Dallas Cowboys team owner and president Jerry Jones answers questions during a press conference in Dallas, Texas on February 1, 2011, one of the events leading up to Super Bowl XLV. The Pittsburgh Steelers will take on the Green Bay Packers on February 6, 2011. UPI/Ian Halperin
Jerry Jones is right where he has always wanted to be: In the center of the universe.
The whole world has turned its attention to the Dallas/Fort Worth area, and more particularly to Arlington and the the shiny new home of the Dallas Cowboys.
That new home has not been particularly kind to the Cowboys. In their first two seasons there, they have forged a forgettable 8–8 record. This year was particularly bad. The Cowboys were only 2–6 at home in 2010.
For Jerry, the stadium story is quite different. The place that will likely be remembered as the crowning achievement of his life has afforded Jones that for which he so obviously thirsts: Notoriety, acclaim, attention.
While Cowboys’ fans suffer miserably over two of their archenemies vying for another Lombardi trophy in their own backyard, Jones is all smiles. The Cowboys’ owner and general manager has no problem celebrating a Packers–Steelers Super Bowl in Cowboys Stadium, even if those two teams are among the most reviled by longtime Cowboys’ fans.
They are reviled for good reason, too. In the 1960s, the Packers beat the Cowboys in two consecutive NFL championship games, keeping Dallas out of the first two Super Bowls. In the ’70s, the Steelers beat the Cowboys twice in the Super Bowl, claiming for themselves the acclaim as “the team of the decade.”
The Packers and Steelers, for Cowboy loyalists in their mid–40s or older, represent bitter disappointment and heartbreak. But not Jones, who has only been associated with the team for 22 years.
Jones said, “I’m not mad at the Pittsburgh Steelers. We beat them in the Super bowl (referring to Super Bowl XXX, which the Cowboys won, 27–17). Roger Staubach is madder about it than I am, and rightfully so.”
In other words, Jones has no appreciation for the team’s history and no empathy for the fans who lived it. Jones could not care less if the Steelers are a tough pill for other people to swallow. They represent nothing more than a great Super Bowl match-up and an opportunity for Jerry to shine more brightly than ever.
As for the Packers, Jerry shrugged and said, “Why not? They haven’t been here in 15 years.”
Out there somewhere in that throng of beaten down Cowboys fans, I think I see an anonymous fan raise his hand:
“Um, Mr. Jones? Your team—our team— has only won one playoff game in 15 years.
“And what have you done about it? What have you done to put the Cowboys back into the mix, back into the conversation as a serious Super Bowl contender? You did what any man after P.T. Barnum’s heart would do: You created a billion-dollar diversion.
“Distract the world’s attention from the under-achievement of the team you thought had a real chance to be something special in 2010. Right, Jerry?”
On a local radio sports talk show the other day, the hosts were debating which of Jones’s achievements would mean the most to him. They settled on two possibilities: Winning that first Super Bowl or hosting Super Bowl XLV. One said it had to be the Super Bowl win, because of Jerry’s competitive nature; the other argued for hosting the Super Bowl in his own stadium.
There is no way to know for sure, because, if you ask Jerry point-blank, he is going to tell you what he wants you to believe. Then, you have to determine if it is the truth or not. I suppose you could get him drunk. That has been a pretty good ploy in the past for getting Jerry to say what he really thinks.
I believe this is it. Super Bowl XLV is Jerry Jones’ one shining moment. This time, he doesn’t have to share the glory with Jimmy Johnson, Barry Switzer or any other coach. He doesn’t have to share the glory with Troy Aikman or Emmitt Smith. He doesn’t have to share the glory with anyone.
Heck, one of the most popular names for Cowboys Stadium is “Jerry World.” He gets full credit, and he deserves it.
Meanwhile, the fans he claims to cherish get a royal kick in the posterior. The poor slobs whose disposable incomes helped to make Jerry a billionaire—and whose taxes paid a sizable chunk of the construction of Jones Mahal— will just have to wait until building a winning team is the best way for him to once again feed his insatiable ego.
Right now, he doesn’t need a winning team to be the man. But when the ESPN boys thaw out, roll up their canvas walls and head back to Connecticut; when the circus leaves town and take their cameras with them; when the lights go out and the world once more goes about its business…
Then, the Cowboys will get Jerry Jones’ full attention.
I will let you decide for yourself whether you think that is a good thing or not.