The Dallas Morning News Likes The Book

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from the Dallas Morning News, Sunday, September 30, 2012
by Allen Barra

….One wonders that if Hunt had driven Murchison’s Cowboys out of Dallas, would the AFL team had merited a book as massive as Joe Nick Patoski’s The Dallas Cowboys? That the book is a feast for Cowboys fans should come as no surprise — every big game from the famous “Ice Bowl” with the Green Bay Packers in 1967 to the Super Bowl triumphs of the 1990s are recounted in loving detail.

The surprise, perhaps, is how invigorating a read it is for those — such as myself — who usually root for the team not wearing a blue star on their silver helmets. (Disclosure: In the early 1980s, I lived in Houston and met Patoski while I wrote for various rock magazines and he was manager of one of my favorite bands, Joe King Carrasco and the Crowns.)

Even we skeptics have to admit that, if not for the Cowboys, the NFL might still be in the Stone Age in terms of scouting players, game preparation and offensive sophistication. And fans who get tired of reading about the Cowboys’ successes can revel in the team’s history of excesses, particularly a cocaine scandal when, Patoski says, “America’s Team had become South America’s team.”

There are other, more detailed accounts of the careers of Cowboys luminaries such as Tom Landry, Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman, but none that places their accomplishments so firmly within the framework of America’s Team.

And that’s what the Cowboys ultimately are, whether people like it or not. (After all, as Patoski points out, early in the Staubach era “more bootleg, knockoff merchandise was manufactured for the Cowboys than for any other club.”)

“What began as an idea,” writes Patoski, “and is now the premier franchise in American sports could have flourished only in the fertile blackland prairie of North Central Texas. … The city made the team possible. In exchange, the team gave the city its identity and a sense of pride and glory.”

For better or worse, Patoski is right, and The Dallas Cowboys stands as the definitive biography of a city and a football team.

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