DALLAS COWBOYS FOOTBALL CLUB: Looking back at Jerry Jones’ 25 year ownership of America’s Team | Special Feature
IRVING, Texas – Man, 25 wild and crazy years, zigging and zagging, laughing and crying, running and running faster, trying to keep up with the Joneses.
Never, ever – ever – a dull moment, from the one win of 1989 that kept the Dallas Cowboys from an unprecedentedly poor 16-game NFL season to the eight wins – again – of 2013, one short of acceptable for the third straight year.
Who knew 25 years ago this past Tuesday, Feb. 25, 1989, sitting in the Dallas Cowboys team meeting room out here at what we then were referring to as Cowboys Ranch late that Saturday night, that so many lives would irrevocably change when the then-Arkansas stranger Jerral Wayne Jones was being introduced as just the third owner of the world-renowned Dallas Cowboys.
His life, along with those of his wife Gene’s and their three kids: Stephen, Charlotte and Jerry Jr.
The lives of so many who had worked for the Cowboys – made the Dallas Cowboys – from Day One or for the majority of those first 29 years of the NFL’s first expansion franchise’s existence.
The lives of those who would follow the Joneses to Dallas.
And our lives, too, those of us in the media crammed into a room big enough to house a team of football players but bursting at the seams with nearly everyone already on deadline when the long-awaited announcement began sometime after 8 p.m.
Me, I have mental snapshots of that evening, seeing on one hand the pure joy and excitement laced with some anxiety of the Jones Family and all of Jerry’s partners when he was introduced as the next owner of the Dallas Cowboys. But on the other hand, there was basically the team’s godfather, Tex Schramm, standing off to the side, with the glum look of a man attending his own funeral, realizing then the fact he no longer had a seat on center stage was symbolic of what was to come.
Hey, if Tom Landry was no longer needed, and he wasn’t since Jimmy Johnson was coming along with Jones in a package deal and had already been told by Jones what previous owner Bum Bright should have since he more or less resented Landry, surely the appropriately named Tex was not long for his world of 29 years either.
There was Jones, with almost preacher-like enthusiasm, rapidly talking of immediately winning with the 3-13 team he was inheriting, emphasizing his positivity with a fist pounding the air.
There were the arched eyebrows of the skeptical media, wondering what in the world … realizing the 29 years of Cowboys stability was being rattled as if the ground beneath an Apollo capsule launching into space.
A new day was dawning at dusk.
The last snapshot: After the final 30 was put on however many stories we could pound out by midnight, several writers gathered in Tex’s office, soon to be Jerry’s and still is. Sitting-on-the-floor room only. Again, a day of celebration on one hand, and rightfully so when you pledge $140 million you didn’t really have for an NFL franchise and accompanying stadium that were losing money hand over fist, and on this other hand a somber gathering, reminiscing about the good old days that were mostly great but now suddenly just good and old, growing more feint by the minute in the rearview mirror.
It was as if with these stories Tex was giving away his final possessions over drinks – stiff ones I might add – with the very people he had heartily laughed with yet angrily sparred with oh the many years.
“This is a very sad night for me,” Tex said needlessly.
And I distinctly remember this too: My Dallas Times Herald teammate, Frank Luksa, who had covered the Cowboys and Tom and Tex from nearly their 1960 inception, a man who thought he had seen it all, sitting on the floor next to me. He began to rise, held up his near-empty drink in a toast, saying unbeknownst to the rest of us, “Well, time to go home to celebrate what remains of my birthday.”
Will never forget his birthdate, singed into my mind.
And this, too, I’ll never forget, ever. A few days later, March 1, my life, as I perceived at the time, was turned upside down. A guy who was the sports department’s general assignment writer, handling an assortment of jobs, from helping out on the Cowboys to the Rangers to the Mavericks, college football, basketball and baseball, writing lengthy features and having just come off the previous year of covering the Olympics in Calgary and then Seoul, was told the Dallas Cowboys and Jerry Jones were your beat, buddy.
You have been chosen to inherit the tradition set by such esteemed writers as Sherrod, Perkins, Luksa and Dent. No way, I said, not me. I’m not cut out for this. They told me I was perfectly fit, having helped out since the middle of the 1984 season and having covered nearly every game over what turned out to be the final four and a half seasons of Landry’s coaching career.
So there I went kicking and screaming, into what seemingly was a daily towering inferno. Every day – every day – there was something, starting with Jimmy Johnson’s introductory press conference on Monday, the Port Arthur native apologizing with hat in hand if he somehow had danced on Landry’s coaching grave, saying to those who had perceived so, “I’m sorry,” and me finishing my story that night with one line:
And so the Cowboys new era begins apologetically.
Then there came all the coaching changes. Jimmy’s new assistants being hired. Tom’s old assistants being fired.
Then there was Jerry, armed with the first pick in the NFL Draft saying, “Troy Aikman should play for half the price” just to get to be a part of the Dallas Cowboys organization. Oh my.
Next day having to do a long profile on Jimmy.
Next day Cowboys lower ticket prices for end-zone seats.
Then the start of Plan B free agency.
Then the owners meetings, along with the start of implementing instant replay and the league’s initial crackdown on steroids.
Then there was no vote on approving the Dallas Cowboys sale to Jones, leaving the deal hanging.
Then 29-year NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle’s retirement, he having just compared Landry’s dismissal with “the death of Lombardi.”
Then Jimmy’s first minicamp, along with the real possibility of Randy White and Danny White not being back with the team, which eventually came to fruition a few months later. Then the contract struggle with quarterback Steve Pelluer.
Let’s see, then Too Tall staying, Doug Cosbie leaving, Jimmy playing coy on Aikman being their No. 1 pick, Mike Sherrard leaving, Nate showing up at 358 pounds for offseason workouts, Barry Sanders challenging the NFL’s draft rules, petitioning as an unheard of underclassman for the draft. Landry throwing out the first pitch at a Rangers game. A Landry parade downtown Dallas. The schedule released, at New Orleans becoming the new era’s opener.
