Jerry Jones

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Jerry Jones
Jerry Jones 2015 (2).jpg
Jones in 2015
Born Jerral Wayne Jones
(1942-10-13) October 13, 1942 (age 75)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Occupation Owner/President/General Manager, Dallas Cowboys
Net worth US$5.2 billion (October 2016)[1]
Spouse(s) Eugenia Jones
Children 3

Jerral Wayne Jones (born October 13, 1942) is an American businessman, best known for being owner of the National Football League (NFL)'s Dallas Cowboys since 1989.

Early life[edit]

Jones was born in Los Angeles, California. His family moved to North Little Rock, Arkansas in 1945,[2] and Jones was a running back at North Little Rock High School. He attended college at the University of Arkansas where he was a member of the Kappa Sigma fraternity.[citation needed]

He was also a co-captain of the 1964 National Championship football team. He was an all-Southwest Conference offensive lineman for Hall of Fame coach Frank Broyles and a teammate of Jimmy Johnson.[citation needed]

Other notable teammates were Glen Ray Hines, a consensus All-American offensive tackle, Ken Hatfield, Jim Lindsey, and future Outland Trophy winner Loyd Phillips. Several future head coaches were assistant coaches for Frank Broyles and the Razorbacks during his college career in Fayetteville including Hayden Fry, future head coach at the University of Iowa, Johnny Majors, future head coach at Iowa State University, the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Tennessee, and Barry Switzer, Hall of Fame coach of the University of Oklahoma.[citation needed]

Jones is one of a very small number of NFL owners who had a significant level of success as a football player, Jerry Richardson of the Carolina Panthers being another.[3]

According to an interview with Jones on HBO, after graduating from college in 1965, he borrowed a million dollars from Jimmy Hoffa's Teamsters union to open up a string of Shakey's Pizza Parlor restaurants in Missouri. When that venture failed, Jones was given a job at his father's insurance company Modern Security Life in Springfield, Missouri.[citation needed]

He earned his master's degree in business in 1970. After several other unsuccessful business ventures (including an attempt, again using Teamsters money, to purchase the American Football League's San Diego Chargers in 1967), he began an oil and gas exploration business in Arkansas, Jones Oil and Land Lease, which became successful.[4]

Dallas Cowboys[edit]

Jerry Jones
Dallas Cowboys
Position: Owner/President/General Manager
Career information
High school: North Little Rock (AR)
College: Arkansas
Undrafted: 1965
Career history
As executive:
Career highlights and awards

On February 25, 1989, Jones purchased the Cowboys from H.R. "Bum" Bright for $140 million. Soon after the purchase, he fired longtime coach Tom Landry, to that point the only coach in the team's history, in favor of his old teammate at Arkansas, Jimmy Johnson. A few months later, he fired longtime general manager Tex Schramm, and assumed complete control over football matters.[5]

After a slow start under Jones and Johnson (the first season under Jones, a 1–15 finish, remains second only to the team's inaugural season in terms of futility), Jones quickly built a team that is often reckoned to be the best NFL franchise of the 1990s. The Cowboys won the Super Bowl in the 1992 and 1993 seasons. Johnson then departed and was replaced by Barry Switzer. During Switzer's tenure, the Cowboys also won the Super Bowl in the 1995 season.

At the time of the sale, the financially troubled Bright claimed to be losing $1 million per month on the franchise. During Jones' tenure, the Cowboys have appreciated in value to an estimated $4.2 billion, turning their owner into a billionaire in the process. Much of the league's financial success since 1989 has been credited to Jones himself. In particular, he was decisive in securing Fox as the NFC's primary broadcaster at a time when the traditional "Big Three" networks were trying to convince the league into accepting a rollback in television rights fees.[6]

Increased television revenues have played a decisive role in securing the NFL's place as the world's richest sports league, with revenues of well over $10 billion per season.[citation needed]

The 2017 NFL season is Jones' 29th as Cowboys owner - the same number of seasons as the combined tenures of his predecessors.[citation needed]


GULFSTREAM G-V N1DC Dallas Cowboys owners personal plane at VNY

In an online poll from October 8, 2003, Jones was named the least favorite sports personality by Sports Illustrated, in three states (Virginia, Delaware and Texas).[7]

