With Jerry Jones As Owner, It’s Hard To Take These Cowboys Seriously
In case you missed it, there was an old-time Arkansas shindig on Friday in honor of Razorback football legend Frank Broyles. But if you figured that Broyles would be the prized pig in attendance, well, then guess again.
Jerry Jones, a three-time Super Bowl winning NFL owner, was on hand to claim that distinction. Jones, as has often been noted, is a 1965 graduate of Arkansas, despite rumblings over the past two decades that he was, in fact, a dropout.
With his Dallas Cowboys having thrown nary a party since January of 1996, Jerry wasn’t about to miss this chance at spinning tall tales in front of former classmates. And he certainly wasn’t going to waste an opportunity to tickle the media’s ear either.
Jones was the co-architect of what many NFL soldiers and veterans and insiders deem the greatest team to ever walk between the lines. Just three years after the Cowboys endured a 1-15 season in 1989, Jones and head coach Jimmy Johnson hoisted what would be the franchise’s first Lombardi trophy over the next three calendar years.
Disputes still remain as to which of the two deserve the lion’s share of the credit. But that’s irrelevant here. Jerry’s current resume’ hangs on his association with Johnson. Without that, he would be just another NFL owner, something Jones insists is not the case.
But winning isn’t what makes him tick anymore, not at least when school spirit is involved. Consider Friday’s developments. When asked about the pig pride of having the Razorbacks football team squaring off against Texas A&M in the Big Yard in Arlington for the next decade, Jerry patted himself on the back so hard he fell off the wagon.
“Nothing,” Jones said, “has made me prouder with the Cowboys, or anything…than to know the Arkansas Razorbacks are playing in that stadium.”
For those of Jerry’s hecklers looking for verification to the rumor from earlier this off-season which suggested that Jones was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, this tidbit might serve as substantial evidence.
This was simply the latest in another strange, rambling off-season for Jerry Jones, though that isn’t divulging anything not already known. Jones has an unmatched ability of keeping himself and his under-manned Cowboys team at the forefront of national sports conversation simply by being himself.
Jones has always had the politician’s flair for telling the audience exactly what they want to hear, even if that means dishing up a different gospel at his next speaking engagement. Except in Jones’ case, his campaigns don’t happen every four years. In his case, it’s been 25 years of touring the good ol’ USA trying to convince one and all that he is football savvy. The more years that go by, the worse it gets.
C’mon, Jerry. Who do you think you’re kidding?
Jones is tending to so many events, and has so many different irons in the fire that he can’t even fool himself anymore.
And he certainly wasn’t fooling anyone present when he opened up to the Razorback faithful about a brash young quarterback formerly of the SEC ranks. Yes, the gathering was in Arkansas, a state renowned for local gossip, but not even that could prevent the conversation from turning to America’s new whipping boy.
It seems that everyone wants to talk about Johnny Manziel these days, with Jerry doing more than most. And since it’s not enough that a month has elapsed since Jerry let Manziel slip right through his fingers and down to Cleveland, the assembled media asked for Jerry’s take on Johnny one more time.
Only, this time Jerry caught everyone flat-footed when he started humming a new tune.
Instead of Manziel, the Cowboys selected Fighting Irish guard Zack Martin in the first round of May’s NFL Draft, in what Jones said then was an easy decision.
“I’m not that gunned up by what a rookie quarterback can do for us this year,” said Jones shortly after the selection of Martin. “That takes time. This isn’t rebuilding time. As we look down the future, yes, but for coming in here and helping us win games right now, those odds are too far for me to get excited about. In my view, our best shot is a healthy Tony Romo.
“…We didn’t spend a lot of time in this draft considering Manziel. We have a big commitment to Tony. We feel that anything we look at with quarterback would be down the road, in the future with a quarterback.”
But then came Friday’s million dollar question; Was it hard, Jerry, to pass on Johnny Football at No. 16?
“Well, it was,” Jones admitted freely. “Yes, it was. First of all, I couldn’t believe he had fallen there. And secondly, we had spent a lot of time, I’d spent a lot of time. He’s the kind of player that can be that kind of difference-maker. There’s no doubt in my mind that he’ll be a successful player.
“We have in Romo what I consider to be the better quarterback. But there’s also the future, there’s also insurance if you don’t have him. If anybody could have adjusted to Manziel’s style, we could have because we’re a lot like that with Romo.”
If you’re feeling confused by now, well, be comforted in knowing that Jerry has already made a public disclaimer to allay your pain. As he said two years ago, “Just because I said it doesn’t make it true.”
With Jerry for an owner, the Cowboys will never be ignored, but neither can they be taken seriously either.