Tex Schramm resigning to head up the NFL’s Worldwide American Football League. Cowboys vice president Joe Bailey resigning to join him. Then eventually business manager Billy Hicks, too, to head across the pond. Then the NFL at a meeting in New York finally approving the sale to Jones. Then negotiations began with Aikman’s agent Leigh Steinberg. Then Aikman signing a six-year, $11 million deal, the richest contract for an NFL rookie to date as the Cowboys No. 1 pick. Then the draft.
Oh, we’re just getting started, and these moves were expected, Jerry wanting to get his own people in place, people he could trust not relying solely on those with allegiances to Tex and Tom. Sort of like if you’ve ever been to an Italian wedding or seen an old-day Italian restaurant run. Only the immediate family handles the money, you know, and immediate means wife, husband, kids, mother, father or grandparents. Seriously.
Then longtime Cowboys employees being let go: Day-Oner Gil Brandt, treasurer of 18 years Don Wilson, public relations man of 18 years Doug Todd, 22-year ticket manager Ann Lloyd. All hard to watch.
Gosh, and it wasn’t even May yet.
And remember, back in those days there were three daily newspapers in the Metroplex: ours, The Dallas Morning News and Fort Worth Star-Telegram. The competition was fierce. And remember, too, no internet. Ha, internet. No social media. No cell phones. Dimes and quarters were important commodities for payphones. You had one shot to get every story every night. And if you were a competitor you wanted the impossibility of every story every night, so that meant working to 11 nearly every night. Anxiety filled your sleep.
Then, well, mornings were hell. You were scared to death to grab those other papers for fear of getting beat in black and white. Remember, too, no updating if you didn’t have it all until the next day. Trying to keep up with Jerry and Jimmy was exhausting. They weren’t letting any grass grow under their feet. Blowin’ and goin’ was the slogan. Theirs was an immediate program, not some three-year plan.
By the first of June, felt as if my head was being centrifuged. We had a meeting of sorts, me and the sports editor, who told me I was doing a fine job. Maybe, I said, but I want out. I want my old job back. This is going to kill me. He said no way. I said I can’t. He said we’re eliminating your old position anyway.
I said, well, of course I’ll cover the Dallas Cowboys. Who wouldn’t want to, right? But again, not before agreeing kicking and screaming, having wanted desperately to run for cover.
So here it is 25 years later, and still covering the Cowboys in some form or fashion every single day since, and well, let’s see. By my count, the last game I missed was the season finale in 1988, 23-7 loss to Philadelphia. And swear, I’ve never done this before, so hang with me, that’s 25 seasons times 16 regular-season games a season, equaling, no way, an even 400 straight, along with the majority, but not every preseason game during that span of time.
Seen 1-15 and 13-3. Seen three Super Bowl victories and three consecutive seasons of 5-11. Seen a plane ride home from Philadelphia in 1991 after the Cowboys clinched their first playoff berth in six seasons – first winning season, too, in those six – that barely needed jet fuel to get off the ground, and now three consecutive seasons of 8-8.
Seen a losing franchise, both financially and athletically, become the richest in the United States and first to win three Super Bowls in a four-year span. Seen Hall of Fame coronations and the Jerry-Jimmy spat. Seen Switzer make me laugh until I thought I’d cry and Bill leave me in stitches even when he wasn’t trying to be funny. Seen Jimmy cry How ‘bout dem Cowboys! and smack those lips hard as he could losing those opening two games in 1993.
Seen triplets born to Bill Bates and Triplets land in the Ring of Honor. Seen Dave Campo come and go, and then come back again. Seen a free-agent quarterback rise into becoming the head coach and another rookie free-agent quarterback rise out of nowhere to become the franchise’s all-time leading passer. Seen Texas Stadium come crumbling down and AT&T Stadium rise from that gigantic hole in the ground.
Watched every carry of the NFL’s all-time leading rusher. Saw Michael Irvin the day he arrived hugging the life-sized cardboard cutout of Tom Landry and similarly hugging Jerry Jones the day he retired. Seen tragedies and attended funerals.
Seen it all for 25 years, every step of the way only because someone forced me to take that first step running after a guy I had never met until 25 years ago this past Tuesday. Exhausting, yes. Exhilarating, you bet.
And maybe the best part: 25 years is but a milestone. Got a feeling there’s still much more to come.
Courtesy: Mickey Spagnola | Columnist
RELATED: 25th Anniversary of Jerry Jones’ ownership of the Dallas Cowboys
25 Years – Jerry Jones reflects on buying Dallas Cowboys; Replacing Tom Landry
This day, 25 years ago, Jerry Jones purchased the Dallas Cowboys. Listen to the Jerry Jones himself talk about the trials of the purchase, and the journey through the last twenty-five years.
Tuesday, Feb. 25 marked the 25th anniversary of Jerry Jones franchise purchase of the Dallas Cowboys from Bum Bright in 1989.
Jones spent more than an hour Sunday on the Cowboys bus outside Lucus Oil Stadium in Indianapolis reminiscing about the historic transaction and the days leading up to it _ the nervousness and excitement that caused him to develop a heart condition called Arrhythmia and the huge risk he took, considering the Cowboys were not only a mess on the field at the time but where swimming in debt, losing $1 million per month.
“It was quite a trying time for me. I get emotional talking about it and I’ve asked a professional about why I get emotional talking about it in public or private and they said, well, that was a traumatic time for you. It was a pretty significant reach risk-wise and I didn’t know how it was going to turn out, so it was a nervous time for me. I developed arrhythmia, and I had never had an unhealthy day in my life. Arrhythmia is called by a lot of people and a lot of med students get it. It was from not resting and never sleeping and then getting up just after you lay your head down. So that kind of describes for me that period of time.”
On the warning his father told him about what would happen if he failed:
“I didn’t know, but I quickly found out the visibility that was involved there. My father called me about 10 days, two weeks into this thing and he said, ‘Jerry, I had no idea this thing would have the visibility it’s got and he said, I don’t care you are a young guy, and he said, ‘I don’t care whether you do it by mirrors, smoke or what, if you are not successful, you’ve got to make it look successful or you will be known by a loser and you won’t be able to do anything else for the rest of your life in terms of getting people to go along with you.’ “
On his biggest regret:
“If I had a chance to do it over again I would’ve waited a year and just got my feet on the ground a little bit more and probably just gone with the staff that we had and then later made the ultimate changes that I made. If I had to do that over again, I probably would do it because probably it was the urgency with how fast we had to move. That got a lot of the criticism that the changes that were made with the staff.”
