Mike Sielski of the Philadelphia Inquirer opined that Jerry Jones should thank the rabid, unrivaled, Eagles fans for him becoming the 307th member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame:
“If it seemed strange and premature for Jones to be inducted into the Hall —he isn’t going anywhere, and the Cowboys have reached the playoffs just nine times since last winning the Super Bowl 21 years ago — his inclusion in this year’s class was now perfectly understandable. The disdain, the abject loathing that many Eagles fans surely feel for having a column about Jerry Jones inflicted upon them in a Philadelphia newspaper and on a Philadelphia-based website goes a long way to explaining it.
How did Jerry Jones get into the Hall of Fame? We put him there.”
It’s an interesting take and there is probably some truth in it. The Cowboys are front and center every single season in terms of viewership. The Vikings-Cowboys clash on Thursday Night Football back in December was the highest rating TNF had ever received. The Packers-Cowboys showdown in the Divisional round was the most-watched Wildcard or Divisional game…ever. Sielski goes on to list an example for Eagles fans:
“Of the Eagles’ last four games at AT&T Stadium, three have been on NBC’s Sunday Night Football, and one was on Thanksgiving.”
The Cowboys will enjoy five primetime games in 2017 as well with one against the Eagles on SNF before Thanksgiving. However, Jerry Jones doesn’t need to thank the Eagles’ fans for being avid watchers making him a Hall of Famer. In trying to explain Jerry’s great honor, Sielski throws a few backhanded compliments too:
“After purchasing the Dallas Cowboys in 1989, the moderator of the call said, Jones became “the first owner to win three Super Bowls in his first seven years of ownership,” which made it sound as if Jones had a whole lot more to do with those championships than Jimmy Johnson, Emmitt Smith, Troy Aikman, and Michael Irvin did. But again, that was just the football stuff, and they dispensed with it soon enough.”
Quickly, the Jones-Johnson stuff is way overplayed in 2017. The moderator was simply stating facts that he is “the first owner to win three Super Bowls in his first seven years of ownership.”
Also, Johnson was a fantastic coach and evaluator of the talent that he brought in during those years. But, why can’t Jimmy get his credit without throwing some to Jerry? Without Jerry, they don’t likely get the Walker trade completed, they don’t end Emmitt’s holdout, and sure as heck don’t get Deion Sanders signed. Jerry will never be the football mind that Jimmy was known to be but there is no better negotiator than Jerral Wayne Jones. It took both men to reach the incredible dynastic success they became.
“His leadership in areas of sports marketing and promotion,” the moderator said in introducing Jones, “have not only impacted the Cowboys but have influenced the landscape of the entire National Football League and American sports culture.”
This quote was all that Sielski really needed to show why Jerry Jones has earned his spot in the hall. In fact, Sielski does actually mention Jerry’s helping hand in where the NFL is today but he still misses the significance of that ‘helping hand’. Jerry Jones is the ‘hand’ that made so much possible and the reason that so many owners are richer than they ever imagined. Just ask the Rams and Raiders about their deals in Los Angeles and Las Vegas.
It was Jerry that practically took over the TV rights negotiations by spearheading a small group of owners in the 90’s. Jerry positioned himself atop the broadcasting committee and refused to give in to these large cable networks that were losing millions. By convincing Rupert Murdoch to outbid CBS, Jones was able to net the NFL $1 billion. Jones has been instrumental in every network negotiation since.
“Pre-Jones in 1987, the league signed a three-year deal with the networks for a total of about $1.4 billion. Post-Jones in 1994, the NFL's network deals for four seasons were valued at $4.4 billion. This season alone, the league will rake in an estimated $7 billion from its network partners.”
Jones was also sued by the NFL for showing owners how to create independent marketing agreements. He won, of course, and that’s precisely why the league has Budweiser but the Cowboys have Miller. It’s also why the Cowboys are still the only NFL team that markets their own apparel.
Jerry Jones shouldn’t thank other NFL team’s fans for his marketing successes that have led him to the Hall of Fame. He doesn’t owe the Eagles’ fans gratitude for any of that. It’s not Jones’ fault that the enemies of “America’s Team” (a moniker thrust upon Dallas by a Philadelphian at NFL Films) are obsessed with every Cowboys-centric headline available.
The enemy’s constant attention to the Dallas Cowboys was forged long before he was the owner. That can be said for all the majorly successful NFL teams over the years. You see it with the Patriots, Packers, Steelers, 49ers, and more recently with the Seahawks too. Sure, Sielski is right when he mentions the Cowboys’ lack of success in the past two decades. Still, it doesn’t matter how long it’s been since they’ve won their rings, Jerry has three and that will never be untrue.
With Hall of Fame voters, they often say that you have to be unable to tell the story of the NFL without them. In the simplest term of NFL contributor, he’s contributed so much to this game that everyone is benefiting from. You definitely can’t tell the story of the NFL without his involvement and accomplishments. Jones’ marketing instincts, forward-thinking, and competitive drive were not built from any efforts of rival franchises fans or their reporters.
Jerry Jones “wildcatted” his way into buying the team and from there, his visionary prowess vaulted him to tremendous success. It will all culminate when he properly takes his place among the immortal legends of this game next month.