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The NFL has danced around reality television for the past few years, with former players in need of money appearing on shows like “Pros vs. Joes,” wannabe stars showing up on “The Bachelor,” and current and former stars who wanted to break into the entertainment world appearing on “Dancing with D-List Celebrities.”

Closer to the league, there have been series around making NFL Cheerleading teams (always dramatic),and of course, HBO’s Hard Knocks series, which followed a few teams through training camp over the years.

But now, thanks to Michael Irvin and the Dallas Cowboys, reality TV may be making it’s biggest foray into making the NFL a laughing stock–the Hall of Fame Wide Receiver announced on Thursday that he is launching an American Idol style show, in which one of 12 “football neophytes” will win a roster spot for the Cowboys 2009 training camp.

That’s right–one of the 80 spots at the Cowboys training camp will be the winner of a reality show contest.  Apparently Jerry Jones is so hard up for cash and/or drama that he is willing to sacrifice a roster spot in an attempt to draw more attention to his club.

I can only assume that the 12 contestants will have some football experience beyond starting 12 career high school games at 4 different offensive line positions–if not, feel free to drop me a line Michael–but still, for the Cowboys to latch on to this idea, and the league to allow it, seems to have the potential to do more damage to the league’s reputation than good.

Then again, given how many people tune in to watch crappy reality stars, I suppose it might actually take off.

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