Previously, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has kept his position regarding the video board at his team’s new stadium simple.
It’s just fine where it is.
Jones addressed the situation in more detail during a radio appearance on KRLD in Dallas, via our friends at sportsradiointerviews.com.
To the extent that some think Jones has been digging in his heels solely for the free P.R., it sure sounds like he has spent time coming up with arguments in support of the notion that kickers should have to deal with the conditions.
It’s also clear that Jones thinks that Titans punter A.J. Trapasso hit the board on purpose, and that in a “real” game punters won’t aim for the oversized bank of televisions.
“Well, first of all, in a competitive situation, it’s a little bit like a Home Run Derby in baseball,” Jones said. “For the All Star Game you have players get up and hit the ball for home runs. And they don’t swing like that in regular competition. If they did, they’d strike out probably most of the time. . . . So you’ve got to put this in a competitive situation. And we’ve spent tons and tons of time, lot of time, and lots of research in to where and how balls go. And I think the key is that in a competitive situation, we’re gonna be fine.”
Of course, “we’re gonna be fine” doesn’t mean that it will never be an issue.
“I’m not saying the ball won’t hit sometimes up there, but it should be fine,” Jones said.
In other words, “it should be fine” means “deal with it.”
Jones also compared the overall situation to conditions that kickers encounter in other stadiums, and he seemed to take the position that kickers need to be flexible.
“[K]ickers have to deal with rain, sleet, snow, wind,” Jones said. “When they’re kicking in the wind, they have to drive the ball lower. And of course if you’re on a baseball field that has baseball played on it as well, you go from dirt to grass like we did out in Oakland. So it’s no new deal for kickers to adjust to the conditions that they play in. Also is the fact that we’ve got generally speaking a great place to kick the ball.”
Jones shrugged off the notion that the presence of the board creates a competitive disadvantage by pointing out that the condition is something both teams have to deal with.
But what if the Cowboys have a low-ball punter and they’re playing a team with a guy that kicks it high? In that case, it’s an actual competitive disadvantage.
To no surprise, Jones believes that the “do over” rule should stand, and that the league shouldn’t move quickly to impose a different rule.
“[Y]ou don’t want to knee jerk too fast about what to do, if you do anything at all,” Jones said. “You want to make sure everybody understands the ground rules, so to speak. And there’s so many things that rules do — and they’re thought out that way. You might be interested to know that it’s been advanced before that we take face masks off helmets. And that way you would reduce neck injuries because you wouldn’t stick your head in there as much. . . . So, [there are a] lot of things that go in to rule making.”
We agree that, generally, rule making is a complex process. And, as we understand it, the league (via the Competition Committee) will give the issue full consideration. But Jones might be the only person connected to the league who doesn’t realize that it’s simply not acceptable for football to be played under circumstances where the game could be interrupted by the ball striking a large stationary structure that already has been struck 1.0 times for each game played there.
That said, we understand that Jones wants Cowboys Stadium to function in the manner that it was envisioned. For that much money, we would, too. But at a time when the league has been obsessed with protecting the integrity of the sport by attacking efforts to legalize single-game betting in Delaware, the league needs to have no tolerance whatsoever for a condition that will, if not changed, at some point affect the outcome of a game.