One Man’s World
~ Amy Lignor
This may not be the ‘New World’ – after all, anyone who has been around a while knows that Jerry Jones is the lifeblood of the Dallas Cowboys, so his face on screen or on the field is anything but new. BUT, before you get mad and start screaming about Aikman, Smith, Irvin, Romo, etcetera, being the real lifeblood of the team, the facts remain the same. In the stadium dressed up in silver and blue the ranks are: Player’s Decision; Coaches Jobs; BUT Jerry’s rules.
Jerry Jones isn’t just an owner of a football team. This is a man who makes sure that he gets value for his money (and, boy, it’s a lot of money).
He has made coaches leave just because they couldn’t deal with the fact that, in essence, they were not the final say even though they should have been. There is a bit of a mirage on the Cowboys sidelines, yet with each passing year (or game) that mirage just doesn’t hold up anymore. The coaches are speaking into their headphones, but it almost feels as if there is no ‘coordinator’ on the other end; it seems they are speaking to the owner, himself. The only way they break this mirage is by showing Jones in the owner’s box either clapping or smiling. BUT when there are no smiles to be had, he appears on the sideline, walking, slapping people on the back, encouraging them. Is there anything wrong with that? Heck no. Except… There ARE coaches that he IS actually paying that are BEING paid make the decisions.
For many years I was on the fans’ side, I was a little miffed by Jerry Jones because of the fact that the team’s cheerleaders and his big smile were the ultimate publicity for the team instead of the coaches and the players. Jerry was riding high when Aikman, Smith and Irvin were on the field in Irving…yet he lost the head coach because of wanting to be the head cheese on the field instead of from his skybox. (Yes, there are other explanations for why Johnson said so long…but do you really believe them?)
Over time, however, I have come to appreciate Jones. ‘Jerry World’ is bright and shiny in that AT&T stadium. It is a shame not to have the original Cowboys Stadium in Irving still standing – at least to be able to walk the gridiron of the ‘greats’, but between the new stadium and all Jerry’s other programs, the man has become a master of keeping ‘America’s Team’ in the game, even when they have been out for a long, long time.
Jerry Jones makes headlines. Just recently, it was announced that in 2016, the Dallas Cowboys will move their headquarters to Frisco, Texas. Again, the original headquarters in Valley Ranch will be missed, but Jerry is doing this so that Romo & Co. will be able to share the facilities with local high school football teams. Why, you ask? Because he wants ‘America’s Team’ to have even more publicity as the team that is part of the people.
Frisco, for those who have never been to Texas, is that ‘Friday Night Lights’ view of the world. It is the announcer in his booth, the bright lights on the old field, and high school cheerleaders (looking definitely NOT like the Dallas Cowboy originals), waving their pom-poms for their team (usually their boyfriends), as parents scream out to their kids, take pics, and where the high school boys begin their dreams about one day being in the NFL.
Well, because of Jerry Jones and building this other ‘world’ in Frisco, these kids will feel even closer to that dream. The facility in Frisco will cost approximately $115 million – which will come with an indoor stadium for 12,000 watchers and two (not one) TWO practice fields.
Jerry Jones stated: “My vision is that one day, Tony Romo will walk off the field to the west after practice and a high school QB will walk on the field from the east the minute Tony leaves.”
Even though that young man will definitely get Romo’s autograph, these kids will also be side-by-side with some of the greats of football. The school children will have access to everything that their icons have access to; film and training rooms, weight rooms – everything; perhaps they’ll even have to sign some sort of contract with Jerry so that Dallas gets the ‘right of first refusal’ one day instead of waiting for the draft. (I wouldn’t put it past him).
Make no mistake, Jerry Jones will milk this move from ‘Valley Ranch’ to a down-to-earth home base (if you can call $115 million down-to-earth), for all the publicity he can. Jerry is always thinking. Even when the Cowboys have hideous seasons and no one wants to watch (which has been a lot of years over the past decade), this is the man who still knows how to fill the seats of the stadium.
Is Jerry in charge on the field? Recently, when Tony Romo was injured, it was Jerry who stated: “Make no mistake, it’s the player’s decision to return to the game.”
But, in the end, no one is going to throw a wrench into ‘Jerry’s World’ because it is HIS decision on whether or not you make a home in Dallas or ride off into the sunset. No matter what the TV experts say, and no matter whether you love or revile the guy, the truth has to be accepted and expected: There is no such thing as too much power when it comes to who runs football in Dallas. This is Jerry’s World – it will expand – and coaches, as well as players, are expendable if they don’t play the game by Jerry’s rules.