Fans of America’s Team, the Dallas Cowboys, have been plagued by their cocky, overbearing owner Jerry Jones for more than two decades. While the Cowboys were able to win three Super Bowls in the early ’90s, Jones has proven himself to be an inept owner and general manager. He is now among the ranks of the League’s most historically hated owners such as former Cleveland Browns owner Art Modell and former Oakland and Los Angeles Raiders owner Al Davis.
In Cleveland, Modell forced future hall of fame coach Paul Brown out of town in 1963 after winning three NFL Championships, and he ripped the heart and soul out of Cleveland when he moved the Browns to Baltimore in 1995. In the move, he dismantled an up and coming staff that included head coach Bill Belichick, Nick Saban, Eric Mangini, Jim Schwartz and future general managers Scott Pioli, Mike Tannenbaum, Thomas Dimitroff and Phil Savage.
Former Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis is also hated for moving his franchise, first from Oakland to Los Angeles and then back north 12 years later. He found early success with his team, including Super Bowl victories in 1976, 1980 and 1983, but, prideful and blinded by his successes, Davis unintentionally orchestrated the Raider’s collapse.
Much like Modell and Davis, Jerry Jones initially flourished in Dallas, but his pride has since become his worst enemy. After coach Jimmy Johnson won back-to-back Super Bowls in the 1992 and 1993 seasons, Jones sent him packing in 1994.
Attacking Johnson, Jones famously said that “any one of 500 coaches could have won” the two Super Bowls he coached.
Jones also hired himself as the team’s general manager, retaining as much hands-on control for himself as possible.
“[Jones as the general manager] is the football version of the attorney who represents himself: He has an idiot for a client,” Jeb Lund wrote in an article for the Rolling Stone.
Jones has made some highly questionable moves both in the draft and free agency during his tenure. The Cowboys were propelled to success following a trade that sent star running back Herschel Walker to the Minnesota Vikings in 1989 for five players and six draft picks. Jones now takes credit for this blockbuster deal, although Johnson vehemently disagrees.
The Cowboys have not accomplished much in recent years and, despite their fiery owner imposing himself on the team, are stuck in mediocrity. There has surely been no shortage of jaw-dropping statements from Jones this season, such as one he made about their new starter Brandon Weeden after quarterback Tony Romo was placed on the injured reserve/designated for return list when he fractured his collarbone early in the season.
“You won’t see a more gifted passer,” he said about Weeden.
Comments like this make Jones seem senile.
Probably the most controversial choice by Jones this year was the signing of defensive end Greg Hardy. Jones has reiterated that, despite Hardy assaulting his girlfriend and being a focus of the domestic violence conversation in the NFL, he was due a second chance.
As bad as it is, Jones’ support of Hardy is about as good of a decision he has ever made. While Jones’ and the team’s reputation have taken hits as a result of the signing, Hardy is a good player who has and will continue to produce on the field for the Cowboys. Regardless, given Jones’ overbearing and unbending personality, the Cowboys are unlikely to make real progress until management and ownership change hands.
Dylan Bordonaro is a senior politics major. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.