He is often vilified by fans who remain bitter at Jones' unceremonious firing of fan-favorite Tom Landry. It would later emerge that Jones' predecessor Bright had been dissatisfied with Landry for years and had even offered to relieve Jones of the inevitable criticism by dismissing the longtime coach himself prior to selling the team.[6]

Some of the fan criticism is due to Jones' high visibility and involvement as the "face of the team",[citation needed] a marked contrast to original owner Clint Murchison Jr. Jones' prominent role has led to fans expressing their displeasure with Jones and the lack of success of the franchise, with particular criticism focusing on Jones' insistence on serving as his own general manager.[citation needed]

Jones is one of two owners in the league (the other being Cincinnati's Mike Brown) who have either the title or powers of general manager. Over the years of Jones's tenure, Cowboys fans have organized a number of grassroots efforts aimed at displacing Jones from his position.[8]

Jones is the subject of the 2008 book Playing to Win by David Magee. In the book, Jones admitted he handled the firing of Landry poorly and accepted some blame for the disintegration of his relationship with Landry's successor, Jimmy Johnson.[citation needed]

Jones became involved in the St. Louis Rams move back to Los Angeles with Stan Kroenke in 2016. He was instrumental in brokering a deal between Kroenke, San Diego Chargers owner Dean Spanos, and Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis to ensure that Kroenke's Inglewood Stadium plan passed, which it did, via a 30-2 owners vote in favor. Jones' support and role in the negotiations has been criticized by some fans and sports media in St. Louis.[9]

The NFL's implementation of a hard salary cap in 1994, combined with the implementation of a hard salary floor and consistently increasing television revenues have eliminated the ability of any NFL team to significantly outspend its rivals. The Cowboys went 8–8 in 2011–13, losing the NFC East title in Week 17 each season to a different divisional opponent.[citation needed]

In recent seasons, Jones' managerial ways appear to have adapted to a more conventional NFL salary cap-era style, which has earned complimentary coverage from some NFL pundits.[10]

In 2014, the Cowboys won the NFC East for the first time in five years after key drafts and free agent signings.[11]

However, the Cowboys slumped to a 4–12 record in 2015 with quarterback Tony Romo missing most of the season with a broken collarbone. Following the replacement of the then-injured Romo as starter with unheralded rookie backup Dak Prescott, the Cowboys were successful in 2016, winning a franchise-record eleven consecutive games after losing their season opener. The Cowboys finished 13–3 and first overall in the NFC, only to lose on the last play in the divisional playoff round to the Green Bay Packers.[citation needed]

NFL fines[edit]

Jones was fined $25,000 by the NFL for publicly criticizing referee Ed Hochuli after Hochuli made a controversial call in a game between the San Diego Chargers and the Denver Broncos on September 14, 2008. Jones made comments both to the press and on his radio show, saying Hochuli was one of the most criticized officials in the NFL. This was Jones' first fine by the NFL.[12]

In 2009, Jones was fined $100,000 for violating a gag order on labor issues, commenting that revenue sharing was "on its way out".[13] Commissioner Roger Goodell had issued a gag order for all owners and team executives from discussing any aspect of the pending labor issues. Jones "crossed the line", drawing a "six-figure" fine, sources said, as the commissioner distributed a memo to all 32 owners, along with a reminder that the gag order remains in effect. Goodell did not disclose the specific amount of Jones' fine in the memo.[14]

Jones in popular culture[edit]

Jones was the inspiration for the character Baxter Cain (Robert Vaughn), owner of the Dallas Felons, in the 1998 film BASEketball. He had a brief cameo appearance as himself in the 1998 made-for-television reunion movie Dallas: War of the Ewings.

Jones also appeared as himself in a 1996 episode of the TV show Coach and in a 2007 television commercial for Diet Pepsi MAX, which also featured then Cowboys head coach Wade Phillips and quarterback Tony Romo.

He appeared as himself in the seventh season of the HBO series Entourage in 2010, in an episode of the TNT incarnation of Dallas titled "Truth and Consequences", which aired on July 4, 2012, in a series of commercials for the 2012 season of ESPN's Monday Night Football, and in the season 4 premiere of The League. In 2013, Jones narrated a documentary film on former teammate and business partner Jim Lindsey.[15]

Jones also appears in a 2013 Pepsi commercial, walking into an elevator filled with three men wearing New York Giants apparel, who look at him with discontent.[16]

He appeared on the first episode, "Go Fund Yourself", of the eighteenth season of South Park, along with several other NFL team owners. In one scene, Jones is depicted as having huge, bulging chameleon-like eyes, as a young woman's head pops up from his lap.[17] He reappears in the season 21 episode "Moss Piglets."

