John Mara’s fixation with Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys is unhealthy — for the NFL. The overt explanation for why John Mara misemployed his authority as chairman of the NFL Management Council is he could knock down two divisional rivals in a move unrivaled since Michael Corleone took out the heads of the Five Families. The covert explanation, from my examination, is John Mara thinks he has to one-up Jerry Jones for rightfully conflicting with his father, the late Wellington Mara, and the stodgy NFL old guard on topics from commissioners to revenue sharing. John Mara finally has the gavel to smack Jerry Jones, but Mara’s Wrath of Khan-like vengeance has given the NFLPA all the evidence it needs to sue the league for billions on collusion charges. And we can all thank John Mara’s impudence in wanting to punish those evil Cowboys, those imposters who dare call themselves “America’s Team.” After all, you have to be some kind of toothless, overall-wearing, pickup-driving rube with a shotgun rack to think America exists west of the Meadowlands.
IN THE BEGINNING
For all the commotion Jerry Jones caused to America’s Team upon arrival, St. John the Divine may as well have predicted it in his Book of Revelation. Not since a presidential assassination in Dealey Plaza had anything shocked Dallas like when Jerry Jones fired Tom Landry in a “classless” manner via press conference (but don’t tell the schmuck-morons that Jones and Schramm met with Landry in Austin and asked for Coach Landry to stay in the organization).
tom Landry’s firing rippled throughout the NFL. Pete Rozelle compared it to Vince Lombardi’s death. League owners questioned Jerry’s authority, whereby he stated Tex Schramm, still the team president, executed the order. This led to the institution of the “Jerry Jones Rule,” which indicates how much tinkering can be done by a new owner before the league consents to the team’s sale. These measures were put forth in large part thanks to Wellington Mara, who saw Jerry Jones as a menacing rebel that would forever bring derision and scorn upon America’s Team. Yeah, never mind Wellington’s comical public feud with his nephew, Tim Mara, over direction of the Giants. No, Jerry Jones is the clown. Another reason Wellington Mara had disdain for Jerry Jones was the fact he fired Landry. After all, the Maras and Tom Landry went way back.
This wasn’t the end of Jerry Jones and Wellington Mara clashing sabers. In the summer of 1989 amidst NFL owners meetings to vote for Pete Rozelle’s replacement, it was guaranteed Jim Finks, former general manager of the New Orleans Saints, would take the commissioner’s job. He was favored by Wellington Mara and the other fogey owners. Jerry Jones led what was known as the “Chicago 11,” a group of younger owners who saw the marketing potential and untapped oil reserves of revenue in the NFL. You can thank the “Chicago 11″ for Paul Tagliabue.
The biggest battle Wellington Mara and Jerry Jones ever had was over NFL Properties. You’ve all seen how Pepsi is the official soft drink of the NFL and Papa John’s is the official pizza of the NFL, right? Back in the ’80s and ’90s, this used to be under the auspices of NFL Properties, an interest formed by Wellington Mara. When Jerry Jones realized the league didn’t control the licensing to Texas Stadium, he made Pepsi the official soft drink of Texas Stadium (in effect, the Dallas Cowboys) and so on down the line. This led to the NFL filing a $300 million lawsuit against Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys in ’95 preseason. Jerry fired back with a $700 million lawsuit claiming NFL Properties violated antitrust laws. In 1996, the NFL and Jerry Jones settled out of court.
Once again, Jerry Jones had challenged the old guard and won.
Now you can see, aside from crippling division foes, why John Mara would use his chairmanship of the NFL Management Council to finally stick it to Jerry Jones. Follow the bouncing ball, boys and girls. After all, revenge is a dish best served cold and when you have all the power.
FRANZ KAFKA FOOTBALL
This is a Dallas Cowboys website, so I’ll let Redskins fanatics explain things from their side of the Beltway. I’m only going to talk about us.
In 2010, there was no salary cap. There were no agreements on how teams could sign contracts. Therefore, the Dallas Cowboys went ahead and re-signed Miles Austin to six years more, paying him $54 million with a $17 million base salary. The NFL Management Council claimed this contract was illegal and fined the Cowboys $10 million before the start of the 2012 free agency. John Mara says the Cowboys violated the spirit of the cap and the penalties were just. All of what Mara the Lesser said would be true if not for the fact the contracts in question were approved by the league. In fact, the league won’t even consider a contract if it doesn’t comply with league rules.
Just as the Cowboys’ actions weren’t illegal, they weren’t uncommon. According to cap pandit AdamJT13 at the CowboysZone, The Green Bay Packers renegotiated the contracts of Tramon Williams, Nick Collins, Ryan Picket, and BJ Raji. The league kvetched at us giving Austin $17 million in 2010 and then $8.5 million in 2011. But the Packers gave Nick Collins a cap number of $10.9 million in 2010. In 2011, his cap number was a little over $5 million. Why didn’t the NFL management council go after the Crackers up there? After all, aren’t we talking about “unacceptable risk to future competitive balance”? Who won a Super Bowl later that year? Who went 15-1 with homefield advantage the next year? Oh, the poor Crackers up there who need to be protected from the NFL becoming like Major League Baseball. Boo hoo.
