Jerry Jones: The Best Owner in Sports

Andy SimpsonAnalyst IJune 5, 2008

I could probably end this article with the title, because if you're a Cowboys fan, you probably agree and will continue reading. If you're anyone else, you'll stop reading, comment that I'm an idiot, and go back to reading about Kobe, KG, or Roger Clemens. So thanks for clicking before you go.

If you're still reading now, I'll try to explain my stance.  

For the duration of my life, I have figuratively lived and died with three professional sports franchises: the Texas Rangers, the Dallas Mavericks, and the Dallas Cowboys. Each of them has changed ownership at least once from the time I entered high school to today, so I have seen both good and bad owners from different teams.

The current owners of these teams are Tom Hicks, Mark Cuban, and Jerry Jones. I'm not going to bash someone, but Hicks has the worst track record of any of the three.  

Basically, it was almost too close to call on Cuban and Jones, but Jerry has done it for a longer time. Mark Cuban may end up being a better owner over the long haul. He grades out better in fan experience/appreciation, and he willed the Mavericks out of one of the ugliest periods in local sports history to become one of the premier franchises in the NBA.

However, Jerry simply has done it longer and has him beat in a few more categories.

Why is Jerry Jones the best owner in sports?

  1. Jerry will spend money. Outside of George Steinbrenner, Jerry Jones has no rival in the amount of money he will spend to put the best team on the field. Don't say that they have more money; every owner is filthy stinking rich. Carl Pohlad in Minnesota could spend just as much money, regardless of the market, but he chooses not to. The Cowboys just signed TO, Tony Romo, Marion Barber, Pacman Jones, Terrence Newman, and Leonard Davis, all within the last year, in an attempt to put the best team on the field.  As a Cowboy fan, I have never been cheated by Mr. Jones trying to save money.
  2. Jerry keeps his players. What players have left the Cowboys because they didn't get what they wanted? Ken Norton Jr. That seemed big at the time, but it wasn't. After the first Super Bowl season under Jerry, he locked up every important player, and the Cowboys lost virtually no one. This offseason, coming off a good year, and with the possibility of an uncapped season, Jones has locked up almost every important player the Cowboys have, with the exception of DeMarcus Ware and Ken Hamlin. Now the Cowboys can make a run at signing someone else's players that don't get the "respect" with their teams that those who work out a Valley Ranch do.
  3. Jerry will take chances. One of my favorite writers, Bill Simmons, always refers to the NBA as the "No Balls Association", which could apply to ownership/management in all sports. You could never label Jerry Jones this way. Deion Sanders. Terrell Owens. Mike Vanderjagt. Tank Johnson. Pacman Jones. Charles Haley. Every one of these players had issues coming with them to Dallas. Sanders and Haley won Super Bowls and were All-Pro. Owens is an All-Pro. Vanderjagt was a flop. Jones and Johnson can't be evaluated yet. So, if Jerry has only whiffed on one of these high-profile signings so far, then maybe he's not ballsy as much as he is smart.
  4. Jerry is a brilliant businessman. The Cowboys will play in a monstrous palace, that many around here are referring to as the "Boss Hogg Bowl", after next year, and it will be considered one of the top three venues in all of sports I'm sure. Jerry has cut deals with shoe companies, soft drink companies, and anyone else to better the Cowboys. He does just about anything he can to grow the Dallas Cowboys.
  5. Jerry is a maverick. Jerry is a leader on the competition committee and has various other leadership roles in the NFL, but unlike many owners, Jerry is fiercely loyal to the Dallas Cowboys. Whether in business, ownership meetings, or public forums, Jerry promotes, defends, and manages every aspect of the Cowboys for the best of the organization.

I want to mention a few others that I think are at least in the same class though. Bob Kraft (Patriots), George Steinbrenner (Yankees), Mark Cuban (Mavericks), and John Henry (Red Sox). I know they are all large-market teams, but as I said before, all of these owners are rich, so they have no excuse not to spend money. The owners that are in this to make a buck are the ones who don't consistently put a good product out there for their fans.

Jerry Jones is not a "perfect owner". He can be criticized for ignoring character (which I think is baloney, and I may write my next article on that). He can be criticized for high-dollar seat licenses at the new stadium. He can be criticized for hanging other owners out to dry (true), but there is no other owner that I would ever trust out there (maybe Cuban) to consistently give my team everything it needs to win. Jerry Jones is the best owner in sports.