So you regret hiring Jimmy Johnson and firing Tom Landry so callously:
“I don’t regret what I said was looking back because that contributed to the seemingly insensitive way that coach Landry was changed out and that contributed to it, the fact that it was done at the same time that we made the announcement there 25 years ago, that we made the announcement that I was buying the team, that I was going to be the general manager and all of that was done almost the same night. As a matter of fact, that was done the same night. So if I look back at the criticism, that’s one where you might have taken more time.”
Was Jimmy Johnson always going to be the guy to replace Landry:
“I thought of Barry (Switzer). I did think of Barry. But Jimmy is, of course, more active. He probably had more proximity. I kept up with Jimmy. My oil and gas partners were in Oklahoma City and I spent a lot of time around them. They were very prominent in OSU, Oklahoma State’s athletic department. So that all fit real good. When I called Jimmy to tell him that I was looking at it, that I was interested — what would you think about joining me? His quote was: ‘I always wanted to be with you, work with you. If you called me to sell insurance, I’d sell insurance.’ So actually Jimmy came on and we officially – not officially – but we announced he was going to be the head coach and it was a significant period of time after that before we every got around to doing an agreement about money, before we even talked about money. He committed and left Miami and came to the Cowboys before we even talked about money.”
Jones on the nervousness of the financial risk because of the state of the Cowboys and NFL:
“I was excited. I was very nervous. I knew I had huge financial obligations. I knew they were ahead of me and I didn’t have all the answers as to how we were going to address them. I knew there were a lot of pitfalls in just the buying of the Cowboys, not necessarily clean. I bought 13 percent of the Cowboys from the FDIC. They had been foreclosed on. And so it was not in a nice complete operational routine. The franchise was not. All that made me extremely nervous. But had I not had the just sheer positiveness of just getting to be involved in the NFL, knowing that when I got up in the morning I would be in the NFL, knowing that I would be part of the Cowboys then those would have been issues in normal business that might have buckled my knees. But because it was so exciting to me to be part of the Cowboys I give that a lot of credit for working through those things. That was 25 years ago.”
Is the passion and excitement still there:
“Yes, of course. It is. Its actually there more than it was because I’m able to think more offense. I’m not as concerned as I was financially about the state of the franchise, about the NFL, about the game. The future is significantly brighter than it was in 1989 for the NFL, for pro football and for that matter pro sports today. I never thought Gene (his wife) would be waiting tables over this deal. But I did think it had the potential to really knock my stuff in the dirt. I knew that it did. Lamar Hunt got up at one of our NFL owners meetings maybe 12 to 13 years ago. He got up and told the entire ownership that the greatest risk I have ever seen taken in sports was the one the Jerry took when he bought the Cowboys, financial risk. He was well aware of the situation with Cowboys. He was well aware of the lay of the land”
Jones blames his reputation as an owner who only cares about making money on his aggressiveness of being an agent of change in the NFL because of the poor financial state of the Dallas Cowboys organization and the league at time.
“That’ll motivate you to be an agent of change. That’ll motivate you to want to change some things, and that was a part of the driving thing that early on in the NFL that I wanted to change for the benefit of everyone, but for the benefit of the clubs, for the benefit of the fans, I felt that we could do some things that would create more strength, more energy, and that was one of the reasons that I initially was as aggressive, and the other things was timing. I didn’t have time to sit there and wait on some of these changes 15 years or 10 years, you know the days and the time was burning, and so it had to be really, you had to move on it. So that’s one of the reasons that the perception of aggressiveness, or the perception of, for that matter, one of the things that I regret is that the perception about financial, the facts are I had financial security and gave it up to buy the Cowboys, and I didn’t buy the Cowboys to go make money. But once you get in the chair, once you get in the position, then you want to be as good and do as good as you can do. So that’s kind of how things have evolved over the years.”
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These Cleveland Browns have never beaten the Dallas Cowboys. These Browns – the new Browns, founded in 1999 as a sequel to the historic original franchise. They are 0-2 against Dallas in the regular season heading into today’s important matchup.
The Paul Brown Browns, however, certainly had the Cowboys’ number over the years, beating up on the NFL newcomers for the majority of the 1960s in a series of matchups that bloomed into a classic rivalry, including three playoff games. After the league’s 1970 merger, when Cleveland moved to the AFC, the rivalry unfortunately faded into history, with the teams meeting only sparingly in the regular season until the late Art Modell relocated the club to Baltimore in 1996.
The Cowboys’ luck in their series with the Browns-Ravens lineage has taken a turn for the worse, of course, with Dallas having never beaten Baltimore in four tries, including the heartbreaker earlier this season and the woeful Week 16 matchup in 2008, when the Ravens turned out the lights on Texas Stadium with a 33-24 victory.
These things go in cycles, evidently. The original Browns whipped Tom Landry’s upstart team in each of their first four meetings, beginning with their first game, in Week 4 of the Cowboys’ expansion season, 1960. To that point, the team of undrafted rookies and castoffs from other clubs had acquitted itself fairly well against established NFL competition, having lost to the Steelers, Eagles and Redskins in consecutive weeks, but only by a combined 21 points.
The Browns welcomed the Cowboys into the NFL rather rudely, however, one gorgeous October afternoon at the Cotton Bowl, allegedly in front of 28,500 fans, though many reports suggest the stadium wasn’t nearly as full as the club claimed in those early days. Cleveland scored first on a 46-yard carry by future Hall of Fame runner and receiver Bobby Mitchell in the first quarter, before the great Jim Brown plowed in from five yards out in the second. Mitchell then jaunted 30 yards to make the score 21-0 as the floodgates opened, with the Browns returning an interception for a score before halftime, and Mitchell coasting 90 yards for another touchdown on the opening kickoff in the second half. The Browns led 48-0 before backup quarterback Don Heinrich tossed a garbage-time touchdown to Billy Howton.
It was a sign of things to come that season, as the Cowboys went on to post an 0-11-1 record, managing one tie, late in the season against the Giants, while falling by multiple scores in six of the seven losses to come following the trouncing by Cleveland.
