Jerry Jones defends his ongoing role as G.M. of the Cowboys

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When Jerry Jones bought the Cowboys, he made himself the General Manager. More than 30 years later, he still is.

So why does he still fill that role?

“I’ve always thought that when you cut out the person between the decision-maker and the people doing the recommending, then you can make quicker, more succinct and more responsive decisions,” Jones said Tuesday on 105.3 The Fan in Dallas. “The very first press conference I was ever involved in I explained to everybody how I was going to run the Dallas Cowboys since I owned them. The very first one. I said that I would be involved in everything from this to socks and jocks, and I’m not trying to be cute. There has never been any doubt in anybody’s mind how I run the Dallas Cowboys and how I ran the Cowboys from the day I got here.

“Nobody can exchange a player, nobody can do anything unless I have approved it tacitly or otherwise. Nobody can have the authority to make a trade or a change or deal a draft pick since I owned the Cowboys, unless I approve it. Within the organization some people like a coach or some people like a player personnel director or some people like a marketing manager, they may have decision-making authority above people below them, but as far as having any authority to do that above them as it pertains to me, that has never been the case with the Dallas Cowboys. Never. . . . Nobody never has had the final say but me. Now, you really know I don’t like to say that. But that’s a fact. And, so, when we don’t do good, we all know who the ultimate total responsibility is.”

But that’s the way it is with every NFL team. The owner has the ultimate authority to make decisions, and even when the owner has technically delegated that authority to others, it’s always smart to make sure the owner is on board with whatever decision are being made.

Jones characterizes his role as being the one who decides what to do after everyone else has their input, especially if they aren’t on the same page.

“Since day one, we have made decisions on a contributing basis from key people,” Jones said. “Ultimately that’s called input and ultimately somebody has to break ties if somebody disagrees. Somebody has to do it. That’s my job. And, so, the question was why do I think it’s the best one, since I got to make it anyway? And since it is ultimately mine, then why have several people in between? You know, the turnover we have had with coaches throughout the NFL, not just the Cowboys, but throughout the NFL, you’ve had the same turnover in General Managers. Just as often as you’ve traded coaches you’ve traded General Managers. And sometimes you don’t have the same General Manager that brought the coach in. But he probably never brought him in anyway. It was the owner that brought him in. This is pro football, not college. And pro football, the guy that ultimately has the responsibility for paying the bills makes the decision.”

Jerry’s life arguably would have been a lot easier over the last three years if he’d simply hired a General Manager, had a key role in making decisions, and from time to time made the G.M. accountable for the team’s failures. To his credit, he has opted not to have someone in the building who can be thrown under the bus.

Still, this means that Jerry the G.M. will never be fired by Jerry the owner, even if/when maybe he should be. Seven years ago, Jones acknowledged that he indeed would have fired himself by now, if the owner and G.M. weren’t the same person.

75 responses to “Jerry Jones defends his ongoing role as G.M. of the Cowboys

  1. One might ask Jerry Jones what does he think about two Hall of Fame coaches (JJ and Tuna) leaving and a future third Hall of Fame coach (Payton) getting away from Dallas to be made a head coach elsewhere. I highly doubt you’ll find another GM who lost 3 HOF head coaches.

  2. Jerry, as an Eagles fan, I think you’re the right person for the job at the right time! LOL.
    So in other words, he’s ultimately responsible for all the drug addicts, alcoholics and abusers that have spent time with his club. I think what Jimmy Johnson meant to say was decades ago was “Who owns dem Cowboys”!

  3. “Nobody can exchange a player, nobody can do anything unless I have approved it tacitly or otherwise. Nobody can have the authority to make a trade or a change or deal a draft pick since I owned the Cowboys, unless I approve it.”
    +++++++++++++++++++++++

    No one questions your authority Jerry, the question is why continue down a path that has not borne fruit for over 25 years. Its time to move in a new direction at general manager. The owner needs to do that and you seem to have misplaced your owner hat.

  4. ‘It won’t be long before that role passes to one of his sons’.

    He’s only 77. Plenty of owners live well into their 90s. He’s a lifer. Sorry, Cowboy fans.

  5. Can we please stop with the Jerry as GM thing??!!!! Clearly, Will McClay is the GM. Jerry just keeps the title for his ego. You think its a coincidence that the drafting has been great, with an emphasis on Power 5 players, since McClay has joined? Come on, kill this story!

