The Big Debate of 2016

Twitter’s Role in Making America’s Team Great Again



Priscilla Yeverino

It’s on everybody’s mind. It’s a conversation starter. People have very strong feelings about it. It has caused tensions at the dinner table. It has caused fights to break out at the bar.

No, it’s not Hillary vs. Trump.

It’s Dak vs. Romo.

The big debate of 2016 is no longer who will lead America, but instead, who will lead America’s Team.

A simple Google search of the words “Dak or Romo” turn up with a whopping 16 pages of different scholarly opinions about The Big Decision of 2016. Worldwide.
And really, it should be no surprise that it’s become one of the hottest debates in the country- the Dallas Cowboys are the most valuable sports franchise in the world, beating out Real Madrid, Barcelona and the Yankees.
A lot is at stake here, much like a lot is at stake for this year’s election.

And really, there are several similiarities.

The Trump supporter is much like the Romo supporter- you can’t voice your opinion, because people will hate you.
But that’s where the resemblance between the two ends.

Unlike Trump wading in uncharted territory, Tony Romo has proved (arguably) to be an elite quarterback with the likes of the Manning brothers, Brady, Brees and Rodgers.
Romo’s passer rating is 97.1, third only to Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson, respectively.
Tom Brady comes in after Romo at 97.0, just to put that into perspective.
And in rebuttal to all the “Romo chokes in the fourth quarter” meme-makers, they can play in the mud of their own irony, because guess what? Tony Romo’s record in the fourth quarter is better than any other quarterback’s.


That’s right, naysayers; Tony Romo is in fact the actual definition of clutch.
Romo has the highest passer rating in the fourth quarter.
Of all time.
Romo also holds a completion rate of 65.3, in fifth place behind Drew Brees, Chad Pennington, Kurt Warner and Peyton Manning.
Additionally, Romo also holds the record for game-winning drives in the fourth quarter and/ or OT.
Not only has he shattered records across team lines, he holds countless franchise records over legends Aikman and Staubach such as highest completion percentage by a Dallas QB and lowest interception percentage by a Dallas QB.
Arguably, there are several factors which may have prevented Romo from beating out his division and playing in the Big Game since the start of his career, but injuries and an unexceptional offensive line may be the biggest ones.

Yet, Dallas can’t seem to shake the feeling.

Dak is impressive. He’s fresh, he’s new, but most of all, he’s extremely talented.
The highly-anticipated duel against Philly further proved he’s a concrete leader, pulling Dallas from a rut to defeat them in OT.
Dallas is winning, and Dallas fervently wants to keep it that way.

And Romo, well, Romo is easy to dismiss. Romo is easy to hate.

In my humble opinion, on our screens, he isn’t the “man” Texans want him to be.
Texas culture is very strong, Texas likes their men abrupt and violent… and macho.
Tony Romo isn’t from Texas, and it shows.
He is stern, quiet, he seems soft and at times meek. He displays his anger much too subtly, and pictures of Romo defeated on the turf are forever ingrained into our brain.



It’s just too easy to blame the incompetence of an entire team dynamic on the leader.
But it is not justified by records.

So this entire discussion deems several questions neccessary: Why is this debate even going on at the moment?
How did it develop?
Sure, this discussion might still have happened among our elders at a time when social media didn’t exist, but would it be at this extent?

Let’s explore a little bit.

How powerful is social media when it comes to their favorite sports team?
Enough to get a story, apparently. Back in 2011, Cowboys fans used Twitter to try to recruit a free agent player during off-season. Fans actively tried to recruit RB Lamar Miller by Tweeting him pictures of him in a Cowboys uniform. You can’t say Cowboys fans are lazy.


How bad has it gotten in the past? In December of 2015, Cowboys management team tried to implement strict social media privacy rules on reporters. The rules specified that reporters were prohibited from recording any footage from the locker room and posting it on any social media accounts. General consensus was that the team implemented the rules in a “desperate search of something to turn around their season”.


Generational Divide My generation likes underdogs. We like real. Gone are the days of looking up to beautiful, blonde, untouchable, all-American Troy Aikman. Dak Prescott is the antidote. Young, stocky-looking, black and his arms covered in tattoos, he is our generation’s “stick it to the man” man. He is the representation of our counter-culture.
But more importantly, Dak Prescott is reachable. He interacts with fans on Twitter and Instagram.
Dak Prescott already has 220k Twitter followers. Tony Romo has 320k. Tony Romo has been Dallas’ quarterback for 13 years.
And really what other platform other than Twitter to position this question into a contest?

Earlier in the week, Twitter made a fight out of two penguins.

Earlier in the year, Twitter showed reluctance for Hillary over Bernie as the Democratic candidate. (Twitter still prefers Bernie over Hillary.)

Social media inevitably leaks into the locker room and Jerry Jones’ office. Reporters generally limit their questions to respectful terms, but  Twitter isn’t so nice.

Increasingly, social media has become a powerful player in sports in general. Just like everyone has suddenly become a political science professor on Twitter during the election, the same phenomenon has occurred in the sports world. Everyone is suddenly a professional sports analyst, giving a whole new meaning to Monday-morning quarterback.

In the end, regardless of what Twitter wants, Jerry Jones will be the one to decide the fate of America(s Team).

Published by

UNT Eagle Strategies

Class members of the social media class in the Mayborn School of Journalism