Jerry Jones Spares No Expense As The Owner Of “America’s Team”

Football | 12/19/19

Jerry Jones bought the Dallas Cowboys on February 25, 1989, for the sum of $140 million. Today, the NFL club nicknamed “America’s Team” is worth an estimated $5.5 billion. Once he took charge, Jones installed himself as the team’s general manager and began to tear apart the foundation that was built before his arrival. Fans were left outraged but saw their anger turn to bliss as the Cowboys won three Super Bowls in the next decade. This is everything you need to know about one of the most polarizing owners in NFL history!

Fans Wanted Him Removed In 2012

jerry jones cowboys
Digital First Media Group/Contra Costa Times via Getty Images
Digital First Media Group/Contra Costa Times via Getty Images

In 2012, coming off of an 8-8 season, Dallas Cowboys fans decided they had seen enough of Jerry Jones. A group of the angriest even fans created a petition online to force his removal. The petition was published on change.org and received hundreds of signatures.

Much to the chagrin of fans, the petition went nowhere and Jerry Jones remained in control of the Dallas Cowboys. The team finished 8-8 that year and then went 8-8 again in 2013.

Jones Almost Bought The Chargers

san diego chargers in 1966
James Flores/Getty Images
James Flores/Getty Images

Jerry Jones was full of ambition and fresh out of school in 1966 when he decided he wanted to buy the San Diego Chargers. At the time, Jones didn’t have any money but wasn’t going to let that stop him.

The young man agreed to a deal worth $5.8 million. All he needed was $50,000 to keep an exclusive negotiating window for 90 days. His father refused to loan him the money and the sale fell through. Today Jones says, “Really you were dealing with aspiration. I wanted to be involved in sports.”

“Least Favorite Sports Personality” Of 2003

jerry jones on the sidelines
Sporting News via Getty Images
Sporting News via Getty Images

The year 2012 wasn’t the only bad one for Jerry Jones. A poll conducted by Sports Illustrated in 2003 saw him voted as the “Least Favorite Sports Personality.” Text next to his picture in the publication read:

“Over a decade later, Jones hasn’t missed a beat – continuing to promote ‘America’s Team’ to the media and making many splashy personnel decisions without much success to show for it.” Surprisingly, Dallas went 10-6 that season and lost in the Wild Card round of the playoffs to the Carolina Panthers.

He Fired A Head Coach After Winning A Super Bowl

jimmy johnson and jerry jones
Focus on Sport/Getty Images
Focus on Sport/Getty Images

Jimmy Johnson had led the Dallas Cowboys to back-to-back Super Bowl championships and was on his way to the Hall of Fame when Jerry Jones fired him. During his final season in Dallas, the coach began to feud with Jones over personnel power.

After winning the Super Bowl victory, Jerry Jones famously said that any head coach could have won the Super Bowl with the roster he built. To this day, Jones refuses to placed Johnson in the Cowboys’ Ring Of Honor, claiming, “I couldn’t handle the disloyalty.” Johnson never made it to the Hall of Fame either.

Jones Made His Son Apply To Wendy’s

stephen jones staring away from the sun
Elsa/Getty Images
Elsa/Getty Images

These days, Stephen Jones is best known not only as Jerry Jones’ son but also as the Executive Vice President of the Dallas Cowboys. Growing up, however, he almost blew his chance at carrying on the family legacy.

In high school, Stephen Jones was throwing a house party in the middle of the day, instead of training, when Jerry showed up. To teach his son responsibility, Jones had Stephen apply for a job at Wendy’s. Stephen was hired on the spot, but never actually clocked in for a shift after his dad decided to give him a second chance.

His First Move As Owner Was A Big One

tom landry on the cowboys sideline
Focus on Sport/Getty Images
Focus on Sport/Getty Images

When Jerry Jones took over as the owner and de-facto general manager of the Dallas Cowboys, his first big decision did not go over well with fans. The team’s head coach at the time was Tom Landry.

