Derek Jeter: Why You Should Root for The Dallas Cowboys This Season
Tony Romo, Demarco Murray, Dez Bryant and the rest of the Dallas Cowboys are bringing back old-time grind it out football, and it’s why America’s most hated football team is suddenly becoming one of the most likable. Allow me to explain.
The New York Yankees are, without a doubt, the most criticized and disliked team in American sports. It’s proven in polls seen all over the internet. Certainly for me, nothing ever bothered me more than seeing the Yankees and their 228 million dollar annual payroll win games. The reason why? The Yankees are ‘America’s Team’ in baseball, which means that everyone, outside of their fanbase, hates them.
Despite this, no matter who anyone rooted for, they respected and enjoyed the career of Derek Jeter. This is because Derek Jeter, as far as we know, is a class act. In the midst of an era where everything in baseball seems to have an asterisk next to it on account of steroids, Derek Jeter never did.
The way he waved his cap and smiled, the intensity he approached the game with, The Captain never played for fame, he played for the game. He called to mind older times, which always seem more sweet than the present. Was it not symbolic that the viral Gatorade commercial of Jeter was black and white? That Frank Sinatra was singing? He’s an old school player in the best sense of the phrase, and that’s why people rooted for and respected him, regardless of their favorite team.
Just as Derek Jeter brought back class, the Cowboys have brought back football, the way my dad and grandpa remembered it being played. As I watched the Cowboys beat the Eagles on Sunday night, I couldn’t help but root for the return of the game I’d always heard about. In a win over the Eagles, who have come to embody the new era of powder-puff, high tempo, no huddle football, the Cowboys ran the ball 43 times. Fourty-three. Teams just don’t do that anymore. Just a year ago, the Cowboys averaged 21 rushes per game total.
It’s changes like this that symbolize the changes in Dallas this season. This decade (up until this season) the Dallas Cowboys played a soft brand of football that seemed to choke every time December rolled around. They were talented and, as a result, so hateable for their lack of production. Tony Romo was the lowest polling player in popularity for a player outside of his fanbase last season. Last Season.
But this is this season, and one can’t help but love the way these Cowboys have played. Romo, Murray, and Bryant call to mind a watered-down version of the 1990’s big 3 of Aikman, Smith and Irvin. Romo’s at his best, too. In the most efficient season of his career, Romo has thrown the ball a career low 23 times per game. This means that this offense has been ground and pound by all definitions, and Romo hasn’t been asked to do more than manage the game, lead the team and shoulder it. Just like Aikman. He also still improvises effectively, scrambling around like Terry Bradshaw at times before hitting his man deep. Furthermore, Demarco Murray is a workhorse in every sense of the word, with 76 more carries than Lesean McCoy, second place in the statistic. Dez Bryant even wears Michael Irvin’s number 88. How much more obvious do you want them to make it?
Credit to offensive coordinator Scott Linehan for stepping in this year and doing what needed to be done for Big D. Dallas won games historically not by spreading defenses out and throwing screens and swing passes and throwing the ball 44 times a game, but by grinding teams out: being the aggressor.
What I’m trying to say here is that you should root for the Cowboys the same way you rooted for Derek Jeter. With respect. These Cowboys of 2014 have brought back ground and pound football to the NFL, doing so without running a single read-option all season. This isn’t to say that I hate Chip Kelly or the Eagles or any of that, it’s just that I appreciate what Dallas has done. Plus, let’s not forget to mention that Dallas is not the juggernaut anymore that you need to hate because they win all the time. Big D hasn’t tasted the playoffs since 2009, and the Super Bowl since 1996 (cue Jets’ fan rolling his eyes), so cut them a break. I hate the Yankees, but I’ll always tip my cap to Derek Jeter. No one outside of Texas is a Jerry Jones fan, but let’s give the Cowboys the respect they deserve. Best of luck on the playoffs, ‘Boys.
Interesting Fact: The Dallas Cowboys have just passed the New York Yankees as America’s highest valued sports franchise.