We all know about the Dallas Cowboys. They’re as much a part of our national consciousness as apple pie. And good Lord, we love apple pie. Decade after decade, that Blue Star draws us to it. The fascination started with winning football – those five Vince Lombardi Trophies tell that part of the story – but let’s be real: The relationship is about much, much more. For the straight-laced among us, nothing says buttoned-down like the late Tom Landry’s fedora. Roger Staubach went from issuing commands in Vietnam to engineering fourth-quarter comebacks. In Texas, a state where football is darn near a religion, the Cowboys have the largest flock. We’ve come to expect a certain type of look by the quarterback who leads it. But the game has changed.
The new face of America’s Team is a biracial, tatted-up, whip-smart, unflappable 23-year-old, who in about the time it takes to open the roof at AT&T Stadium went from being a let’s-see-what-the-unheralded-rook-can-do emergency starter to The Man on the NFL’s hottest club. Prescott’s stunning rise (remember, dude was a fourth-round pick whom the Cowboys backed into) has been the talk of the league – and the conversation hasn’t been confined to his success on the field. To even the non-woke, it’s obvious that the Cowboys are in a new place. That means the rest of the NFL is, too.
Just glance at any credible list of professional sport’s most valuable franchises. It won’t take long to find the Cowboys: They’re No. 1. Dallas plays its home games in a $1.15-billion grown-folks amusement park masquerading as a sports venue. They don’t call it Jer-ruh World for nothing. Their still-under-construction new team headquarters is merely office space in the same manner that the Roman Colosseum is just a bunch of old bricks. The Cowboys do everything big. That team is now Prescott’s team.
The first bruh to star at quarterback for Dallas – the others who came through were mostly short-term backups, though one was a high-round pick and onetime heir apparent to a three-time Super Bowl winner – is adding an unexpected chapter to the story of America’s Team, at a time when America looks much scarier to people of color than it did only a few weeks ago. Just like the timing on Prescott’s deep balls, he has arrived as if almost on cue.Warren Moon has stayed up on what’s going down in Dallas. And he’s definitely feeling the change.
“We’re in 2016, and even after all these years, nobody has really taken that title of America’s Team from them,” the Hall of Fame passer said on the phone the other day. “And when you’re America’s Team, when that’s how a lot of people who love the game view your team, that’s going to mean something to a lot of people.
“Everybody knows their history. Everybody knows the [Blue] Star. There’s significance behind it. So to have Dak Prescott leading them, and the way he has done it, that’s a bold statement. It’s also something people are going to think about for a lot of reasons.”
Tony Romo was finished. Both literally and figuratively. It only took about five minutes for the former face of the Cowboys to officially pass the torch to the new one.
The transfer of power occurred early last week during a news conference in which Romo, 36, read from a prepared statement. The 10-year Cowboys’ starter and four-time Pro Bowler reaffirmed he was fully healed from the back injury he suffered Aug. 25, but Prescott had “earned the right to be our quarterback.”
Owner Jerry Jones’ guy stood at a lectern and surrendered one of the plumb jobs in all of sports? The Cowboys’ QB gig is as prestigious as playing center field for the New York Yankees. It attracts the spotlight like running the point for the Los Angeles Lakers. There are certain jobs that once you’re in them, you just don’t resign without a fight. Romo knows. He waited until a past-his-prime Drew Bledsoe left the door ajar – then Romo kicked it in. The irony of the situation is downright delicious. Romo was unexpectedly usurped by someone who burst onto the scene much like he did way back when.
Sure, by all objective criteria, Prescott should have remained under center regardless of Romo’s status. The data supporting the logic is overwhelming:
The Cowboys (9-1) have the NFL’s best record They’ve won a team record nine straight Prescott has displayed off-the-charts decision-making And he ranks among the league’s best passers statistically.
Despite the flashing red arrows pointing to maintaining the status quo, it still was a Texas-sized stunner that Romo backed Prescott so strongly. Think about it: When was the last time a star called a news conference to say a black man is the better man for his job?
Black excellence strikes fear into the hearts of those who long for a bygone era that black folk have no interest in reliving. A youngblood rising up in the office can wreak havoc on the workplace environment. But Prescott has been so dope in the most important job on the NFL’s glamour team, his excellence couldn’t be denied. It was so clear, in fact, that Romo decided to publicly endorse his successor despite knowing he would likely be signaling his exit from the company soon. No matter the field, we haven’t seen that occur much when bruhs are involved. If at all, USC law professor Jody David Armour said.
Armour, who studies the intersection of race and legal decision-making, is part of a growing number of scholars who are concerned about the racial climate in the country after the presidential election. The black excellence Prescott has exhibited, on such a grand platform, is needed now more than ever.