We’ve now entered the top 10.
The final jersey in the “Perty, Perty Good” division: my Dallas Cowboys.
I’ve tried desperately to remain as unbiased as possible during the process of solidifying this list, and the placement of America’s Team has made up 80% of that struggle. I’ve stared at photos of the Cowboy’s uniforms for about 23 of my 28 years on earth. Hershel Walker scoring a touchdown and being mobbed by his celebrating teammates is my very first football memory. My father, my brother, my brother-in-law, my nephews…all Cowboy fans. My son will be a Cowboy fan, even though he will be born here in Louisiana, land of thousands of dedicated New Orleans Saints fans (and millions of bandwagon Saints “fans”). I love this team.
But how do I rate their uniform? Aesthetically, how can I rate this jersey?
Simple. I’ve always known exactly where I stand on the Cowboy’s uniforms and logo.
1. The Cowboys have the most iconic logo in the NFL. This isn’t my subjective opinion. It’s instantly identifiable, even if it is just an outlined star. It represents the history of the team that has become so synonymous with the game itself that it became “America’s Team.” A Saints-loving friend of mine tried to argue once that the Saints are the new “America’s Team.” I’m sorry, but no. Just check the ratings year-in and year-out, even during a decade-and-a-half playoff win drought. The Cowboys still rate higher than every other NFL team (click here for the data to prove it).
There has been, is, and forever will be exactly one America’s Team. It is the Dallas Cowboys, and the Dallas Cowboys are embodied in this star. The logo is the Dallas Cowboys.
2. The helmet is among the league’s best. It obviously features the star, but it’s perfectly balanced, thanks to the perfectly-aligned stripes, and the appropriate level of shimmer (without crossing over into namby-pamby land):
3. The Cowboys almost always wear their white jerseys.
Here’s where I am, and have always been, conflicted. I just don’t know how I feel about the Cowboy’s white uniforms.
An interesting bit of history: the Cowboys’ original owners felt that the football team, just as all “good guy” cowboys in old westerns, should always wear white. That’s partly why they have always worn white at home, which for many years distinguished them from most of the league. When they did wear their blue jerseys, they almost always underperformed, leading fans of the team to believe that the blue jerseys were cursed. (note: all of the Cowboys’ five championships were won while in their white jerseys)
Other teams began to tap into the Cowboys’ superstition, and would wear their white uniforms at home games, forcing the Cowboys to wear their “unlucky” blue jerseys. The Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Redskins are two notable cold-weather teams that began this trend (Most white-wearing home teams did so because of intense heat. See also: San Diego, Arizona, etc.). The Cowboys almost never wear these blue uniforms, which is a shame, because they’re actually pretty good.
The white uniforms very much the Cowboys’ jerseys. They have plenty of history wrapped up into them, but history didn’t give the Colts a pass, so where do these jerseys truly stand? I keep looking at them, expecting to admit that I don’t like them, but I do. And I don’t think it’s just because they belong to the Cowboys. But you be the judge:
The underutilized “unlucky” blue uniforms:
And the throwback jerseys, which I secretly wish would become the new home uniforms after some modern alterations:
The Cowboys iconography is far too compelling to leave them out of the top-10, but in all honesty, there has always been something lacking in their uniforms. I’ve felt it, even as a die-hard Cowboys fan. They have one of the best identifiable helmets in football, period (only surpassed by Michigan’s timeless stripes), and are so well balanced in the leg stripes and elegant shade of navy. But the white jerseys are not quite fitting for America’s Team.
The Cowboys uniforms play a balancing game that keeps them out of mediocrity, but holds them back from greatness.
But none of that would matter if Super Bowl #6 showed up soon.