DALLAS — Making the scene at the cavernous NFL Media Center in downtown Dallas was every league quarterback past and present, from four-time Super Bowl winner Joe Montana to rookie Colt McCoy as well as Miss America, baseball Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan and even cartoon character Bugs Bunny.
But the two knockout Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders autographing pictures created as big a stir as any.
Per NFL rules, the cheerleaders will not be allowed inside the stadium for the Super Bowl. Apparently neither lately is the Cowboys team, which struggled mightily with a horrific 6-10 season and now plays for its fifth head coach since Dallas won the last of its five Super Bowls.
One would think a franchise dubbed America's Team would play in America's Game at least once since 1995. Eleven different teams have won Super Bowls since Dallas' last one. The Cowboys, still America's Team? Really?
The notion bemuses the Pittsburgh Steelers and Green Bay Packers — two franchises with 18 titles between them — more than it angers them.
"That's irrelevant to us," Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin said. "Dallas is ‘America's Team,' and we have ‘Steeler Nation.' A losing record for the sixth time in the last 14 seasons and the ninth pick in April's draft.
Even Jones understands the separation that remains between his team and the upper echelon of the NFL. Are the Cowboys anywhere close to the Packers in the NFC?
So what is it that Dallas isn't doing that teams like the Steelers and Packers are? The Steelers, not surprisingly, have had just three head coaches since the AFL-NFL merger, and all three have won Super Bowls, including Tomlin, who's on the verge of a second.
Jones praised the Steeler way. How many teams like Pittsburgh could survive a four-game suspension for their starting quarterback and still win three of the games? The Cowboys do have hope. Law of averages, right? The Packers became the 10th different NFC team to reach the Super Bowl in the last decade.