As the Philadelphia Eagles expanded their impressive collection of players before the season, an unfortunate two-word tattoo was attached to them.
The phrase has become embedded in US sports lingo since the Miami Heat gathered three all-stars and used two hands to count the number of championships believed headed their way.
The burden of expectation, much of it self-imposed, collapsed on the Heat in the NBA Finals.
In the NFL, where teamwork and depth and injuries carry greater weight, nobody warrants the Dream Team tag, which originated in Philly with the out-of-touch back-up quarterback Vince Young.
He uttered it while intoxicated with title aspirations after the Eagles acquired the elite cornerbacks Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, along with a half-dozen other distinguished veterans.
They joined a formidable roster with the reborn quarterback Michael Vick, and the glittering array of star players stampeded some observers into thinking the team would get an up-close view of the half time performer (Madonna?) at the next Super Bowl.
The Eagles have evolved into a dream, all right - the type from which you bolt straight up in bed, drenched in a cold sweat.
They are 3-6 and probably need to win their final seven games to slip into the play-offs.
The Eagles could be counted out as soon as Sunday, when the play the NFC East-leading Giants.
"Our mindset is just to find a way to win the game," said LeSean McCoy, the running back. "We can't think about our record or where we are at. We just need to win a game."
Victory on Sundayday appears unlikely, with Vick (two broken ribs) not expected to play. He would be replaced by the instigator, Young. The receiver Jeremy Maclin (sore hamstring) is iffy, but the receiver, DeSean Jackson, returns, bad attitude and all. Some teammates suspect he is moping over futile efforts to secure a new contract.
When his team was 1-3, Vick sought to banish any Dream Team discussion, suggesting it had become a distraction, if not an albatross.
"Man, I didn't know such a statement would be taken so far," he said. "I think it's all out the window now. We're putting it all behind us."
The Eagles might have, but the designation will linger as a source of mockery if their fortunes continue pointing south.
"When they put this thing together, I was quoted as saying, 'You can't buy championships'," said Justin Tuck, the Giants defensive end. "And what I meant by that is, you've got to build chemistry."
He might have added that chemistry is not built overnight, or even in a season.
Right, LeBron and Dwayne?