  6. 8oneanddones says:
    December 10, 2019 at 4:43 pm
    ‘It won’t be long before that role passes to one of his sons’.

    He’s only 77. Plenty of owners live well into their 90s. He’s a lifer. Sorry, Cowboy fans.
    ===============================

    Not to mention that he does not AT ALL seem like the kind of guy who will cede this power gracefully. He absolutely on the other hand seems like the type that will still be drafting himself until the day he dies.

  7. Jerry gives this same speech every 10 years or so in hopes it will fool everyone,
    when the only one he’s fooling is himself.

  8. THe problem is less that he is the GM as it is that he won’t shut up and in doing so undermines his coaching staff. No comment and Jerry Jones will never be seen in the same sentence. If he fires Garrett and hires another puppet nothing will change.

  9. Teams win through a combination of having the right people who excel at their jobs in the right place. One person wearing too many hats is the total opposite of that abs out can’t work in competitive team sports. Jerry’s ownership hatis either too small or his GM hat is too big but his ego will never allow him to see this.

  10. He has run them as he sees fit, and the results have been mediocre. His record as GM is barely over .500, even Garrett’s win/loss record as head coach has a higher win/loss percentage than Jerry’s GM record. The Cowboys are no longer America’s team and have become a franchise that is easy to make jokes about.

    I think the biggest challenge in all this is Jerry still believes he is the best man for the job, despite the results. Any other GM would have been replaced long ago (unless you work as GM of the Washington team).

  11. Teams win through a combination of having the right people who excel at their jobs in the right place. One person wearing too many hats is the total opposite of that and it won’t work successfully in competitive team sports. Jerry’s ownership hat is either too small or his GM hat is too big but his ego will never allow him to see this.

  12. Great leaders are great delegators. While I acknowledge that Jerry takes on full accountability, his “nobody can do anything unless I have approved it” comes off as overly controlling and pompous. His favorite song has to be “Nobody does it better…”

  13. Throughout all his comments in this article the unspoken message was, it wasn’t Jimmy. He had to get my approval for everything he did. He never mentioned his name but it was so transparent. IF what he says is true and ultimately he made all the decisions then why has he not has similar success without Jimmy? Or really no success as a practical matter other than increasing the $$$ value of the franchise? He is a carnival barker albeit a very good one…

  14. This is why he couldn’t keep quality coaches like Johnson & Parcells and that’s why Urban Meyer will never work for him.
    Meyer may show some interest in the job now, but when it’s spelled out to him that all he’ll be responsible for is to just coach, he won’s have any more interest.

  15. He built a good roster as GM. The problem is allowing a poor coaching staff to remain in place that is not able to inspire and get the best out of that roster.

  16. Jerry, listening to you is about as intriguing as watching Peyton Manning think he is in a band, can sing,knows music, and mayor of some stupid miniature village. Your both out of sink with world. Peyton would make you a great head coach !!! 😁😁😁

  17. So unless he throws millions at Urban, like $20 or so a year, it is looking like any decent head coach candidates will pass and wait for another opportunity. Lincoln Riley has it better in Oklahoma so why leave. So the next head coach of the Cowboys will be someone from within like Kellen Moore, John Kitna or Witten after many “candiates” pass on working for Jerry and his ego. Or some retread like Jeff Fischer or Marvin Lewis. If Jerry liked Kris Richards he would have already been interum head coach.

  18. TheGuru says:
    December 10, 2019 at 4:40 pm
    Jerry, as an Eagles fan, I think you’re the right person for the job at the right time! LOL.
    So in other words, he’s ultimately responsible for all the drug addicts, alcoholics and abusers that have spent time with his club. I think what Jimmy Johnson meant to say was decades ago was “Who owns dem Cowboys”!

    As an Eagles fan, your opinion doesn’t matter!

  19. Essentially, Jerry is saying that he wouldn’t allow a GM to do his job without being second-guessed so what is the point—and that is hard to argue with. He can’t get out of his own way. That said, the Cowboys have great when it comes to talent acquisition the last number of years—much better than the coaching would suggest.

  20. This guy is a complete egotistical maniac. I’ve been sick and tired of him for as long as I can remember.

    I don’t understand how anyone could work for this jerk.