The Browns would repeat the favor twice in 1961, as they joined the Cowboys, Steelers, Eagles, Giants, Redskins and St. Louis Cardinals in the newly formed Eastern Conference. That October, they knocked off a surprisingly 2-0 Dallas team, 25-7, at Municipal Stadium in Cleveland, and in December helped eviscerate any hopes of a playoff berth for the Cowboys by beating them 38-17 in Fair Park, in the second of four straight Cowboys losses that sunk their record to 4-9-1.
The Browns won a 19-10 decision over Dallas at home in the teams’ first meeting in 1962, but the second matchup was a different story, seen as something of a pivot point game for the Cowboys franchise and their young quarterback, Don Meredith. Dallas had jumped out to a fine start to the season again, sitting 4-3-1 on the year before losing five of their last six. The lone exception came on Dec. 2, when they tanned the Browns, 45-21, at the Cotton Bowl, in arguably the best performance of the club in its existence to that point.
“You writers and the football public here don’t realize what a fine team you have here in Dallas,” Paul Brown, an admirer of Landry’s, told the assembled media after the game. “You folks just don’t seem to realize this team can give you a championship. They outplayed us all the way … they deserved to win. I congratulate Tom for a fine job.
“Dallas was an inspired team. They’d never beaten us and it had to come sometime, and they did it to us good today.”
The Browns had traded Cowboys-killer Mitchell to Washington the previous offseason (he scored on a 92-yard kickoff return against the Cowboys in his first game with the Redskins) and Dallas managed to hold Jim Brown to only 29 yards on eight carries. Meanwhile, Cowboys running backs Don Perkins and Amos Marsh combined for 209 yards on the ground, while Meredith was 10-of-12 passing for 147 yards and two touchdowns, keeping Cleveland’s defense off balance all day.
Meredith had been struggling in previous games, and hadn’t yet wrestled full-time duties away from veteran Eddie LeBaron, but the fine day against Cleveland was a prelude of what was to come in his career.
“Meredith certainly had better results today,” Landry said after the game he called the Cowboys’ “best showing against a good team at home.”
Still, that impressive day remained the exception rather than the rule in the early years of the series. The Cowboys continued to muddle along in mediocrity while the Browns remained among the NFL’s elite. Cleveland won the next seven games in the series, not to mention an NFL Championship in 1964, while the Cowboys didn’t even experience their first winning season until 1966.
Once Jim Brown retired after the 1965 season, the series turned a bit. Dallas won a measure of confidence that year with a 26-14 home win over a good Browns squad on Thanksgiving, the Cowboys’ debut on the holiday, in what would become an annual tradition. By 1967, the ghosts of Cleveland’s domination had been fully exorcised, or so it would seem. The Cowboys beat Cleveland twice that year, including a 52-14 destruction of the Browns in the Eastern Championship Game, the first playoff win in the club’s eight-year history.
A week later, on New Year’s Eve, the Cowboys lost to Green Bay on a last second Bart Starr sneak in the NFL Championship, the game better known as the Ice Bowl. It was the beginning of the Cowboys’ “Next Year’s Champions” era, though the unwanted legacy was only furthered by playoff slip-ups against … Cleveland.
After beating the Browns convincingly in their run to a 12-2 record in 1968, the heavily favored Cowboys fell to the Browns in the Eastern Championship Game.
“A whole year shot in two-and-a-half hours,” Cowboys general manager Tex Schramm surmised afterward.
It turned out to be the last game of Meredith’s career and a rather disgraced ending. He completed only three of nine passes, connecting with the Browns as often as his own receivers. Meredith’s interceptions led to 17 Cleveland points, and he eventually gave way to Craig Morton under a deafening swarm of boos, the Cotton Bowl crowd en masse deciding their team could never win with Dandy Don, despite the fact he’d posted his best season yet in 1968.
“We needed a psychological lift,” Landry said following the loss. “Morton was the only thing I had that I could use. I took Meredith out not so much for what he was doing, but to try to shake them up. … I hated to take him out. In my opinion, he wasn’t wholly responsible. I don’t know what he will do (in the offseason). I can’t speak for him, but you can bet he feels worse than anybody right now about this game.
“I wouldn’t say (we) got whipped physically – it was more mentally than physically.”
With Meredith retiring after the season, Morton accepted the offensive reins, but his luck against the Browns and in the playoffs was no better. He threw three picks in a 42-10 Week 7 drubbing at Cleveland in 1969, one of just two Cowboys losses in the regular season. Yet again, Dallas was favored in an Eastern Championship matchup with the Browns, and yet again they came up short. Way short.
The Browns jumped out to a 24-0 lead at the Cotton Bowl, and put the finishing touches on the game when Walt Sumner returned a Morton interception 88 yards for a fourth quarter score. Roger Staubach took over for Morton, but the lead was too far out of reach even for “Captain Comeback,” and the Browns advanced with a 38-14 victory.
“We’re not choke-ups,” receiver Bob Hayes said after the game. “There were 40 guys out there and every one of them played his heart out. … I don’t know what happened. Nobody does. It’s a mystery to all of us. We were ready.
“I looked over to our bench and I could see shoulders sag. Guys who had been eager and jumping to get into the game seemed to be saying, ‘Oh no, here we go again. You play hard to get to this game – the playoffs – and you either have it or you don’t have it. We didn’t have it. Why? It’s a mystery to me. We’ve been pointing to this particular game since last September. It’s one we knew we had to win. We have to win a big one to shake off this image. Some day we’re going to do it.”
The Browns had played a huge role in the Cowboys’ earning of the “Next Year’s Champions” moniker. Cleveland had dominated the all-time series to that point, with 14 wins against only five losses, but Dallas has gotten the best of Browns since, winning seven of the 10 matchups between the clubs. None of the games was bigger than 1970, the Browns’ first year in the AFC, when chance pitted the teams in a late season battle once again. The Cowboys had opened the season 5-4, and needed a serious winning streak late in the season to earn a playoff spot. On a muddy, near-freezing day at Municipal Stadium, Dallas triumphed 6-2, the product of two Mike Clark field goals and an excellent day for Landry’s defense, which shut down the Browns running game and recorded four takeaways.
