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When I first heard of the nomination of Jerry Jones to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, I thought it must be a joke. Will it wasn’t! So to be fair, I did some research to see if it would change my opinion.
When Jones bought the Cowboys for $140 million dollars in 1989, the team was decimated and had an aging Head Coach in Tom Landry. Jones came in and cleared house which did indeed needed to be done, he caught a lot of heat for letting legendary coach Tom Landry go, but the time had come for a change. He went out and hired Miami Hurricanes Head Coach Jimmy Johnson. With Johnson at the helm, the Cowboys built one of the great dynasties in NFL history. So, in the beginning, Jones looked like a Hall of Fame owner.
Unfortunately for the Cowboys and their fans, Jones enormous ego got in the way. Jones didn’t like the fact that people saw him as just a figure head and that Johnson had gotten all the credit for building the team. So after the Cowboys second consecutive Super Bowl title, he decided to part ways with Johnson. He then went our and brought in former Oklahoma Sooners coach Barry Switzer to run the team, now they did go on to win one more Super Bowl in 1995, but after that to say the team dropped off would be a big understatement.
The next 22 years brought very few playoff trips and zero Super Bowl appearances; it also brought a long line of failed coaches who at times seemed to be more yes men than anything else. Jones led the charge to make Paul Tagliabue the commissioner when most of the old guard of NFL owners wanted Jim Finks. His argument for Tagliabue to be named commissioner at the time were based more on economics than it was football.
When Jones took over the reins of the Cowboys organization in 1989 most of the NFL team’s revenue came from ticket sales and television money, Jones would be the leading force in changing all of that. The one thing you would think would be a big strike against Jones his lawsuit with the league 20 years ago over team sponsorships and money did nothing more than bring additional money to the teams. Jones is a great money man and is a big reason for the fleecing of multiple cities for football stadiums that are mostly taxpayer funded. Jones himself built the stadium in Dallas known as “Jerry’s World” for one Billion dollars, and almost half of it was publicly funded.
Jerry Jones has been nominated because he is the NFL’s “Money Man” and nothing else. As a GM he has commented many times that if he were not the owner, he would have been fired as a GM multiple times. It is my contention with Jones nomination that Jones is the biggest reason for what the NFL has turned into, which is a multi-billion dollar corporation that cares nothing about it’s players or fans. Now, the NFL may want him in the Hall because of that, but let’s face it overall Jones represents more what’s wrong with the league than maybe anybody else.
If you want to put a deserving owner in the Hall of Fame how about former Broncos owner Pat Bowlen? Bowlen was always deeply involved in league dealings and was the NFL’s most influential owner in television dealings, and his teams fared better than Jones over a long period. Bowlen’s teams made four Super Bowl appearances including three championships since Dallas last won even one, and only five losing seasons in the 32 years Bowlen has owned the team. Bowlen was a man that made a positive and lasting impact on his city; Jerry Jones is just the NFL’s money man, and in my opinion not deserving of the hall of fame and it’s not even close.
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