SBD/October 8, 2012/People and Pop Culture

Cowboys' Jerry Jones Showing No Signs Of Slowing Down, But Succession Plans In Place

Jones turned 70 on Saturday and hopes to keep Cowboys' ownership within his family
Cowboys Owner JERRY JONES was profiled by Brad Townsend of the DALLAS MORNING NEWS, who noted that after turning 70 on Saturday, Jones has owned the team for "23 years, seven months and counting." Jones said, "The idea of putting together and handling the nuances of a team that can win a Super Bowl is the most challenging thing I’ve ever done in my life. It’s the hardest thing to get and keep your hands around." Jones: "It’s like holding Jell-O. About the time you think you’re holding on to it, it starts coming out someplace else." Jones' wife, GENE, said, "I don't see him slowing down in any aspect of his life. Children, grandchildren, Cowboys, he wants the best for all of them. His passion and desire for all of us to share that championship experience never wavers. I see it every morning when he walks out the door."

ALL IN THE FAMILY: Townsend noted speculation has been that Jones' son STEPHEN, who serves as Cowboys COO & Dir of Player Personnel, "would eventually assume" his father's role. Jerry Jones said that was "partly true," pointing out that "Stephen already oversees the scouting and player personnel departments, Cowboys Stadium management operations and attends NFL owners meetings." Jones said, "I do want to emphasize that, at this particular time, it would be madness not to think about succession. ... I’m very confident that if I got hit by a truck tomorrow, we’ve got a great succession plan. Everybody here understands football, loves it, is not really interested in anything else in sports and has tunnel vision relative to football." Townsend wrote that in reality, Jerry Jones sees a "continuation of Team Jones management already in place." His daughter, CHARLOTTE ANDERSON, also serves as Cowboys Exec VP, VP/Brand Management & President of Charity Foundation. In the early '90s, Jones "transferred minority limited partnership interests to Stephen, Charlotte and JERRY JR., giving them what he calls 'serious skin in the game.'" Jerry Jones: "I was fortunate to have put things like that in place long before the Cowboys were worth what they are now." Townsend wrote seldom if ever speculated "is the scenario of Gene stepping forward as principal owner." Jones said, "There’s no question that on an ongoing basis she would be involved." Jones also "foresees some or all of his grandchildren joining the franchise, if they choose so." Jones: "The way we're structured here, I don't see this team owned by anyone other than my immediate family."

JERRY WORLD: Jones "gambled" in expanding Cowboys Stadium's "scope and opulence, which spiked construction costs to $1.2 billion and the Cowboys' share to $850 million." The team's 27-25 record since the new venue opened "has fed a perception that Jones overleveraged, causing the franchise to cut corners until the debt is paid." Today, Jones says only a "fractional" amount of debt remains, adding, "but that amount has been cash-reserved for." Jones said that the stadium's greatest accomplishment "is that it already operates profitably." Townsend asked the question, "Why would Jones settle for a perhaps-lesser naming rights deal now, when Cowboys Stadium is practically paid for and its mere name further brands the franchise every time a non-NFL sporting event or concert is held there?" Jones: "At this juncture, it’s going to have to fit just perfectly for what we want to do at the stadium" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 10/7).
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