When the Cleveland franchise was reformed in 1999 – four years after the original club moved to Baltimore – their first preseason outing was against the Cowboys in the Pro Football Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio. It would prove to be a remarkable night, not only for the Browns’ rebirth, but also as the rare preseason contest that reached overtime, something coaches typically try their best to avoid.
Jim Brown, Bobby Mitchell, Don Meredith and Bob Hayes had given way to the likes of Karim Abdul-Jabbar at running back and Tim Couch at quarterback for the Browns, with backups such as Ryan Neufeld and Singor Mobley playing big roles for the Cowboys by the end, when Cleveland’s Phil Dawson decided the game with a field goal.
“It’s good to see the Dawg Pound back in the NFL,” Troy Aikman said afterward, welcoming the return of the new, old Browns, three years after their apparent demise, and some 30 years since they last played the Cowboys for something truly meaningful.
The teams had certainly played bigger contests, but the history behind the preseason opener made it at least noteworthy, just like today’s game, echoes of an all-but-forgotten rivalry.
Photo: Dallas Cowboys quarterbacks Troy Aikman, Roger Staubach, Don Meredith, Craig Morton, and Danny White
Blog hint: With nearly every photograph on The Boys Are Back blog, you can get additional information by hovering over the photo with your cursor. Many times, if you’ll click on the photo you’ll see a larger image.
First photo: Amos Marsh Jr. (jersey #31), Full Back/Return Specialist, 1961-1964
Amos Marsh Jr. was signed as a rookie undrafted free agent by the Dallas Cowboys in 1961, because they were impressed by his speed. Back then his nicknames were "Moose" and "Forward Marsh".
He started his career as a wide receiver and special teams player. In 1962 to take advantage of his size and speed, he was moved to fullback, playing alongside Don Perkins where he became one of the league top 10 rushers with 802 yards and a 5.6 yards average per carry. That year he also set the franchise record for the longest kickoff return with 101 yards, a record that was broken by Alexander Wright 29 years later in 1991. The play came against the Philadelphia Eagles, when the Cowboys became the first NFL team in history to produce two 100-yard plays in the same game: a 100 yard interception return for a touchdown by strong safety Mike Gaechter and the 101 yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Marsh.
Marsh’s production regressed during the following years, leading the Cowboys to trade him to the Detroit Lions in 1965 after the team acquired fullback J.D. Smith
Courtesy: Dallas Star magazine | Cleveland Plain Dealer archives | NFL | Dallas Cowboys
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PINK PROFITGATE–OVER REACTION: Dallas Cowboys remain relevant even without the wins; Mac Engel critical of Jerry Jones’ money making flair
One week after the Dallas Cowboys re-unveiled the five banners that celebrate their glorious Super Bowl past, they will open a store that says everything you need to know about what they are today.
Every single time we think the Dallas Cowboys are returning to their core values of winning football as the primary means to make more money, they remind us a "W" is no longer as vital as the $.
On Monday, a few hours before the Cowboys host the Bears, Cowboys Stadium will become the first professional sports arena to house a Victoria’s Secret store.
Next up: The Gap, Starbucks, Best Buy and Frederick’s of Hollywood.
This is a joke that isn’t a joke.
The Cowboys should not be providing any potential punch lines that aid in questioning their toughness or suggest that they — cough, cough — play like a bunch of girls.
The good news is that finally a fan can go to a Cowboys game, buy a Cowboys hat and a pair of Cowboys "Huddle Up" panties for $10.50. A pair of Dallas Cowboys underwear is far cheaper than a parking spot for a Dallas Cowboys game.
The bad news is that this Victoria’s Secret "PINK" store is only going to carry Dallas Cowboys-themed merchandise, including yoga bras, lace panties, T-shirts, sweatshirts and sweatpants.
Jerry Jones, if you are going to consummate this marriage between the Dallas Cowboys and Victoria’s Secret, you must go all in. With just a little cross marketing, there are far greater opportunities than just T-shirts and sweatshirts.
I can’t make these up: Victoria’s Secret offers "The Showstopper" bra, "Dream Angel" panties, "Dream Angel" perfect coverage bra and "Boy Shorts" panties. The pun possibilities are endless.
The franchise that was always so far in front of the professional sports curve remains that way because no team understands its current landscape better than the Cowboys.
The reason the Cowboys have those five Super Bowl banners is because, at that time, winning was the way to national relevance and revenue. You had to be good.
Former Cowboys president Tex Schramm believed the best money spent on marketing was on scouting.
The world is a much different place than the one Tex operated in, or even the one Jerry bought into.
The reason the Cowboys are today valued by Forbes at an NFL-high $2.1 billion is because they recognize and have fully exploited the reality that being relevant is as potentially lucrative as being good.
Look no further than Jerry’s recent comments regarding the replacement officials in the NFL. He thought it was good entertainment, and exciting, and it was. But "good" or "right" had no place in the conversation because quality did not matter.
In the entertainment world, and that’s what professional sports is, relevance serves as an effective impostor for quality.
If you can’t win, you must create other areas of interest to remain relevant, and more lucrative. No team loses and yet retains its relevance any better than the Cowboys.
In lieu of winning games, there may not be a better way of creating relevance in pro sports these days than girls who don’t wear a lot of clothes.
The franchise that changed the landscape of NFL sidelines by adding professional cheerleaders — officially combining sex and sports — now brings us Victoria’s Secret to a stadium. The Cowboys are the first, and you know they will not be the last.
Smack your head and curse Jerry if you must, and go ahead and laugh at the Victoria’s Secret Cowboys.
You can’t say Jerry Jones is Bengals owner Mike Brown and that he doesn’t care about winning. For Jerry, making a deal or making a ton of coin is akin to defeating the Redskins, Giants or Bears. It all brings the juice.
Today it is a Victoria’s Secret store and a cameo on the TV show The League. In a month or two, it will be a casino, or sponsoring a space station.
Until the Cowboys really win, they will be defined by their ability to always be relevant.
Ever since Jerry bought the team, the Dallas Cowboys have remained relevant because of their ability to win, the personalities of their players and their coaches, through tradition and now because of bra and panties.
