Jerry Jones bought the Cowboys in 1989. Now, at age 74, he says he’s as sharp as ever.
“I have just got a lot more to offer today than I did 25 years ago,” Jones recently told Clarence E. Hill, Jr. of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “I’m not bragging. I am just saying it’s from sheer input. And I’m thankful I have got the health and thankful that I’ve got the enthusiasm. I should be better. Not only should I be better in the draft room, but I should be better in almost any aspect.”
Those other aspects include league-level issues for which Jones has received plenty of credit of late, from helping the Rams get to L.A. to helping the Raiders get to Las Vegas. The effort resulted in a recent ESPN item that told the story of the Raiders’ relocation to twice refer to Jones as the “shadow commissioner.”
Perhaps one of Jones’ best moves happened last month, as he found a way to tap the brakes on releasing Tony Romo just long enough to steer him out of football without damaging the relationship. Plenty of league insiders believe that the CBS decision to offer Romo the No. 1 analyst position resulted at a minimum from aggressive efforts by Jones to sing Romo’s praises as a budding broadcaster, in the hopes of cajoling CBS into making Romo an offer he couldn’t refuse. Which in turn kept him from playing for the Texans, Broncos, or anyone other than the Cowboys.
For Jones, a secret to remaining vital is avoiding any outward reminders that his body doesn’t match his state of mind.
“One of the things I don’t do is I don’t look in mirrors because I think I look like you do,” Jones told Hill. “I think I can do the same thing you can do out there. . . . What is amazing to me, I have never felt like I have worked a day in the last 28, 29 years. I’m not patronizing you guys, but I’m having fun right now.”
He should be. The team is doing well, the league is doing well, and Jones will start the 2017 season by getting a bronze bust in Canton. With three Super Bowl championships and the unprecedented growth of the NFL on his watch, Jones is operating on house money.
Still, the journey won’t be complete until he wins a championship with a team that he built, not with a team that was assembled and honed by Jimmy Johnson. Jones is closer than he’s ever been to achieving that goal, and 2017 could be the year in which it finally happens.