There are some undeniable truths to life as a Cowboys fan. One of those is that the Cowboys will always garner media attention, and usually, the national media will pander to the anti-Cowboys crowd. While the fans of America's Team are an enormous group that span the country, even the globe, there is another reason why matchups including the Dallas Cowboys routinely make the most viewed NFL games list. There may be just as many football fans that want to see the team fail as there are those that live and die with their success. So it's only natural that the national media will look to spark the interest of those that dislike Jerry Jones, the Star, and the ‘Boys since they know they will already get clicks and views from the true fans.
It's this kind of spin by the national media towards the Dallas Cowboys that led me to BTB and why it has become my primary resource for Cowboys news and discussion...and it's not only because of the community and the more in-depth and analytic coverage. The attempts of the national media to get more clicks on any stories pertaining to the Dallas Cowboys has simply become too laughable for me to take those sources very seriously.
A great example happened recently with news that Tony Romo hasn't played golf since the cyst removal procedure he had prior to the '13 season. Can you guess which headline is from the local media that broke the story, and which was the national media story?
Laying up: Golf no longer part of Tony Romo's offseason
Tony Romo has given up golf to save his back
Same simple news story and a few quotes from Romo, each with a very different message sent by their headline. In one, an attempt at a clever pun and a quick message about Romo's change in offseason plans. In the other, Romo is giving up and trying to save his back. Which link do you think non-Cowboys fans would click? I first read the Dallas Morning News story, and then when I went to PFT to check out some news about other NFL teams, I couldn't help but laugh at their headline.
What's really funny, and kind of sad, is that the story includes a quote from Romo where he specifically states he doesn't view it as giving up golf.
"Sometimes you put yourself in a tough position when coming off a surgery," Romo said. "That's why we have a pitch count with me throwing and why we do it that way."
"You've got to get yourself healthy then figure out where you're at and go from there for everything,'' Romo said. "It's not just golf. It's a way you live life.
"I don't think about it as [giving up] golf. It's just life. You want to give yourself the best chance to succeed on the football field.''
There are countless ways to create a headline for this almost non-story, from the most benign - Golf no longer an offseason option for Romo, to the more dramatic - Golf not a part of Tony's back surgery rehab, to even the more critical and sarcastic - Surgeries set back Romo's golf career. But none are really as appealing to those that wish the worst for the Cowboys as "Tony Romo has given up golf to save his back."
I understand that this is a minor story and probably wouldn't (won't) get too much attention. In essence, it's a very common sense approach to rehab that likely wouldn't even have become a story in the Dallas area if it wasn't the slow season for the NFL. So what's a national media site to do with such a non-story?! It's simple. Make the headline seem like bad news for the Cowboys and add a couple of defamatory insinuations about Tony Romo, and presto! The huge anti-Cowboys crew will be sure to click on the story.
This national bias works from a marketing standpoint, but I often wonder if the editors realize that this "clever" approach doesn't just attract more readers, it actually influences them. You can just check out the comments on the PFT story to see how many anti-Cowboys fans mention something about Romo giving up or how his inability to play golf can only mean he will break while playing football. In any case, it gave me a good laugh and reminded me why the best place for insight and conversation about the Cowboys is at BTB, not national media sites.