At risk of stating the obvious, in a country over 200 million people back in the 1970s and in a major sports league like the NFL with 26 franchises by the time the NFL expanded to Tampa and Seattle in 1976, it’s hard to accurately say there was one Americas team in the NFL. America is not Jamaica or Iceland, we’re a huge country with a huge population.
Granted, the Dallas Cowboys were probably the most popular team in the NFL in the 1970s and a lot of that I believe had to do with their Hollywood pop culture appeal. Where a lot of their players looked like professional celebrities and entertainers perhaps as much or more as they looked like professional football players. But as one guy in this video said a lot of the promotion that was about the Cowboys in putting together the Americas Team film that was about the Cowboys was based on lies.
The Pittsburgh Steelers were the team of the 1970s in the NFL and I would argue the team of pro sports in that decade. They won 4-6 Super Bowls from 1974-79. Had never been done before and hasn’t been done since and perhaps never will be done again with all the parity in the league today. And if you just look at personal and the fact that the Oakland Raiders are also in the AFC along with the Steelers and had to play the Steelers three times in the AFC Championship just to get to the Super Bowl and lost 2-3 of those games, you could certainly argue that the Oakland Raiders were just as good as the Cowboys in the 1970s.
Sure, the Cowboys won 2 Super Bowls and the Raiders only 1. And the Cowboys won five conference championships and the Raiders only 1. But who was the other great NFC franchise in the 1970s? The Minnesota Vikings who lost three Super Bowls? The Los Angeles Rams who only won one conference championship? The Rams, Vikings, and Redskins, were pretty good in the 1970s. But the Cowboys were the only great NFC team in the decade. Which is one reason why they won 5 NFC Championship’s. The Steelers had the Raiders and Dolphins that they had to worry about every year and probably beat in the AFC Playoffs just to get to the Super Bowl.
The Dallas Cowboys on paper were probably just as good or about as good as the Pittsburgh Steelers and you could argue they had a better team in 1978 than the Steelers and should have won Super Bowl 13, which I believe is still the best Super Bowl ever. But they didn’t and to be the best, you have to beat the best and be your best when it counts the most. Like not dropping TD passes when you’re wide-open in the end zone. Being the most popular team and being Americas Team are two different things. Which is why Dallas Cowboys came up short in the 1970s.