  21. I have grown to have a lot of respect for Jerry. I think he does ok at being the GM. I think his problem is he doesn’t leave it there. He tries to be the coach too, which undermines the authority of the head coach

  22. There are probably 15 current GM’s that will all be fired in the next 3 to 4 years, which means they’re not doing a good job. So if half the GM’s are lousy, I don’t see why an owner with 3 super bowl rings needs to hire a lousy GM. I guarantee you Jerry’s sons are just as good, if not better than half the current GM’s. This family has a lot of passion for the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys are very well managed.

  23. “Ultimately that’s called input and ultimately somebody has to break ties if somebody disagrees. Somebody has to do it. That’s my job. ”
    ____________

    If it really played out like this things would be fine. But he left out the part about driving away guys who have their own opinions and only hiring yes-men who would never, ever disagree with him. There are never any ties to be broken because he only allows people in the room whose first sentence is “What do you want us to do, Mr. Jones?”

  24. I actually don’t think Jerry’s as bad as he’s made out to be but he’s had too many failures to be considered a successful GM. Ironically when he has stepped aside (Jimmy, Parcells, Will McClay/Stephen drafting) they have had way better success. If he could have ever just put his ego aside for a bit there’s no telling the success this team may have had. Sadly it’s too late now.

  25. I bet £100 Jason Garrett will still be the HC of the Cowboys, next year. Who else would put up with Jerry and the nonsense he talks!

  26. magnusthe1st says:
    He’s the Al Davis of the Cowboys. Gets kookier with each passing year and will literally only stop on the day he dies.
    ==

    Getting “kookier” is the only thing Jerry Jones has in common with Al Davis.
    Davis actually coached, and for decades was a terrific GM who understood football, and built and rebuilt multiple great Raiders teams. Eventually an unwillingness to change, then age and senility took over and turned him into a parody of his former self.
    Jerry Jones hired Jimmy Johnson when he bought the team, and the Cowboys took advantage of high draft picks and a trade with the gullible Vikings to build a team that won three titles pre-salary cap.
    Johnson and circumstances had more to do with those titles than Jones, and since Johnson left the Cowboys have been an underachieving punchline for a quarter-century, winning nothing more than a few playoff games and never reaching even another conference title game.
    Even after Stephen Jones finally persuaded his father to let the scouting department do its job at draft time — and the Cowboys have drafted well of late — Jones has mucked things up with his silly contracts and extreme loyalty to undeserving coaching staffs.

  27. Jones runs the team that way because he’s narcissistic, self-absorbed and has always possessed an inflated opinion of himself as a talent evaluator, has nothing to do with his believing it simply makes the whole process more efficient and expedient.

  28. Your go Jerry! Nothing is more delicious than watching the Cowboys bandwagon get their hopes up and only to have the team fall far short of expectations year after year. Live long and don’t prosper!

  29. RussianBreadMaker says:
    December 10, 2019 at 4:33 pm
    It won’t be long before that role passes to one of his sons. I cant imagine him making football decisions soundly at 90
    =========

    Or 77

    Or 73

    Or 70…

  30. Jerry was there ever a time where everybody knew the truth but you. This is just like that’s time. Jerry we all know the truth and you are in denial. The simple truth is that as a GM you stink.

  31. $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
    Cowboys
    Jerry
    $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
    He knows how to make it

  32. It is common knowledge that Jimmy Johnson made the player personnel calls while he was at the Cowboys. Jimmy even showed the media his contract where he has the player personnel authority. Jerry Jones got angry because Jimmy Johnson would not give him the credit for assembling the super bowl teams – even though he did not. Jerry has said that he values “loyalty” above all – like he wanted Jimmy to support whatever he said, even though it was a lie. Jerry Jones is lying when he says he “always” made the personnel calls.

  33. Jerry is probably the best promoter in the entertainment business, and that’s what the NFL is. He fills his stadium all the time with a less than average team. And that my friends is all he really cares about. And the lemmings keep paying the price LOL!

  34. But when you don’t have someone that knows what they are doing making recommendations to the decision maker, you have the Cowboys of the past 30 years.

  35. I also applaud the superb job that Jerruh Jones is doing as GM. Over the past twenty years we can truly see the spectacular effort that he has put in as GM offering a compelling sports team that wins lots of games and is never a disappointment to a true Texas Star fan. Let’s all admire from our distance as mere commenters on Florio’s Folley and behold the awesomeness of Jerruh. Long live Jerruh! Let him be the first owner and GM to ever produce efforts well in the 100 years of football that he can achieve! Hail, Jerruh! You go, sir! You are the owner and who are we to lambast you for having put so much energy micromanaging the brand of athletic supporters your team wears. And if you decide to spot check that they wear these, we know you’ll not shy away from managing how the supporters are checked! You are just fabulous in your ability to oversee so much market value while ensuring that we should never look upon the results of your actions.