Mac Engel | Ft. Worth Star-Telegram
EDITORS COMMENTS: Tex Schramm was no slouch when it came to marketing. Jerry Jones benefits from Tex’s foresight. Who do you think was in charge when the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders came into existence? Jerry’s no fool. He’s going to put money in his pocket when he has an opportunity … then, he’s going to sign players within the confines of the NFL salary cap. Jerry Jones has taken what Tex Schramm built (America’s Team and all that it encompasses) and ran with the ball (pardon the pun). I have no issue with whatever JJ does to enhance the venue. Cowboys Stadium is a gameday experience and showcase … utilized eight days (or nights) a year (plus playoffs and special events). Do whatever it takes to draw attention, make money, stay in the publics mind. The wins will come … just like they have five times in the past.
To question Jerry Jones’ desire and commitment to win is ridiculous … both at the bank, and on the field. The NFL and the Dallas Cowboys are about MORE than sports, it’s sports entertainment. We’re getting what we pay for. Ask fans in the other 31 NFL cities … who offers the best NFL experience in the country?
There have been two GM’s in Dallas Cowboys history. Tex made the block, and Jerry ran for the touchdown.
Never forget who we are … and what we are. Mostly, we’re dudes. Watching a game of grime and grind. If a hardworking guy takes his girl to the game, has a cold beer, sports a new hat and jersey, stands up – raises hell, and hooks her up with something (naughty or nice) from the Victoria’s Secret store. Who really benefits here? I say, it’s win-win. Let the games begin.
Jerry Jones was born in Los Angeles, California. His family moved to North Little Rock, Arkansas when he was an infant. Jones was a star running back at North Little Rock High School. Jones attended college at the University of Arkansas and was a co-captain of the 1964 National Championship football team. He was an all-SWC offensive lineman for Hall of Fame coach Frank Broyles and a teammate of Neil Rosenberg and Jimmy Johnson. Other notable teammates were Glen Ray Hines, Ken Hatfield, Jim Lindsey, and Loyd Phillips. Several future great head coaches were assistant coaches for Frank Broyles and the Razorbacks during his college career in Fayetteville including Hayden Fry, Johnny Majors, and most notably Barry Switzer, Hall of Fame coach of the University of Oklahoma. Jerry Jones is one of a very small number of NFL owners who actually earned a significant level of success as a football player.
When Jerry Jones graduated college in 1965, he was hired as an executive vice president at Modern Security Life of Springfield, Missouri, his father’s insurance company. He received his Masters degree in business in 1970. After several unsuccessful business ventures (including passing up the opportunity to purchase the AFL‘s San Diego Chargers in 1967), he began an oil and gas exploration business in Arkansas, Jones Oil and Land Lease, which became phenomenally successful. His privately-held company currently does natural resource prospecting.
In 1989, Jerry Jones purchased the Cowboys and Texas Stadium from H.R. “Bum” Bright for $140 million. Soon after the purchase, he fired long time coach Tom Landry, to that point the only coach in the team’s history, in favor of his old teammate at Arkansas, Jimmy Johnson. A few months later, he forced out longtime general manager Tex Schramm, and assumed complete control over football matters.
After the 1993 Super Bowl victory, reports began to surface in the media that Jerry Jones had made the statement that “any one of 500 coaches could have won those Super Bowls”, given the type of talent that he (Jones) had drafted and signed for the team. Jones also stated to reporters at a late night cocktail party that he intended to replace Jimmy Johnson with former University of Oklahoma coach Barry Switzer. The next morning, however, Jones famously denied those reports by stating that it “was the whiskey talking”. Jimmy Johnson was eventually forced out in 1994 and Barry Switzer was hired to be the new head coach of the Dallas Cowboys.
Jerry Jones is one of two NFL owners who also have the title or powers of general manager, the other being the Cincinnati Bengals’ Mike Brown.
Of all the owners in American professional sports, he is considered to be one of the most involved, on a day-to-day basis, with his team. He can be seen in his box at every Cowboys game and in many cases he ventures down to the Cowboys sideline (usually late in the game).
In an online poll from October 8, 2003, Jerry Jones was named the least favorite sports personality by Sports Illustrated. He is often vilified by fans who remain bitter at Jones’ unceremonious firing of fan-favorite Tom Landry. Some of the fan criticism is due to Jerry Jones’ high visibility and involvement as the “face of the team” which is in stark contrast to original owner Clint Murchison Jr.
Some Dallas Cowboy fans have expressed their displeasure with Jerry Jones and the lack of success in the franchise. This had led to formation of grassroots organizations aimed at displacing Jones from his position.
Jones is the subject of a book published September 1, 2008 titled ‘Playing to Win’ by David Magee. In the book, Jerry Jones says he handled the firing of Tom Landry poorly and takes some blame for the disintegration of his relationship with Jimmy Johnson.
Jerry Jones was fined $25,000 by the NFL for publicly criticizing referee Ed Hochuli after Hochuli made a controversial call in a game between the San Diego Chargers and the Denver Broncos on September 14, 2008. He made comments both to the press and on his radio show, saying Hochuli was one of the most criticized officials in the NFL. This was Jones’ first fine by the NFL.
In 2009, Jones was fined for violating a gag order on labor issues. Commissioner Roger Goodell had issued a gag order for all owners and team executives from discussing any aspect of the pending labor issues. Jones “crossed the line”, drawing a “six-figure” fine, sources said, as the commissioner distributed a memo to all 32 owners, along with a reminder that the gag order remains in effect. Goodell did not disclose the specific amount of Jones’ fine in the memo.
Jones in popular culture
Jerry Jones was the inspiration for the character Baxter Cain (Robert Vaughn), owner of the Dallas Felons, in the 1998 film BASEketball. He had a brief cameo appearance as himself in the 1998 made-for-television reunion movie Dallas: War of the Ewings. He also appeared as himself in an episode of the TV show “Coach” in 1996. He also appeared as himself in a 2007 television commercial for Diet Pepsi MAX, which also featured then Cowboys head coach Wade Phillips and quarterback Tony Romo. Jerry Jones most recently starred in a commercial for Papa John’s in which a stunt man performs a dance act. Jones also appeared in the seventh season of the HBO series Entourage as himself in 2010.
Jerry Jones is married to Gene Jones and they have three children: Stephen, Charlotte and Jerry, Jr. They also have nine grandchildren.
