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Cam Newton says Chiefs are America's Team—Is he right, or is it still the Cowboys?

It’s 1979, and CBS commentator Pat Summerall’s voice booms through TV sets, introducing the Cowboys as “America’s Team.” Fast forward 45 years, and that title is being challenged by a squad from the heartland, led by a quarterback with a golden arm and a tight end who’s dating the biggest pop star on the planet. Welcome to the latest NFL soap opera.

Cam Newton, the former NFL MVP known for his flashy plays and even flashier outfits, has tossed a verbal Hail Mary that’s sure to ruffle some feathers. On his podcast “4th & 1,” Newton dropped a bombshell: “The Kansas City Chiefs are ‘America’s Team’ by way of who’s dating who and who’s winning what. Let’s stop lying to ourselves, okay?”

Cam Jason McIntyre of “The Herd with Colin Cowherd” isn’t buying what Newton’s selling. “The New England Patriots were winners for two decades,” McIntyre fired back. “They had a dynasty with Brady and Belichick. They won a – I think Brady won seven Super Bowls. They were never America’s team.”

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USA Today via Reuters

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Newton’s hot take isn’t just about X’s and O’s, he’s pointing to the Chiefs‘ recent glory – three Super Bowl wins in five years – and their tight end Travis Kelce’s high-profile romance with Taylor Swift. “They don’t seem to know how to win, and then everybody points fingers at Dak,” Newton said of the Cowboys. “I understand the whole ‘America’s Team.’ That is not America’s Team no more, ladies and gentlemen.”

But it’s not just Newton’s take. Referring to the Chiefs as America’s Team last month during an episode of First Take, ESPN’s Courtney Cronin said: “The Kansas City Chiefs [are America’s team]. In an era that has been defined by often forced parity, you’ve got a dynasty.”

The tale of the Cowboys and their claim as “America’s Team” has roots in history. Bob Ryan, the then editor-in-chief at NFL Films created the name while compiling the highlights of their season in 1978. He clarified that he had seen them in all those away stadiums with fans and so forth and he thought, “Hey, they’re the most popular team in the country. How can I use that? Why don’t we call them America’s Team?”

Since then, the Cowboys have lived up to the name, boasting a fan base that stretches “from the heartland to Hollywood,” much like the Chiefs today. They’ve dominated TV ratings, with 16 of the 100 most-watched broadcasts in 2023 featuring the Cowboys.

But the Chiefs are making a compelling case for the crown. As Bob Costas told Charles Barkley and Gayle King on CNN in February, “They have the best quarterback in the game, even though others are really good. He’s exciting. He improvises. He’s charismatic.” The Chiefs have become ubiquitous, from State Farm commercials to Taylor Swift’s Instagram stories.

While the Chiefs may be the new kids on the block, don’t count out America’s Team just yet. Case in point: “Bootgate.

Dak Prescott’s boot proves the Cowboys are still America’s darlings

When a photo of Cowboys QB Dak Prescott in a walking boot surfaced on July 4th, it was like someone had sounded the air raid sirens. As McIntyre colorfully put it, “The NFL media went to Defcon 1. It was panic time, and everybody freaked out.”

This wasn’t just a case of much ado about nothing. It demonstrated the Cowboys’ enduring grip on America’s football psyche. As McIntyre noted, “This is what comes with the territory of America’s Team.”

The Cowboys’ popularity isn’t just skin deep. They’ve been a model of consistency, avoiding back-to-back losing seasons since 2002. Plus, they’re still the NFL’s ratings juggernaut, consistently drawing massive viewership.

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Interestingly, Newton himself provided a counterpoint to his argument. On the same podcast, he ranked Dak Prescott ahead of several star QBs who recently broke the bank, including Jalen Hurts and Justin Herbert. “If you’ve got the same stat line as Patrick Mahomes, something is clicking in big games,” Newton said, referencing Prescott’s impressive numbers in his last 50 starts.

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While the Chiefs may be riding high on their recent Super Bowl success and the Taylor Swift effect, dethroning America’s Team isn’t as easy as completing a slant route. The Cowboys’ blue star remains an iconic symbol, unchanged for 59 years, representing not just a team but a state – the Lone Star State.

As the old saying goes, “How ’bout them Cowboys?” It seems that for most, the answer is still: “America’s Team!