Players in the upcoming NFL Draft class weren’t alive when the Dallas Cowboys last won a Super Bowl. Yet the franchise has nevertheless maintained renowned popularity as “America’s Team.”
Like many football fans over the years, Tulsa wide receiver Josh Johnson grew up cheering for the Cowboys.
That’s hardly surprising. After all, Troy Aikman, Tony Romo, Dak Prescott, Emmitt Smith, Ezekiel Elliott, Michael Irvin, Terrell Owens, Dez Bryant, Amari Cooper, and Jason Witten are just a few of the stars to don the iconic star on their helmet in Texas.
So who did Johnson idolize as a kid?
None of the above. He rolled with the Cowboys because of Darren McFadden.
Tulsa WR Josh Johnson said the Cowboys were his favorite team growing up because of running back Darren McFadden. pic.twitter.com/VREgJsDlfM
— Calvin Watkins (@calvinwatkins) March 2, 2022
At first, this feels like a strange reason to support the Cowboys. McFadden played most of his NFL career with the Raiders, where he never quite lived up to lofty expectations as the No. 4 pick in 2008. He only saw significant time in one of three seasons with Dallas, running for 1,089 yards and three touchdowns in 2015.
But like McFadden, Johnson grew up in Little Rock, Arkansas. Born in 1999, Johnson was six years old when McFadden played his first season with the Razorbacks. His formative football memories could be McFadden bulldozing his way to 4,590 rushing yards, 41 rushing touchdowns, and two Heisman Trophy finalist nominations from 2005 to 2007.
Everyone has their reasons for liking a certain player, and those attachments are often stronger when they’re not everyone else’s favorite.