Stephen Jones (born July 21, 1964) is a graduate of the University of Arkansas and serves as the Cowboys’ chief operating officer/executive vice president/director of player personnel. Charlotte (born July 26, 1966) is a Stanford graduate and serves as the Cowboys’ vice president/director of charities and special events. Jerry, Jr (born September 27, 1969) is a graduate of Georgetown University who earned his law degree from Southern Methodist University, is the Cowboys’ chief sales and marketing officer/vice president.
A highlight of Cowboys Stadium is its gigantic, center-hung high-definition television screen, the largest in the world. The 160 by 72 feet, 11,520-square-foot scoreboard surpasses the 8,736 sq ft screen that opened in 2009 at the renovated Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri as the world’s largest.
At the debut pre-season game of Cowboys Stadium, a punt by Tennessee Titans kicker, AJ Trapasso, hit the 2,100 in. screen above the field. The punt deflected and was ruled in-play until Titans coach Jeff Fisher informed the officials that the punt struck the scoreboard. (Many believe Trapasso was trying to hit the suspended scoreboard, based on replays and the angle of the kick.) The scoreboard is, however, within the regulation of the NFL guidelines – hanging approximately five feet above the minimum height. It should also be noted that no punts hit the scoreboard during the entire 2009 regular season during an actual game. Also, what should be noted is that on August 22, 2009, the day after AJ Trapasso hit the screen, many fans touring the facility noted that half of the field was removed with large cranes re-positioning the screen. According to some fans, a tour guide explained that Jerry Jones invited a few professional soccer players to drop kick soccer balls to try and hit the screen. Once he observed them hitting it consistently he had the screen moved up another 10 feet.
The first regular season home game of the 2009 season was against the New York Giants. A league record-setting 105,121 fans showed up to completely pack Cowboys Stadium for the game before which the traditional “blue star” at the 50 yard line was unveiled for the first time; however, the Cowboys lost in the final seconds, 33–31.
The Cowboys got their first regular season home win on September 28, 2009. They beat the Carolina Panthers 21–7 with 90,588 in attendance. The game was televised on ESPN’s Monday Night Football and marked a record 42nd win for the Cowboys on MNF.
EXECUTIVE BIO – Jerry Jones (Dallas Cowboys website)
In one of the most dramatic eras of ownership in professional sports, Jerry Jones’ stewardship of the Dallas Cowboys has brought unprecedented results and success to one of the world’s most popular sports entities.
Aside from being one of only four current owners to guide their franchises to at least three Super Bowl titles, Jones’ efforts in the areas of sports marketing, promotion and the development of Cowboys Stadium have created a vivid imprint on the landscape of the NFL and the American sports culture.
Highlighted by Super Bowl victories following the 1992, 1993 and 1995 seasons, Jones became the first owner in NFL history to guide his team to three league championships in his first seven years of ownership. In 1995 Dallas also became the first team in NFL history to win three Super Bowls in four seasons while tying the then-NFL record for most Super Bowl victories by an organization with five.
The first decade of Jones’ ownership closed with eight playoff appearances, six division titles, four conference championship game appearances and three world crowns as the Cowboys were named the NFL’s Team of the 1990s. Dallas closed the first decade of the new millennium with division titles in 2007 and 2009 while the 2009 club secured the 11th playoff appearance in Jones’ 22 seasons of leadership.
Along with the success of the Dallas Cowboys on the field, Jones’ vision and leadership provided the driving influence behind the concept, design, and construction of Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas – a venue that is recognized internationally as perhaps the most spectacular and state-of-the-art sports stadium in the world.
Opened to the public in May of 2009, Cowboys Stadium’s dramatic first season of operation resulted in the venue being named the Sports Facility of the Year by the Sports Business Journal in May of 2010. Along with that achievement for the team’s new home, Jones was also named the 2009 Sports Executive of the Year by the SBJ.
The 100,000 plus seat Cowboys Stadium established the attendance record for an NFL regular season game as 105,121 witnessed the September 20, 2009 home opener, while the 108,713 who attended the NBA All-Star Game on February 14, 2010 became the largest crowd to witness a basketball game in the history of the sport.
In just over two years of operation, more than four million fans have attended events that included high school and collegiate football, major college basketball, professional bull riding, Motocross, world championship boxing and a handful of concerts that featured world renowned recording artists. Another million visitors have passed through the twelve-story-high doors of the stadium for daily public tours of the venue.
With its architectural versatility and cutting edge media capabilities, Cowboys Stadium has become a visible beacon that has established North Texas as a major focal point on the sports and entertainment canvas of North America.
The brilliant home of the Cowboys has become a powerful catalyst in attracting a wide range of national and international events that will define the future of the region for generations to come. After already playing host to Super Bowl XLV in February of 2011, other top flight events for the future include the annual AT&T Cotton Bowl, the 2014 NCAA Final Four in men’s basketball and the annual Texas A&M-Arkansas football series just to name a few.
Since he took over as general manager in 1989, the Cowboys have drafted 25 different players who have gone on to appear in a combined total of 95 Pro Bowls. Dallas has also signed 11 free agent players who have made 28 Pro Bowl appearances while representing the Dallas Cowboys. Since 1989 the Cowboys have made 129 trades, the most celebrated of which was the 1989 deal that sent Herschel Walker to the Minnesota Vikings and provided the personnel foundation for three league titles.
In selecting the on-the-field leadership for the Cowboys, Jones hired a pair of coaches who won three Super Bowls in Dallas: Jimmy Johnson (1992-1993) and Barry Switzer (1995). Chan Gailey followed with a division title and playoff appearances in 1998 and 1999. In 2003 Jones successfully recruited two-time Super Bowl winner Bill Parcells to Dallas, and Parcells directed the team to three winning seasons and two playoff trips in four seasons. In February of 2007, Jones added another successful NFL head coach in Wade Phillips who guided the club to a pair of division titles in his first three years (2007 and 2009) and a playoff victory in 2009. In 2011, Jones named Jason Garrett as the team’s eighth head coach after the former Cowboys’ quarterback guided the club to a 5-3 record as the interim coach in the second half of the 2010 season.