Jones didn’t want Landry in charge, though, and fired him the first time they met. Landry had been the top man for 29 years and had won two Super Bowls. To replace Landry, Jones hired Jimmy Johnson, a move that proved both lucrative and contentious.

Jones Doesn’t Mesh With Many Coaches

jerry jones and bill parcells
PAUL BUCK/AFP via Getty Images
PAUL BUCK/AFP via Getty Images

Five years into his ownership of the Cowboys, Jerry Jones got into a feud with his head coach. The tension between him and Jimmy Johnson proved too great to get over. Fast forward to today and Jones has earned a reputation as one of the harder owners in the league to work with.

Since Johnson was fired, only one head coach has lasted more than four years working with Jones. That coach is Jason Garrett, who has been the main man in Dallas for nine seasons, and is widely regarded by NFL analysts as a “yes-man.”

Football Makes Him Cry

championship game from 1995
Focus on Sport/Getty Images
Focus on Sport/Getty Images

While we may have never seen it captured on video, Jerry Jones claims that he cried after the Cowboys lost to the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship Game in 1995. When asked why almost a decade later, he responded, “I knew we had the better team.”

The 49ers would go on to win the Super Bowl, beating the San Diego Chargers 49-26. If the Cowboys had played the game instead, we can only guess they would have won too, taking Jones’ comments into consideration.

He Has A Good Relationships With NFL Referees

nfl former head of officiating Dean Blandino
Rob Carr/Getty Images
Rob Carr/Getty Images

Any sports fan for any team in any league will tell you that refs rig games. Being dubbed “America’s Team” has meant that NFL fans see that advantage for the Cowboys by the refs. This conspiracy proved almost too real in 2014.

The NFL head of officiating that year, Dean Blandino, was allegedly caught on a party bus owned by Jerry Jones. Then, during a playoff game, after a critical third-down play for the Detroit Lions, the refs pulled back an obvious pass interference flag against Dallas that would have resulted in a first down.

Jones’ Cowboys Haven’t Found Success Since 1996

jerry jones looking sad
Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images
Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images

On January 28, 1996, the Dallas Cowboys won their fifth Super Bowl in franchise history. Since then the team has only won four playoff games and has been a verifiable coaching carousal. The lack of success has left plenty wondering if maybe the title of “America’s Team” should belong to another franchise.

Which team could we be referencing? The New England Patriots have won six Super Bowls since 2001, making them a top contender. We doubt Jerry Jones would ever willingly hand it to them, though.

Prescott Vs. Romo May Have Been Jones’ Idea

tony romo and dak prescott
Mitchell Leff/Getty Images
Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

When Dak Prescott was a rookie QB, he was forced into the Dallas Cowboys starting lineup after Tony Romo got injured. A few weeks into the season, Prescott was playing so well that Jones embraced a QB battle.

The owner said players needed to feel the pressure. As Romo was nearing his return, the pressure must have been too much and he made the decision to bench himself because Prescott was playing so well. Prescott has been the starter ever since.

A Bold Prediction Backfired On Jones In 2013

jerry jones 2013
Rick Diamond/Getty Images for Essential Broadcast Media
Rick Diamond/Getty Images for Essential Broadcast Media

Coming off a second straight 8-8 season in 2012, Jerry Jones made a bold prediction. He proclaimed that 2013 would be the Cowboys’ year and that the team would win the Super Bowl. They did not.

Dallas finished 2013 with another 8-8 record and watched the Seattle Seahawks fly into the Super Bowl. Seattle beat the Denver Broncos 43-8, a score we’re sure Jones would have loved to see the Cowboys on the winning side of. Jones has stayed away from bold predictions since.

He’s Not Immune To NFL Punishment

jerry jones speaking at the podium
James D. Smith /Icon SMI/Icon Sport Media via Getty Images
James D. Smith /Icon SMI/Icon Sport Media via Getty Images

Jerry Jones might seem too powerful to be punished by the NFL, but that’s not true. In 2008 the league fined him for criticizing the officiating during a game. The strange thing about this game was it had nothing to do with the Cowboys.

