Have you ever wondered why certain personalities from ESPN, FOX Sports, or even the NFL Network say so many outrageous things about the Dallas Cowboys? It's frustrating and seemingly unfair at times, but Cowboys Nation should wear it as a badge of honor. It only validates that, yes and forever, this is America's Team.
We've had some standouts lately in awful Cowboys takes from ESPN's Dan Orlovsky and FOX's Emmanuel Acho. They're following in the footsteps of Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless, whose careers are built on saying whatever they know will get attention.
While these are the more egregious examples, even a generally respected personality like Michael Wilbon on Pardon the Interruption loves to take shots at the Cowboys. Never is there a Cowboys topic on the show that Wilbon doesn't respond with some sort of lazy, antagonistic rhetoric.
Whether it's the soulless whoring of one's credibility like that first batch, or just the easy hate from a lifelong Bears fan like Wilbon, this is all part of the dark side of being the biggest sports brand in the country. It's the price of being America's Team.
Modern sports media is bigger than it's ever been. In addition to more TV channels, there's now an internet audience to satisfy through social media, podcasts, and various other outlets.
The internet has brought with it the voracious need to “go viral.” If we're not talking about you then we're talking about someone or something else, and the Achos and Baylesses of the world can't have that.
Acho is the newest entrant to the fray. Over the last few months, we've seen the former backup LB going hard on Dallas topics. A few weeks ago he called Dak Prescott a “disappointment” for not scoring more touchdowns after two games, and as of yesterday, he was using Jaylon Smith's release as a way to take a shot at rookie stud Micah Parsons.
But coming at the new breed of NFL players is risky because some of them bite back.
I don’t think you have any idea what ur talking about and once again this is a horrible take!
— Micah Parsons (@MicahhParsons11) October 6, 2021
I mean we def go in the drawing board together to prove how wrong you are! All im saying don’t post stuff on social media that’s not true!! Until you actually know the coverage and job obligation of each player on the field ! Cause actually me and Jaylon was right!! Soo?!
— Micah Parsons (@MicahhParsons11) October 7, 2021
We're all entitled to our opinions. But as Parsons pointed out, Acho is only looking at a few clips and knows nothing about the assignments that Micah or Jaylon were given on those plays.
This prevalent ignorance in mainstream sports media is one of the reasons why networks like ESPN and FOX Sports are so frustrating. You and I follow the Dallas Cowboys more closely than any of these talking heads, so that's why even a genuine opinion from them can sometimes seem so far from reality.
Perfect example; Acho went off about the loss of Jaylon Smith without once acknowledging that Jaylon is a backup LB playing extended snaps right now. The actual starter, Keanu Neal, has been on the COVID list the last two games.
Neal has returned for Week 5, meaning Smith was probably headed back to playing on just 25-30% of the snaps as he did in Week 1. Yet this fact doesn't get mentioned at all by Acho. Why?
Again, maybe it's sheer ignorance. Acho isn't expected to know the details of the Dallas Cowboys the same way we do. Maybe he remembers Jaylon Smith as a high-profile draft prospect in 2016, and that he went to a Pro Bowl a couple of years ago, and assumes he's still a major part of the defense.
But that's giving guys like Acho a benefit of the doubt that they may not deserve. As you might know, Emmanuel Acho was born in Dallas, played high school ball at St. Mark's, and went to college in Texas. He then spent most of his short-lived NFL career with the Philadelphia Eagles.
For most of his life, Acho has been surrounded by the power of the Dallas Cowboys brand. That he's now out here using it to his advantage shouldn't be a surprise.
Before Acho's recent rise, Dan Orlovsky was Public Enemy #1 for Cowboys Nation. His main target was Dak Prescott, refusing to put him among the league's better quarterbacks and bashing the megadeal that he received this offseason.
Dan doubled down on this with comparisons of Prescott and former Eagle Carson Wentz, consistently praising Philly's QB while degrading Dallas'. And after the last few years, those takes became a tightening noose around Orlovsky's credibility.
To his credit, Orlovsky found Jesus and changed his tune after Week 1. He's done a full “mea culpa” and even now defends Dak against Emmanuel Acho and others.
We appreciate the shift, but that doesn't make up for years of baseless, attention-seeking comments. At this point it's just Dan doing damage control for his reputation, not wanting to fall into complete disgrace like a former ESPN employee.
In fairness to Orlovsky, Acho, and their ilk, I don't want to put them in the same box as Skip Bayless. That's a-whole-nother breed right there; Bayless has gone as far as to criticize Dak Prescott for speaking up about mental health and, notoriously, insinuating that Troy Aikman was a homosexual.
But again, it all stems from the same virus. The Dallas Cowboys are a perfect breeding ground for them because the poison travels far and fast, and the reaction is bigger and louder than any other NFL team can offer.
You Have the Power
The good news is that you, an awesome Cowboys fan, can dominate this opponent. These commentators have no power if they have no audience.
Part of this is accepting that loving America's Team comes at a cost. The Cowboys are as big as U.S. politics; everyone's going to have an opinion regardless of how informed they are. If these sports media giants could do it, they'd have a channel dedicated solely to Cowboys talk.
If you think about it, the way ESPN and FOX handle the Cowboys really isn't any different from what CNN and FOX do with politics. Genuine reporting has been pushed aside to get attention and appease the base.
If you think a news network is misrepresenting things or even lying, do you keep listening to them?
This article isn't intended to be an advertisement for our site or any others. But I promise you, stick to Inside The Star, Cowboys Wire, Blogging the Boys, and others and you'll be better off.
Sure, we're fans. But we're also not afraid to call for change or criticize coaches and players when needed. Compare our work with theirs and decide who's giving you facts and calling things like they are.
We're not the ones letting the brightness of The Star blind us from reality.
Like anything else in life, your sports media diet is yours to choose. Keep eating the garbage if you want.
Just don't be surprised when they make you sick.