When Jerry Jones purchased the Cowboys in 1989, he installed himself as the team’s G.M. The move, coming years before the Internet and at a time when sports talk radio hadn’t become anything close to what it now is, generated not much criticism or buzz. Besides, the abrupt firing of the only coach in franchise history — Tom Landry — and the hiring of former University of Miami coach Jimmy Johnson consumed most of the focus in the wake of the transaction.
Today, no new owner would be able to get away with making himself the team’s G.M. absent any actual NFL experience. Thus, the last of the owners with the ability to pull off the dual-role G.M. gig will be Jerry Jones of the Cowboys.
And Jones doesn’t plan to yield his duties any time soon.
“When I bought the team I said that there’s no way I could make the kind of commitment that I’m making to buy the team . . . and not have the final say relative to the kinds of things that general managers decide,” Jones told KTCK-AM, via John Machota of the Dallas Morning News. “So, I don’t see that at all. What I do see is a better straight line way of making decisions and that has born out over the years. Now we need to win a Super Bowl.”
As Jones approaches his 70th birthday, he also doesn’t see himself retiring. “Well, when you enjoy what you’re doing as much as I do then what are you retiring from?” Jones said. “I understand and I’ve done that. I’ve had that briefcase in my particular case and made calls 17 hours a day. I would probably stop that at some point to do something that I enjoyed more. But as far as running the Cowboys, being involved in the NFL, being involved in sports, I don’t know what I would do relative to what you’d be doing that I enjoy more than what I’m doing. So I don’t see retiring from that.”
Some Cowboys fans surely fear that Jones will never retire, holding power even if/when his health declines. It’s a valid concern, and Jones would be serving the franchise well if he puts a mechanism in place now to ensure that some future version of himself won’t harm the interests of the team by refusing to step aside when the right time to do so arrives.