I live in Indy, which recently enabled me to shake hands with Troy Aikman at a fine dining restaurant the weekend of the Cowboy-Colt game. My stepdaughter works at this restaurant and, in fact, called me when she confirmed Troy was in the building. This facility also has about 6 hotel rooms, one of them the penthouse which comprises of - a living room/dining room 2 bedrooms and a balcony with a hot tub looking over a busy downtown street. Shaq called it his favorite place to stay on the road, as they have 9' showers.
Jerry and Stephen Jones always stay there during the Combine. And park their ginormous Cowboy RV in front of the building all during the week it's going on.
The last 2 years, I have been traveling on business, but the prior few I've met my college frat brother, Marty Hurney, GM for the Panthers for drinks and bumped into the Texans Exec entourage the year they had the #1 pick and utimatley selected Mario Williams. They actually talked to me in a Hooters about Reggie Bush. It's well known around town Peter King and a bunch of sportswriters convene at Julian's, a local watering hole on FRI nite. Etc. Etc.
The point of all this - the last 2 years, my daughter has seen Stephen Jones, sitting at the bar of the hotel/restaurant eating dinner alone, at some point during the Combine. She told him last year, her step-dad had a number of things I wished to discuss as a die-hard Cowboy fan and he laughed. With our, 'There's a Cowboy in the house' early warning system already up and working, I believe there's a significant window of opportunity. And being the generous, inclusive person I consider myself to be, I think we ought to collaberate accordingly. All of us are smarter than 1 of us. Or at least me.
So here goes. Assume you have 15 minutes of quality alone time at a bar in a busy, but not crowded restaurant. You are seated, if not immediately next to, than within comfortable talking distance of Stephen Jones. Assume a few, not too many beverages have/are being consumed. Three questions, with a chance for related follow-up/discussion. Go. What would you say?
I actually like the fact that it's Stephen and not Jerry, although if JJ walked in near the end, that would be icing on the cake. Here's my take:
1) Why have the Cowboys done a poor job of addressing positions before they become a major problem - as in OL, Safety and and to a lesser extent ILB/DE?
2) On a scale of 1-10, where would you rate your influence in the Executive hierarchy? when do you see JJ/Dad moving aside and taking a less prominent role? would you hire a 'Football' GM?
3) What is the organization's biggest deficiency - talent evaluation? marketing at the expense of football operations? And what can you do to address it in the short and long term?
As you can see, I've deliberately stayed away from the silly or provocative in order to make this worthwhile, and keep Stephen in his seat. So I am skipping the obvious:
- when exactly did your Dad lose his mind?
- can you sedate or keep JJ away from the war room on this draft day? just this once
- are their openings for cheerleader talent evaluations?
If this gets some traction, I would pick the Top 5 or so around TUE, then post a Poll to pick the Final 3, closing the voting on FRI Noon EST. I will reserve some editorial oversight for input.
Have at it!