Maybe Jerry Jones is a real life Benjamin Button.
As he prepares to be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the 74-year old Jones gave an update on an old story and, to let him tell it, he is truly aging backwards.
In 2013, Jones shocked the world when he claimed after a recent medical checkup the doctor told him, based on his CT scan, that he had the brain of a 40-year old.
The subject came up again when Jones was asked what was left to accomplish following the Hall of Fame induction and gaining a spot among the legends of the game.
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“This is funny, but I think I told you this. I was doing this checkup, the brain scan, and the doctor said I had the brain of a 30-year-old,” Jones said, before being reminded he said 40 in the initial story.
“Yeah, but we always round down,” Jones continued with a smile.
“But the whole point is, energy-wise, effort-wise and everything, and the time that we’ve spent this spring and all of that, gosh, it’s been as good as I’ve had in the last five years.”
Jones not only feels the best he has in a while, but he is doing more than he ever has and has more influence in NFL than any time since buying the team in 1989.
Joining Jones in the Class of 2017 are players Kenny Easley, Jason Taylor, Morten Andersen, Terrell Davis, LaDainian Tomlinson and Kurt Warner. Jones will be inducted as a contributor.
The Hall of Fame might be the final resting place for players in terms of their NFL careers. But for Jones, it’s a tip of the cap for a job well done.
He turned a $140 million investment in a franchise going broke in 1989 into the richest in all of sports today with a value of $4.2 billion. He also won three Super Bowls and went from renegade owner to the so-called de facto commissioner.
He is energized to do even more.
“I think that I’m doing the best I’ve done, right now, relative to the league. I really do,” Jones said. “... I’ve really got a lot of energy, spent a lot of time. This is the most ground I’ve covered since I’ve owned the team, in terms of activity.”
That activity includes influencing the owners to approve the move of the St. Louis Rams to Los Angeles and their stadium deal at Hollywood Park, which in term forced the San Diego Chargers to follow when they ultimately decided to move to Los Angeles.
He helped broker the move of the Oakland Raiders to Las Vegas with his company, Legends Hospitality, doing the sales, marketing, and food services — just as it is in Los Angeles, with the San Francisco 49ers new stadium in Santa Clara and the new stadium the Atlanta Falcons are moving into this season.
That gives Jones influence over five other franchises in addition to the Cowboys, who set the tone for stadium building with the $1.2 billion AT&T Stadium in Arlington in 2009.
“There was never a billion-dollar stadium before AT&T Stadium,” vice president Stephen Jones said, when asked about his father’s influence. “Now you don’t see anything under $1 billion and you’re seeing them go north, they’re heading toward the $2 billion mark. Obviously, the one in LA, who knows where it’s going to stop. But it’s going to be special, as it should be.
“He certainly changed the game here. He had a huge influence in the fact that we now have the LA Rams and the LA Chargers and the Las Vegas Raiders. He’s certainly a big believer in that. And I think he had a huge hand and showed a lot of leadership when it came to making some very difficult and tough decisions.”
The NFL owners, who once fought Jones on everything, are now listening to him on everything.
“Of course it goes without saying, he was a big proponent and a big salesman at the table with the players in terms of the salary cap and putting a situation in place where people had an opportunity, owners of teams had an opportunity to really grow the pie and do well but at the same time grow the pie for the players,” Stephen Jones said. “He’s had his hands in most aspects of the business and been on the competition committee, which is the game. It’s a validation of his vision, his passion for the Dallas Cowboys and the NFL.”
It’s little wonder that 75 percent of the owners, per former Cowboys scout Gil Brandt, have already RSVP’d for Jones’ Hall of Fame party on Friday night.
Arguably topping the list of issues Jones plans to turn his attention to in the months ahead are the league’s stance on marijuana, limiting the salary of commissioner Roger Goodell and ending the practice of investigating off-field misconduct.
Jones raised all three issues at a closed door owners’ meeting in April, per NBC Sports Pro Football Talk.
Jones’ primary focus moving forward, however, is making the Cowboys winners again on the field.
They have not been to the Super Bowl since 1995, the last of their three titles of the 1990s.
He believes they finally have the foundation to make a legitimate run in 2017 if not years to come, thanks to the presence of quarterback Dak Prescott and running back Ezekiel Elliott, both starting their second year, and the league’s best offensive line.
Continuing to build the NFL is in lock step with his Super Bowl objectives.
“We need to win,” Jones said. We need to continue to build this foundation we have right now. The number one thing from this point forward is to win a Super Bowl. We can’t rest on our laurels as a team. I sure can’t rest on any laurels in my position.
“When I look at opportunities ahead for the future, I see a brighter future ahead for the team as well as the NFL. I see more opportunities than I did 29 years ago. I want to be a part of it. I’m going to be very active.”
Hall of Fame Enshrinement
6 p.m. ESPN, NFL Network