  36. For all the haters out there, here is a dose of reality for your consideration. In many ways he has been a decent gm, made many good decisions. He has also made many poor decisions and Cowboys do indeed fail for long periods due to his stubbornness in hiring head coaches who can get them into and compete confidently in big games. The reign of the current head coach is a text book example. As a GM, I grade Jones as a b-, remember that c is average thus I am stating I very much think he has been an above average gm. On a curve, I grade Jones a solid B only as there have been many really, really bad gms over the years he has put himself in charge of the Cowboys.

  37. never change jerry. we have 25 years of results to demnonstrate that you stink as a gm so on behalf of 31 teams keep doing what you’re doing.

  38. Waits for Cowboy fans to come in saying “who cares, we have the most value franchise in sports” as if they get a cut of the profits. This team will not be a contender until Jerruh takes that big dirt nap.

  39. I’m as frustrated with the lack of recent success as any other Cowboy’s fan but the main reason Jerry is viewed by many as a bad GM is because he’s never met a camera he didn’t like. He’s one of those guys that uses 100 words when 8 would work. He could learn a lot from Bill Belichick by just deflecting and moving on. But he can’t. The truth is, over the last 10 years, Jerry has improved as a GM just by getting more input from Will McClay and Stephen. Drafts have been better and they haven’t pissed away money trying to win the off-season every year. You read these comments and you’d think Dallas is going 1-15 every year. Jacksonville brought in the savior that everyone in the media said would be perfect and how’s that working out? Detroit is going on 53 years without a Superbowl, yet they’ve hired plenty of “football guys”. Arizona caught lightning in a bottle with Kurt Warner and got to one but how about the rest of the last half century? Cleveland? They’d love to have an owner that cared as much about winning as the Jones family. Cincinnati, San Diego, Carolina, Tampa? At the end of the day, the thing that always cracks me up the most about the Jones haters is that if they had his money, they’d be doing the exact same thing. Everybody on this site is a frustrated GM and coach. To say you’d own a team and then let somebody else make all the decisions is disingenuous at best. No matter what anybody thinks of him, when he’s all done, he’s get getting buried with at least 3 of those world champion rings on his fingers. Last time I checked- there’s no expiration date on them.

  40. You can’t question the talent the Cowboys have. The problem is the culture. Having a meddling owner that has three media days a week and talks to the team after a game completely a totally undermines the head coach.

    If Jones could put his gigantic ego aside and let the coaches coach, Dallas could be elite again.

    But it won’t happen. He is what he is. Think about this for a second: If he fires Garrett after this year, the Cowboys opening should be a DREAM job. The QB is already in place. You have an elite RB and offensive line, and a young up and coming defense. The team is the #1 ratings draw in the league. This would absolutely be the best head coaching job in the NFL.

    But they’ll hire another weak candidate, because everyone knows: It’s absolutely NOT a great job. And that has everything to do with Jerry Jones.

    P.S. I agree with the above poster that what was unsaid but clearly communicated was that it was Jones and not Jimmy Johnson that built that early 90s dynasty. What an egomaniac.

  41. The cowboys have gone through a bunch of hall of fame players, countless position coaches, head coaches and the only constant in the past 25 years is Jerry JONES. Real Cowboy fans have not forgotten how he treated Tom Landry and Jimmy Johnson. Jerry Huckleberry Jones, the one and only change that needs to be made.

  42. re: Jerry Jones is lying when he says he “always” made the personnel calls.

    to quote George Costanza… it’s not a lie, if you believe it!

  43. Paul Allen bought the Seahawks, built a new stadium, hired people to make the decisions, and then got out of the way.

    Over the last twenty years, they’ve won considerably more than three games in the playoffs and went to the Super Bowl three times.

    But by all means, please keep making all the decisions for the Cowboys. Then get auto-kicked off the radio.

  44. Jerry Jones’ job is to troll the media and provide the public with entertainment. It’s obvious that his statements to the media have zero correlation with the decision making process within the Cowboys organization.

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