SBD/September 2, 2014/People and Pop Culture

Jerry Jones Might Be Most Well-Known Owner In Sports, But Lacking In GM Legacy

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Jones said he would give his work as GM over the last 17 years a "C" grade
Cowboys Owner JERRY JONES was profiled Sunday on ESPN’s “Outside The Lines,” and host Bob Ley said since the passing of Yankees Owner GEORGE STEINBRENNER in '10, Jones is the "most well-known -- some might say infamous -- owner in American sports.” However, as the team’s GM, Jones is “very much on the clock." ESPN's Don Van Natta said, "In 25 years as the Owner, President and General Manager of the Dallas Cowboys, Jones' accomplishments are unmatched: three Super Bowl victories and visionary leadership that transformed a nearly bankrupt team into the NFL's most valuable franchise." When Jones bought the Cowboys in ‘89, the "team was on shaky financial ground." Jones sued the league for "control over team sponsorships," and while the ability to “monetize every imaginable aspect of the team originally infuriated fellow owners and the league,” it is now "considered visionary." Some of Jones’ friends claim he is “spread too thin,” holding as many roles within the franchise as he does. Jones “insists he'll never relinquish" the GM role, the "part of owning the Cowboys he loves most." But it is Jones' football decisions which have "fans restless (and) many are exacerbated by Jones, who they say is a colossal failure" as GM. Jones said he would grade his performance as GM over the last 17 years as "down the middle. I'd give it a 'C.'" Dallas-area WFAA-ABC's DALE HANSEN said, "The man can do oil and the man can do real estate. He just can't do football. There's not a corporation in America that would say, 'Seventeen years with one playoff win? Yeah, but 20 years ago you were really good.' Not a one! Not a one, unless you also happen to be the owner, which he is."

THE EGO HAS LANDED: Van Natta said the "size of Jones' ego is a popular topic," and Jones is “still bitter today about not getting enough credit for helping mold those championship teams" of the ‘90s. Jones said of firing coach JIMMY JOHNSON in ’94 after winning back-to-back Super Bowls, "I lost my tolerance of having an associate, a friend, not be loyal." Van Natta said according to Jones, Johnson "showed disloyalty when he took credit for making every personnel decision that built the Super Bowl-winning teams." Former Cowboys coach BARRY SWITZER said while "everybody thinks it has to be a football guy" making personnel decisions, most of these guys “never even played football that are general managers." Jones said, "I know our game. I know what makes it work. I know it's part show business, I know it's part competition, it's part tradition. All of the things it takes I think to be a football man I'm pretty aware of and I practice most of it." Jones said of being Owner, President and GM, "I'd like to be remembered as very apt in all three of those areas. Now I'm a realist to know that I'm not going to be because that's covering a lot of ground. I understand the criticism goes with what I do. I also know that one way to wipe it out is to win” ("Outside The Lines," ESPN, 8/31).
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