The NFL’s Compensation Committee has told Cowboys owner Jerry Jones (once again) to abandon his effort to delay or derail the contract extension for Commissioner Roger Goodell. Jones clearly isn’t planning to do that.
In his latest appearance on 105.3 The Fan in Dallas, Jones made it clear that he’s not backing down, and he remains confident that his efforts will be successful.
“I think that ultimately we will influence what I want to influence,” Jones said.
So what does he hope to influence? Apparently, he’s hoping to influence the process of holding the Commissioner accountable, by expanding the pool of owners who have power over his pay from six to 32.
“[T]he bottom line is he’s very powerful and you want to influence the Commissioner,” Jones said. “There’s a big debate as to one of the biggest things a Commissioner does is resolve disputes. He resolves them between everybody. So there’s an argument that he should be autonomous from being accountable. That’s legitimate. . . . Well, the Commissioner covers the whole league, the business aspect of it, the basically discipline aspect of it, the rules, the officials. And, so, no one — no one — would like it if you had three or four owners that were paying the officials. No one would like that because it should be all the owners that pay the officials. But yet you want them to be independent. Well, all owners should be holding the Commissioner accountable in my view. That’s the gist of this thing.”
In other words, Jones doesn’t want Goodell to feel beholden to only a few owners. Goodell should be, in Jones’ opinion, beholden to all of them.
That’s not how it will ever work, with or without a Compensation Committee. In any group of 32 that moves in unison from time to time, some will have more influence than others. And the Commissioner will know which owners have that influence, and the Commissioner will (if smart) focus on keeping the influential owners happy.
The presence of a Compensation Committee simply makes it easier to spot the owners who hold the knife that butters the Commissioner’s bread. Taking away the Compensation Committee, however, won’t take away the dynamic of some owners having the ability to rally support for anything and everything relating to the Commissioner.
If that’s what Jones is hoping to do, it’s the first time he has clearly articulated it that way. Whether it’s a tactic for persuading undecided owners to see things his way or the first phase of an effort to stake our territory where he eventually may be able to declare victory remains to be seen.
Regardless, the issue isn’t over. And it apparently won’t be over, even after the Commissioner’s extension has been finalized. In many respects, the execution of the Commissioner’s contract may be not the end of the dispute but only the beginning.