Cowboys Jerry Jones belongs in the Hall of Fame

Oct 11, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones talks to quarterback Tony Romo. Mandatory Credit: Erich Schlegel-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 11, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones talks to quarterback Tony Romo. Mandatory Credit: Erich Schlegel-USA TODAY Sports /

Despite the ruffled feathers and Texas-sized swagger, Dallas Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones belongs in the Hall of Fame.

It is not often that someone comes along and changes the very way we view things. Even more rare is it that someone brash and outspoken can be a villain and a hero at the same time. Rarer still is it for that person to be correct the times that we balked at him, and we are better in some way for it.

With all the ruffled feathers, outlandish words and Texas-sized swagger, Dallas Cowboys’ owner and general manager Jerry Jones is that person. Last week, the 73-year old Jones was honored as a semi-finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

When Jones bought the Cowboys in 1989 from H.R. “Bum” Bright for a cool $140 million, many fans resented him. In the following months, he fired beloved legendary coach Tom Landry and the stalwart general manager Tex Schramm. That same year, he traded superstar running back Herschel Walker to the Minnesota Vikings for five players and six draft picks. Dallas historically went 1-15 that year, drawing waves of criticism from fans, media, owners,and players alike.

Where fans, only saw shortcomings and defeat, Jerry Jones saw opportunity and growth.

When Jones fired Landry, he replaced him with equally brash college coach Jimmy Johnson from the University of Miami. Johnson enjoyed four consecutive 10 win-or-better seasons and a National Championship in 1987, so he was the obvious choice.

The dismal 1988 season, where the Cowboys went 3-13, awarded them the Number One overall draft pick in the 1989 NFL Draft. That pick became quarterback Troy Aikman. As for those those draft picks Jones got for Walker? Some of them became running back Emmitt Smith, defensive lineman Russell Maryland, and safety Darren Woodson. After three Super Bowl Victories later, Dallas fans had changed their minds about Jerry Jones.

Where Jones’ true genius lies is in marketing. And he had no better platform than the NFL to do so.  In 1993, the NFL made exclusive multi-million dollar deals with Coca- Cola and VISA. Jones had the foresight to realize the Dallas Cowboys brand could stand on its own.He, then, negotiated exclusive sponsorship deals with Pepsi, American Express and Nike through the Texas Stadium Corporation.

This forced the NFL to present him with a $300 million lawsuit, claiming breach of covenant. The lawsuit was dismissed in 1995. Jones then countered with a $750 million anti-trust lawsuit that was settled. Thus, his maverick moves benefited the team, helping to make them the most valuable and most visible in the league.

The premium brand of the NFL deserves a premium place to play.

In 2009, when the multi-billion dollar complex AT&T Stadium was built, Jones again raised eyebrows. Texas Stadium was, and still is, scared grounds to many fans. His vision saw that the  premium brand of the NFL deserved a premium place to play.

The new jewel of the league seats well over 100,000 fans and has attracted many events, from NCAA Championships to Wrestlemania 32. It was announced in September 2015, Forbes’ Magazine named the Cowboys as The Worlds’ Most Valuable Sports Team, at a staggering $4 billion, ahead of the English Premiere League’s Manchester United and the New York Yankees.

Despite all of his genius and business savvy, Jones is still criticized for the day-to-day operations of the  Cowboys. Today, he is still the president and general manager of the club, as well as the primary owner. Many voices outside of the brand say he should relinquish some of his power, particularly that of the general manager role.

Dallas has only won two playoff games since winning Super Bowl XXX in 1995. Because of this, I understand the ire of those calling for the change. Many also believe that had he given Johnson the GM role in the early 1990’s, there would be more Lombardi Trophies in Dallas.

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It is my opinion that Jones would benefit from giving the general manager role to someone else, while he concentrates on building the Cowboys brand and the NFL global market. However, I also believe the league’s most well known owner has a few more tricks up his sleeve and is not done shocking us yet.

It takes a rare breed to be the owner of the Dallas Cowboys, and there is none more rare than Jerry Jones.