the fight over.

The Chiefs have a few things working in their favor, namely: Winning.

If Kansas City hasn’t won the Super Bowl in recent years, the team has either played in the Big Game or gotten pretty close. The Cowboys, to put it plainly, have not. 

Dallas has infamously not reached the NFC Championship Game since 1996, despite several recent years of regular season success.

The Chiefs also have a wild card: The celebrity couple of Travis Kelce and Taylor Swift. Like the attention or not, there’s no doubt that America’s most famous couple has turned the spotlight on the Chiefs, brighter than ever before.

But what does “America’s Team” even mean anyway?

NFL Films gave the Cowboys that moniker in 1978. At the time, Dallas was in the middle of the Landry-Staubach era. The Cowboys had played in the Super Bowl five times from 1970-1978, winning the title in 1971 and 1977. They were as visible as any team in the NFL and a mainstay on national television games.

The America’s Team label only got stronger in the 1990s, when the Cowboys won three more Super Bowls and owner Jerry Jones turned the club into a money machine. Then came the spectacle of AT&T Stadium and the Super Bowl and the NFL Draft … but no titles.

So what makes one team more popular than the other?

Both the Chiefs and Cowboys have their fair share of haters. But like ’em or not, both squads were among the most-viewed games in 2023. In fact, the Cowboys’ Thanksgiving game against the Commanders reeled in 41.8 million viewers, the second most-watched NFL regular season game ever — behind the Cowboys’ 2022 Thanksgiving game against the Giants.

The Chiefs are riding higher than any NFL team since Tom Brady’s New England Patriots. But the Cowboys, despite minimal postseason success, still draw among the biggest crowds and TV audiences in the league.

Dallas just might want to throw in a Super Bowl appearance every now and then.

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