Q&A on the News

Q: Who was the first college football coach to make $1 million? At what point were football coaches valued at $1 million-plus salaries?

—Bob Markert, Roswell

A: Former Florida State coach Bobby Bowden is credited as the first college football coach to earn $1 million a year with a deal in November 1995, according to published reports.

Steve Spurrier, then the coach at Florida, and former Notre Dame coach Lou Holtz also had contracts that approached $1 million at that time.

By 2001, 22 football coaches made at least $1 million a year, according to a USA Today article from August of that year. Spurrier topped the list at $2.1 million, followed by then-Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops at $2 million, according to the article.

Q: Why are the Dallas Cowboys called “America’s Team?” Who made that decision?

—Kathy McDonough, Peachtree Corners

A: The nickname came from NFL Films' Dallas Cowboys highlight video for the 1978 season.

“I saw all these (Cowboys) fans in away stadiums,” NFL Films producer Bob Ryan said in a later NFL Films video. “Hey, they’re the most popular team in the country. How can I use that? Why don’t we call them ‘America’s Team?’ ”

The narrator says in the intro to that season’s highlight film: “They appear on television so often, that their faces are as familiar to the public as presidents and movie stars. They are the Dallas Cowboys. ‘America’s Team.’ “

Fast Copy News Service wrote this column. Do you have a question? We’ll try to get the answer. Call 404-222-2002 or email q&a@ajc.com (include name, phone and city).