Within the next 24 hours the greatest bus in American sports should be driving around Monument Circle in downtown Indianapolis, meaning the NFL Draft & Combine is here.
Hoosiers, hide yo’ women and hide yo’ husbands, the Jones boys are coming to town in their new Elegant Lady ; that’s the name of their new $2.5 million bus. Do you think I could make that up?
BTW: The Cowboys paid defensive end Marcus Spears $2 million in 2012. The bus had one fewer sack than Spears last season.
The off-season is not two months old and already Jerry is getting things done. People are uncomfortable. The head coach’s baby brother was shown the door. The team may yet hire one of those cute Westminster puppies to call the plays in 2013 rather than rely on the head coach.
Now the entire Cowboys’ brain trust is in Indianapolis to prepare for what is yet another crucial draft to address a roster loaded with holes.
Since the Cowboys lost to the Redskins and their one-legged quarterback on that chilly evening in Maryland, all sorts of comparisons have been made between Jerry and the late Oakland Raiders’ owner Al Davis.
That Jerry is the new Al.
It is true there are plenty of valid similarities between the two men, but in the end there is a massive distinction that should always buy Jerry time, and build loyalty — he is one giant ball of fun and mathematically impossible to dislike.
It is true that when Jerry bought the Dallas Cowboys the man he sought the most for advice was Davis. Big Al was a maverick’s maverick, and a giant pain in the blank. He was a man who demanded the Raiders be run through his voice. He wanted the final say on everything.
Legend has it that Al was known to take a black marker and strike the names to make the Raiders’ final gameday roster. He often did a little research, or background checks, on those who covered the team. He was rumored to call down from the owner’s box to suggest a play — preferably a deep bomb. And that was an order.
Like Jerry, Al embraced the type of risks that scared most men. Al was quite comfortable challenging the establishment. He appeared to want to wage war against the NFL, city politicians, coaches, players, etc.
The problem was, in the process of running things the way he wanted, Al alienated countless people, aggravated scores of fans in both Northern and Southern California and eventually isolated himself and became what appeared in his final years to be a sad, angry old man.
Jerry may insist he gets the final say on all things Dallas Cowboys until the zombie apocalypse claims us all, but there is a reason why so many people are loyal to this man.
There is a reason why Jason Garrett passed on head-coaching job offers from the Baltimore Ravens and Atlanta Falcons to wait for this opportunity. It goes beyond the paycheck.
The people who know Jerry not only like Jerry, but they want to work for Jerry. The man has a gift for making life fun.
One time, former Fort Worth Dunbar football coach Bob Jones stumbled into a high-level party he had no business being in; there was Jerry making this high school football coach without an invitation feel welcome, and suddenly he was part of the party.
Sometime this weekend, the entire Cowboys staff will gather at Indianapolis’ most famous steakhouse, St. Elmo’s. for a giant team dinner. Do you really think this is a separate-check deal?
Bitter fans and a generation of frustrated Cowboys supporters all may say how much they hate Jerry Jones, and they may, right up to the point that they meet him. And then? Then they can’t help themselves.
The managerial comparisons between Jerry and Al are many. Jerry’s stubbornness to be the final say on so many facets of his organization, like Al’s, could ultimately be his undoing.
To suggest these two men share similarities beyond their preferred style of micro-management, however, is not fair to Jerry, the man. Jerry is a ball, and he wants to have fun, and he wants all of you to have fun.
Beware Indianapolis, the Elegant Lady is coming, and so is the party.