Awards and honors[edit]

Personal life[edit]

Jones is the son of J.W. "Pat" Jones and Arminta Jones. He is married to Eugenia "Gene" Jones, and they have three children: Stephen, Charlotte, and Jerry, Jr. Stephen (born June 21, 1964) serves as the Cowboys' chief operating officer/executive vice president/director of player personnel. Charlotte (born July 26, 1966) serves as the Cowboys' executive vice president and chief brand officer.[23] Jerry Jones Jr. (born September 27, 1969) is the Cowboys' chief sales and marketing officer/vice president. He owns a home in Destin, Florida.[24]

Jerry Jones revealed in July 2015 at press conference before Cowboys training camp that he had undergone hip replacement surgery and joking that he wouldn't start the season on the PUP list.[citation needed]

As of September 2015, Jones' net worth is reported by Forbes to be $5 billion, the majority of which can be accounted for as being his ownership stake in the Cowboys who are currently valued by the same publication to be the world's most valuable sports team at $4 billion.


  1. ^ "Jerry Jones". Forbes. Retrieved January 17, 2016. 
  2. ^ Dent, Jim. King of the Cowboys: The Life and Times of Jerry Jones, p. 214 (Adams Media Corporation, 1995): “Pat Jones moved his family back from Los Angeles to North Little Rock in 1945.”
  3. ^ Former Razorback Jerry Jones meets with Arkansas players – College Football – ESPN. (2007-12-28); retrieved 2010-12-21.
  4. ^ Jerry Jones Sports Biography, Photos & Rise To Success. AskMen (1942-10-13); retrieved 2010-12-21.
  5. ^ [1] Archived March 5, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
  6. ^ a b New York Daily News. Retrieved on 2012-12-11.
  7. ^ Sports Illustrated features state of Virginia in series of 50 state-specific weekly sections,, October 9, 2003; retrieved December 21, 2010.
  8. ^ Fire Jerry Jones!,; retrieved December 21, 2010.
  9. ^ Sports Day DFW (January 13, 2016). "Report: Still an NFL power broker, Cowboys' Jerry Jones helps Rams earn Los Angeles move". Sports Day DFW, January 13, 2016.
  10. ^ Carpenter, Les (January 16, 2017) "Maybe just this once it's OK to feel sorry for the Cowboys' Jerry Jones" The Guardian, January 16, 2017.
  11. ^ Foss, Mike (December 30, 2013). "The Cowboys are stuck in an endless cycle of mediocrity", USA Today, December 2013.
  12. ^ San Diego Union Tribune, September 29, 2008, D14
  13. ^ Sean Leahy (September 13, 2009). "NFL fines Cowboys' Jerry Jones $100,000 for CBA remarks". USA Today. 
  14. ^ Sources: Jerry Jones fined for labor remarks – ESPN. (September 14, 2009). Retrieved on 2010-12-21.
  15. ^ Retrieved 2013-5-3.
  16. ^ "Pepsi and the NFL get fans pumped for football all season long". September 5, 2013. Retrieved December 22, 2014. 
  17. ^ "'South Park' also ripped Jerry Jones, Roger Goodell in classic Redskins takedown". Comcast SportsNet. September 25, 2014. Archived from the original on December 25, 2014. Retrieved December 22, 2014. 
  18. ^ "Cowboys GM Jerry Jones named NFL Executive of the Year by PFWA". 
  19. ^ Foundation, National Football. "Jerry Jones to Receive Distinguished Texan Award > National Football Foundation > NewsDetail". 
  20. ^ "Jerry Jones Honored With Horatio Alger Award". 
  21. ^ "Log In or Sign Up to View". 
  22. ^ "Pro Football Hall of Fame's Class of 2017 - Pro Football Hall of Fame Official Site". 
  23. ^ "Charlotte Jones Anderson official Dallas Cowboys bio". Archived from the original on 2013-06-03. 
  24. ^ "Guess Which Celebrities Vacation in Destin, Florida?". TripShock. Retrieved 14 January 2016. 

External links[edit]