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The Dallas Cowboys Are No Longer the Best Sports Team in Dallas: Fan Opinion
There was a time not so long ago in North Texas that the only professional sports team that "existed" in the minds of fans was the Dallas Cowboys. Sure the Texas Rangers were around as well as the Dallas Mavericks but they suffered so many losing seasons that they could barely draw enough fans to afford at least one star player.
The Mavericks came close to glory in 1987 when they lost to the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference Finals and the Rangers began selling out games when Nolan Ryan pitched but neither team could match the success and popularity of the Dallas Cowboys who had already won two Super Bowls before their dominant run of the early nineties.
Heck, they were "America's Team". How can you top that?
Jimmy Johnson left the Cowboys after winning back-to-back Super Bowls and the Cowboys ended up winning one more under Barry Switzer (with Jimmy's core team) but then it began to fall apart. The Cowboys began losing under a carousel of rookie head coaches and unstable choices at quarterback. The DFW metroplex started to suffer when it came to sports.
Things began to change in 1996 when the Texas Rangers won their first division title in franchise history. The Rangers won back-to-back division titles in '98 and '99 as well yet were foiled in the first round each time by the New York Yankees.
Then in 1999 the new boys in town, in the form of the relocated Dallas Stars, won the NHL's prized Stanley Cup. The Stars went back to the championship the next season only to be defeated but the area finally had a champion. And it wasn't the Cowboys.
And the Dallas Mavericks became popular when billionaire Mark Cuban bought the team. The Mavericks ended up going on a streak of eleven fifty-plus win season culminating this year when they beat the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals and were crowned basketball's best.
And those Texas Rangers? Well behind Jon Daniels and Nolan Ryan they stockpiled what became one of baseball's best teams ultimately going to the World Series in 2010 and 2011. They lost both times but established themselves as a team to be reckoned with. No longer were they perennially cellar dwellers in the American League.
The Cowboys have tried recently to get back to championship form but still don't have the team that it takes. Jerry Jones has made questionable picks in the draft forcing fans to call for his "firing" as general manager and Tony Romo has yet to prove that he can be an elite quarterback in the NFL.
So here's how I rank the professional teams in North Texas:
1. Dallas Mavericks
They just won an NBA title after years of winning and trying to get there. The recent lockout and new CBA has changed the landscape with a stiffer salary cap. They started this season out slow but are starting to "gel" as a team. I'm not counting on a repeat though because of the lockout and the wrench it has thrown. Next season I expect big moves and another championship. That is if Dirk can keep it up one more year.
2. Texas Rangers
They lost the last two World Series and I believe that this is the year they win it all. The league's best offense and a better pitching staff will no doubt be the key. Plus there's always the stealthy "ninja" in Jon Daniels who will make whatever moves are necessary if needed. By this time next year they will be the top sports team in the area.
3. Dallas Cowboys
If Jerry Jones can make the right moves and improve the offensive line and secondary then the Cowboys have a good chance at returning to the playoffs. But can Tony Romo win the big game? Is Jason Garrett the right man for the job as head coach? Those answers remain to be seen. And maybe Miles Austin will live up to his contract. Currently he is way overpaid and overrated in my opinion. That's right, I said it.
4. Dallas Stars
After early success they faltered under owner Tom Hicks who eventually made bad financial decisions that cost the Stars as well as the Texas Rangers who he owned as well. They finally have new ownership and started the current season out strong but have suffered a series of misfortunate injuries. They have a great young group of playoffs and will definitely be a playoff contender next season if not this year.
James Holland is a lifelong fan of sports in North Texas with an undying passion for baseball and the Texas Rangers. You can follow him on Twitter @TXRangersJames.
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