Speaking of which, why aren’t the Tampa Bay Buccaneers being punished for not spending the cap floor? In case you don’t know, the cap floor is the minimum that teams have to spend on salaries. In fact, Drew Brees whined about it during last year’s lockout while our #9 was leading off-season workouts instead genuflecting before Mammon. The cap floor, like the cap ceiling (i.e. “the salary cap”) is a hard cap, meaning teams can be fined financially or through draft picks for failing to meet it. Well, in 2010, the Buccaneers didn’t meet the cap floor, and they didn’t meet it again in 2011 because it doesn’t take affect ’til 2013. Now do you understand why the Buccaneers have gobs of money to throw at Vincent Jackson, Carl Nicks, Dallas Clark, Amobi Okoye, Eric Wright, et cetera?
Maybe if Malcolm Glazer were in the NFC East or showed up Mara’s daddy 100 years ago, the NFL Management Council would take action.
Oddly enough, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers abstained from voting against the Cowboys and Redskins’ cap penalties at the owners meetings in April. I guess their conscience got the better of them. As for any potential outside alliances, there were none. The NFLPA, who you would assume would come to the Cowboys and Redskins’ aid citing collusion, sided with the NFL in their judgment for a paltry $4 million extra of cap room. The only place where justice could be served would be in the courts.
CHOKED ON HIS OWN SILVER SPOON
The Cowboys took this judgment before NFL arbiter Stephen Burbank in Philadelphia.
Wait. Let’s get this straight. The New York Giants punished the Cowboys and Redskins, and now someone in Philadelphia is going to rule on it. Oh, no, I don’t see this being partial at all.
Anyway, Burbank did what we all expected and ruled the NFL and the NFLPA were just in fining the Cowboys and Redskins. Jerry Jones said he would accept the ruling, as would the Redskins’ owner Daniel Snyder.
However, the NFLPA got exactly what they wanted. Because of John Mara’s inartful phrase “spirit of the cap,” the NFLPA now believes it has ample evidence to sue the NFL for collusion in 2010. The question now becomes whether or not the NFLPA has the right to sue for collusion, given that they signed a waiver in 2011 forfeiting the right to sue for past grievances. It’s all subject to legal tedium. It all comes down to the interpretation of Article 3 of the new collective bargaining agreement. Did the NFLPA sign away their right to sue the NFL for things they didn’t know about? If they didn’t then expect this to go before Judge David Doty in the U.S. Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, and expect this to be as ugly as the lockout.
Microcephalic Dallas Cowboys fans, who are like an autoimmune disease to the Cowboy Body Politic, attack Jerry Jones for being an owner who always says stupid things to the media and is drunk on his power. Then, they attack Stephen Jones, claiming that he wouldn’t have an NFL executive job if not for his daddy. John Mara is all in one, and he isn’t even the full owner of the New York Giants!
Who used his new-found chairmanship of the NFL Management Council to bully division rivals? That sounds like something Jerry Jones would do, but it was John Mara.
Who went to the media and basically gave the NFLPA its case to sue the NFL for billions of dollars? That sounds like something a drunk Jerry Jones might do, but it was a sober John Mara.
Who used to practice law before becoming an NFL executive thanks to his father, and somehow negated his own professional strength and got the NFL in legal soup? That sounds like something Stephen Jones would do, but it was John Mara.
I don’t know how long John Mara has been obsessed with Jerry Jones, but it’s obvious Wellington Mara didn’t have that same talk with John that Indiana Jones’ father had with him over the Holy Grail: let it go. All because John Mara had to avenge his father for Jerry Jones showing him up in actions that resulted in the betterment of the league, Mara the Lesser has put the NFL, as we know it, in jeopardy. Here the league is already on the precipice of paying out Heaven knows how much for adverse effects to retired player injuries. Now, they could be looking at shelling out $1 billion or more to the NFLPA for collusion and corruption. Add that on top of the league considering eliminating kickoffs and other safety precautions, and we’re looking at a game we won’t recognize fifteen years from now.
As for our Dallas Cowboys, I was always inclined to follow the approach Jerry Jones took within the days these frivolous salary cap fines were levied: settle it on the field. That’s the philosophy I had from the beginning, and that’s the stance Jones later took. John Mara wouldn’t need to abuse his power unless he knew the Cowboys were challengers to NFC East dominance. Fine; take our $10 million and cast lots for it amongst the other 28 teams (Saints and Raiders don’t get the money). Annie Lennox sang “Money Can’t Buy It,” and that’s the feeling Mara and the Giants are going to know all too well come the terrible night of Wednesday, September 5th when the Dallas Cowboys vanquish the New York Giants (By the way, the Cowboys have never lost to the Giants on Opening Day, ever) and all through the 2012 season.
The Mara/Jones spat evidence comes from David Magee’s biography of Jerry Jones entitled Playing to Win. If you’re a professional Jerry Jones hater with the secret bookcase, uniform, and portrait to Bum Bright, I suggest you grab the beta blockers before turning a single page in that book.
I would also like to thank AdamJT13 for his work on all the NFL player contracts out there. He really is a gem to have in the Cowboys underground media, and I hope he doesn’t think I’m the grid iron Glenn Beck for using his ideas. I mean, I credited AdamJT13, you know. I didn’t claim I came up with that evidence.
I’d also like to thank Bluestang from CowboysZone as well. He didn’t truly come up with the evidence of the Buccaneers not meeting the price floor. I saw that elsewhere on the interwebs, but he drew it to my attention. There are people in the Cowboys underground media who steal from others without attribution, and it angers me because I’m a scholar who has had to cite his research papers. So I don’t want to be like that, ever. So I’m attributing Bluestang for the Buccaneers evidence.