In the last 33 years, 34 different owners have entered the National Football League. Of that group, only Jerry Jones and Robert Kraft of New England have guided their franchises to more than two Super Bowl championships. Moreover, Jones joins Art Rooney, Jack Kent Cooke, Al Davis, Eddie DeBartolo and Kraft as the only men to have won at least three Super Bowls as NFL owners.
On the league front, he actively contributes his vision and enthusiasm to enhancing the NFL’s status as the world’s premier professional sports league by serving on a wide range of league committees. He was recently very involved—as a member of the Management Council Executive Committee–in the labor negotiations that resulted in the most recent Collective Bargaining Agreement between the NFL and its players. In addition to the CEC, Jones is currently the Chairman of the NFL Network Committee, and he is a member of the NFL Broadcasting Committee, the Pro Football Hall of Fame Committee and the NFL Player Dire-Need Committee. Jones also served on the committee that was charged with overseeing the search for a successor to retired NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue — a search that successfully landed current NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in September of 2006. In addition, Jones has served two prior terms as a member of the NFL’s Competition Committee as well as a stint on the Business Ventures Committee.
His contributions and innovations in the areas of marketing, corporate sponsorships, television, stadium management, stadium development, labor negotiations and community service have made a visible imprint on the ever evolving face of professional sports in America. Since becoming involved with the Cowboys, Jones’ accomplishments have been recognized through his induction into the Boys and Girls Clubs of America Hall of Fame, the Texas Sports Hall of Fame (2007), the Texas Business Hall of Fame (2005), the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame (1999) and the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame (1998). In August of 2007, he served as the presenter for Michael Irvin’s induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame — a recognition he was also named for by Emmitt Smith as the NFL’s all-time leading rusher was enshrined in Canton in August of 2010.
As a co-captain of the 1964 National Championship Arkansas Razorbacks, Jones is one of a very small number of NFL owners who actually earned a significant level of success as a football player. He is the only man in the history of the National Football League to play for a collegiate national championship football team and own a Super Bowl winner. In addition, Jones and the legendary George Halas are the only two men to become NFL owners after playing in a major college football bowl game. His current ties to the college game include membership on the Board of Directors for the National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame.
A man of varied interests who will not rest on yesterday’s achievements, he is a dedicated businessman and family man – sharing a vivid enthusiasm for both. Although Jones and his family are very involved in numerous civic and charitable causes, the Joneses have left an indelible local and national impression on the philanthropic landscape with their love and dedication to The Salvation Army.
For the past 14 seasons, the Jones family has dedicated the Cowboys Thanksgiving Day halftime show as a national showcase to kick off The Salvation Army’s annual Red Kettle Drive. Through the donation of national television air-time, the event has created a new holiday tradition, while helping to increase donations to The Salvation Army’s annual fund raising efforts by hundreds of millions of dollars. Major George Hood of The Salvation Army states that “by presenting the National Kettle Kickoff on Thanksgiving Day, the Dallas Cowboys have helped the Army raise over one billion dollars in the past 14 years.” Reba McEntire, Randy Travis, Clint Black, Jessica Simpson, Billy Gilman, Creed, LeAnn Rimes, Toby Keith, Destiny’s Child, Sheryl Crow, Carrie Underwood, Kelly Clarkson, The Jonas Brothers, Daughtry and Keith Urban have provided the entertainment for the holiday extravaganzas.
The Salvation Army points to the annual Cowboys kickoff event as one of the most effective, creative and important innovations that has been developed in the long and storied history of the organization.
The Joneses received the Evangeline Booth Award in 1999, one of the Army’s highest national community service awards and have been selected for membership into the prestigious Salvation Army William Booth Society. Gene and Jerry were also named to the Army’s National Advisory Board in April of 1998 shortly after being named the organization’s Partners of the Year in 1997. In April of 2007, Gene and Jerry Jones served as the honorary chairpersons for the Salvation Army’s National Advisory Organizations Conference (NAOC) that was held in Dallas.
For 10 years, Gene and Jerry Jones served as hosts and underwrote the costs for the Super Lunch, a fundraising event for The Salvation Army Irving Corps Community Center. In 1998 the Gene and Jerry Jones Family Center for Children opened in conjunction with The Army.
As part of the Jones Family and the Dallas Cowboys commitment to Arlington, Texas, the home of the club’s new stadium, Gene and Jerry Jones Family Charities will donate a total of $16.5 million to non-profit organizations serving youth in Arlington from 2009-2041.
In 2001 the Joneses were awarded the Chairman’s Award by The Boys and Girls Clubs of America. In June of 2002, Gene and Jerry Jones were recognized as the recipients of the Children’s Champion Award for Philanthropy that was presented by the Dallas for Children organization. In 2003 the Family Gateway organization of Dallas presented Gene and Jerry with the Annette G. Strauss Humanitarian Award. In April of 2005, Gene and Jerry were recipients of the Hope Award, the highest community service recognition awarded by the Lone Star Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. In 2010 the Jones Family and the Cowboys were selected by the Boys and Girls Clubs of America to receive the prestigious Chairman’s Award that recognized the Cowboys long and dedicated history of supporting that organization.
The Jones family is very involved with several other community-related organizations, including Children’s Medical Center of Dallas, Happy Hill Farm Academy/Home, the National Board for The Boys and Girls Clubs of America, the Kent Waldrep Paralysis Foundation, The Rise School of Dallas, The Family Place and The Family Gateway. In 2010, the Jones family endowed the North Texas Youth Education Town with a $1 million grant. Created as a lasting legacy of Super Bowl XLV, the North Texas YET will be administered by The Salvation Army and provide North Texas youth with education, mentoring, fitness and character enrichment programs.
Jerry (10/13/42) and Gene live in Dallas. They have three children, Stephen, Charlotte and Jerry, Jr., and nine grandchildren.
Stephen (6/21/64) is a graduate of the University of Arkansas and serves as the Cowboys Chief Operating Officer/Executive Vice President/ Director of Player Personnel. Charlotte (7/26/66) is a Stanford graduate and serves as the Cowboys Executive Vice President/VP of Brand Management/President Charity Foundation. Jerry Jr. (9/27/69), a graduate of Georgetown University who earned his law degree from Southern Methodist University, is the Cowboys Executive Vice President/ Chief Sales and Marketing Officer.
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