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COWBOYS ENJOY A REVIVAL OF THE GLORY DAYS

It's no longer Staubach and Lilly, but Aikman and Emmitt and Irvin. It's America's Team II.

Love 'em or hate 'em, you got to see 'em.With impressive victories over the last two Super Bowl champions to start the season, the Dallas Cowboys are enamoring the country like they did in their glory days.

Seven straight regular-season road sellouts. Ten straight at home. Three Monday Night Football appearances this season alone.

The Cowboys are two-touchdown favorites Sunday afternoon when they face the Phoenix Cardinals at Texas Stadium. They'll be trying to stretch their NFL-best regular-season winning streak to eight games. And they'll be going for their first 3-0 start since 1983.

A ticket buyout pledge from a grocery store chain and a television station Thursday averted a local broadcast blackout of the game.

About 2,400 tickets remained at the 3 p.m. deadline, but Kroger Co. and KDFW-TV, which will air the game, announced they would buy whatever tickets remain when ticket offices close today.

The agreement gives the Cowboys their 10th-straight sellout at Texas Stadium (capacity 65,024). Kroger planned to distribute the $25 tickets Saturday at the company's annual charity festival.

It'll be a long time before Cowboys tickets are that easy to come by. After the buyout was announced, team owner Jerry Jones said: "Outside of about 1,000 seats that remain available for the Chicago game (Dec. 27), there are no more tickets remaining for any of our games for the rest of the home schedule."

The team expects the Bears tickets to be snatched up by early next week, if not this weekend.

Attendance has escalated every year since Jones bought the team in February 1989, reversing six seasons of decline. In the final two years under the old regime of owner Bum Bright and coach Tom Landry, the Cowboys averaged just over 49,000 fans.

Despite Jimmy Johnson's 1-15 squad in 1989, average attendance jumped to 52,293. The next season, it was 59,429 and then last year, 62,738 when Dallas reached the playoffs for the first time since 1985.

Emmitt Smith called the attendance jump an immeasurable bonus for the Cowboys, who thrashed the Washington Redskins 23-10 on Monday Night Football's season opener Sept. 7 at Texas Stadium.

While on the sidelines, Smith constantly whipped a towel over his head, helping to inflame the 63,538 fans.