Jerry Jones: Big Money, Big Stadium, Big Problems, Big Lawsuit

Orly Rios Jr.Analyst IIFebruary 12, 2011

Jerry Jones bought the Dallas Cowboys in 1989 for $140 million, today they are worth over $1.65 billion.
Jerry Jones bought the Dallas Cowboys in 1989 for $140 million, today they are worth over $1.65 billion.Brian Bahr/Getty Images

Jerry Jones is to the National Football League what George Steinbrenner was to Major League Baseball, the epitome of money and greed.

In 1989, Jerry Jones purchased the Dallas Cowboys for $140 million and set out to build a winner. He brought over head coach Jimmy Johnson from the University of Miami, who in turn churned out brilliant draft picks like QB Troy Aikman, RB Emmitt Smith, wide receivers Alvin Harper, Michael Irvin and Kevin Williams, linebacker Ken Norton Jr., cornerback Kevin Smith and defensive tackle Russell Maryland.

The draft picks helped the Dallas Cowboys become an elite football team again, winning three Super Bowls in four years.

With the titles, the Dallas Cowboys once again became prominent in the NFL, and the more Dallas won, the more Jones profited.

"Everything is bigger in Texas," the saying goes, and nowhere was this more evident than in what was taking place at Texas Stadium. The Cowboys, who built their dynasty through the draft, signed the biggest free agent on the market, lock-down and future Hall of Fame cornerback Deion Sanders.

Eventually, the lack of solid drafts, age and an accumulation of battle scars eventually caught up with the Cowboys, and by 2000, the Cowboys were no longer considered a contender.

After missing the playoffs just one time from 1991 to 1999, the Cowboys went three straight seasons without a playoff appearance.

Dallas was back in the playoffs briefly in 2003, led by quarterback Quincy Carter, but fell to the Carolina Panthers in the NFC Wild Card game.

Three years later, Tony Romo happened.

After quarterback Drew Bledsoe was benched during a game against the New York Giants, backup quarterback Tony Romo took over the reins of the Dallas Cowboys and still hasn't let go. Dallas rode Romo not only into the playoffs and division titles, but all the way to a brand new state-of-the-art stadium.

Believe it or not, at $1.3 billion, Cowboys Stadium was still cheaper than New Yankee Stadium ($1.5 billion).

As early as 1997, Jerry Jones was looking into either renovating Texas Stadium or building a brand new stadium. Jones envisioned a multipurpose stadium that could be used for concerts, boxing and wrestling matches, Final Four contests, bowl games and potentially a Super Bowl.

He's gotten everything he's wanted and more. Two Manny Pacquiao boxing title matches, the Cotton Bowl, an NBA All-Star game, concerts, Super Bowl XLV—and a lawsuit to go with it.

On Wednesday, some 1,000 fans who had valid tickets to Super Bowl XLV filed a lawsuit in federal court against Jerry Jones, the Dallas Cowboys and the NFL for breach of contract, fraud and deceptive sales practices.

Turns out that over 400 fans who bought Super Bowl XLV tickets were never even let into the stadium because the seats they were supposed to sit in were deemed unsafe and temporary seating was never completed in time.

Another 800 fans who were let into the game were not allowed to sit in the seats they paid for and were instead offered standing room only tickets, folding chairs or were given field level tickets which are like dugout seats directly behind the bench of the teams, meaning in some cases that they could not even see what was going on in the field of play.

Dallas Cowboy "Founders," nicknamed for helping fund the stadium through the purchase of seat licenses, who were originally offered to buy Super Bowl tickets at face value with great "sight lines" of the field, were instead offered metal fold out chairs that obstructed both the field and jumbo screens.

This is all thanks in part to your host, Jerry Jones. He wanted this. Not just a big NFL stadium, but one of the biggest stadiums in the United States. The jumbo screens alone cost about the same as signing Albert Pujols to your baseball team.

Super Bowl XLV has almost become an afterthought because of the stories that broke because of the disaster in Dallas.

Yes, the NFL has offered compensation packages for the 400 fans who were not allowed into the game, but the principal still stands, they paid for a service that was not rendered. They paid for travel and hotel, and above all, they paid for this game in particular, not next year's game or the following year, especially if their team isn't there. 

The ticket holders are seeking some $5 million in compensation, but under Texas law, the compensation can triple.

The NFL has at least come forward to try and right the wronged. They offered Super Bowl tickets to any Super Bowl along with paid hotel and airfare, and they even allowed those fans wronged to enter onto the field after the game.

Jerry Jones on the other hand, has done nothing so far.

Jones, who bought the Cowboys in 1989 for $140 million is the proud owner of the second most valuable franchise in sports today, worth over $1.65 billion. The Yankees are third on the list, according to Forbes.com.

The great philosopher Mohandas Ghandi once said, "There is a sufficiency for man's need but not for man's greed."

Jerry Jones wanted it all. The one stadium in the NFL that would become the envy of the American sports world. He got the Super Bowl he wanted, but not the way he wanted it.

How ironic was it that Jerry Jones' Dallas Cowboys fell flat this season and missed the playoffs in the one season they were expected to be the first team to host a Super Bowl in their own stadium? How ironic is it that the two of the biggest all-time Dallas Cowboys nemeses met up in Super Bowl XLV in Dallas?

The Green Bay Packers won the famed Ice Bowl, and if it were not for the Pittsburgh Steelers of the 1970s, the Cowboys might have been the team of the decade.

In the end, the greed of Jerry Jones cannot be ignored, and over 1,000 wronged season ticket holders are making sure of that.