Jones was critical of the refs after a game between the San Diego Chargers and Denver Broncos. The fine set Jones back $25,000, which must have felt like barely a slap on the wrist considering his massive net worth.

“Capgate” Cost Jones $10 Million

not happy jerry jones
Thomas B. Shea/Icon SMI/Icon Sport Media via Getty Images
im Cowsert/Icon SMI/Corbis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

In 2010, the NFL was on the brink of a lockout with players as a new CBA was being negotiated. As a result, the league spent one season without a salary cap. The sly businessman he’s always been, Jerry Jones spent as much money as he could.

Jones front-loaded several contracts, outbidding other teams for players while preparing to stay under the expected cap the next year. The league didn’t approve of this play by Jones and fined him $10 million against the upcoming salary cap.

He Was A Troublesome Child

jerry jones press conference
Bettmann/Getty Images
Bettmann/Getty Images

Like father like son. We already told you a story about Stephen Jones being trouble as a kid, but Jerry Jones wasn’t exactly an angel himself. While in grade school, a young Jones supposedly convinced his classmates to pull a pretty gross prank.

They spread fudge around the school, making sure it looked like… something else. The school figured out Jones was the brains behind the operation and made sure to tell his dad. According to Jerry, his father did not take it well.

One Of His First Trades Proved To Be One Of His Best

emmitt smith standing with jerry jones during his hall of fame induction
Daniel Gluskoter/Icon SMI/Corbis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
Daniel Gluskoter/Icon SMI/Corbis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

As if firing Tom Landry wasn’t enough to anger fans nationwide, Jerry Jones did himself zero favors when he also traded Herschel Walker. On the outside, it looked like Jones was tearing down everything that had previously made Cowboys great.

In reality, Jones knew exactly what he was doing. In return for Walker, he got Emmitt Smith, Darren Woodson, and Russell Maryland. Smith and Woodson would go on to be key cogs in the Cowboys’ three Super Bowl Championships that would follow.

He’ll Pay For Wins

jerry jones hall of fame ring
Tom Pennington/Getty Images
Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Jerry Jones’ drive to win is unstoppable. When he doesn’t win the old fashioned way, he’s never been above paying for it. In the NFL that means spending big bucks on talented free agents.

In life, that means something else entirely. As a young man, Jones was once out at the carnival with friends. All his male friends won teddy bears for their girlfriends. Jones failed to win a bear for his date, so he bought one instead. How romantic.

Respect Your Elders

shy anderson giving a speech
Doug Benc/Getty Images for AFL
Doug Benc/Getty Images for AFL

During a nationally televised Cowboys’ game in 2012, Jerry Jones was shown in the booth handing his glasses to his son-in-law for a quick cleaning. The clip went viral, with some chastising Jones for treating his family so poorly, while others chastised his son-in-law (pictured) for being so “obedient.”

More than anything, this moment shows how Jones is looked at in the public eye. Every move he makes is watched, and every decision is analyzed, by the media and fans.

Sue Jerry And He’ll Sue You Right Back

jerry jones smiling
Stacy Revere/Getty Images
Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Jerry Jones really got under the skin of other NFL executives when he began signing “stadium deals” instead of “team deals” with major brands like Pepsi. His rivals believed his deals were unethical and sued him for $300 million.

The lawsuit must not have made Jones very happy, because he turned around and sued his rival executives right back — to the tune of $750 million. Eventually, both sides settled, proving that it’s not wise to mess with Jerry Jones.

His Birthday Is Lucky For Kickers

dan bailey cowboys kicker
Tom Pennington/Getty Images
Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Jerry Jones’birthday is October 13, meaning it falls during the NFL season. When the 13th falls on a Sunday, Jones gets to watch the Cowboys play in his honor. And if you couldn’t guess from the headline, kickers always put on the best show!

Of the five games that have been played on Jones’ birthday, Cowboys’ kickers are perfect on field goals. Opposing kickers haven’t been as lucky, missing twice. It’s good to be friends with Jerry on his birthday!