Purchasing the Dallas Cowboys 25 years ago was a nervous and an exciting time for Jerry Jones.
The Cowboys were losing $1 million per month and losing on the field. It also caused him to develop a heart condition called arrhythmia.
"It was quite a trying time for me. I get emotional talking about it,” Jones said. “I've asked a professional about why I get emotional talking about it in public or private and they said, well, that was a traumatic time for you. It was a pretty significant reach risk-wise. I didn't know how it was going to turn out, so it was a nervous time for me.
“I developed arrhythmia, and I had never had an unhealthy day in my life. It was from not resting and never sleeping and then getting up just after you lay your head down. So that kind of describes for me that period of time. It was a time that I felt very off balanced.”
Jones talked about his transition days as owner of America’s Team while attending the NFL Combine in Indianapolis.
“I didn't know, but I quickly found out the visibility that was involved there. My father called me about 10 days, two weeks into this thing and he said, 'I don't care whether you do it by mirrors, smoke or what, if you are not successful, you've got to make it look successful or you will be known as a loser and you won't be able to do anything else for the rest of your life in terms of getting people to go along with you.' "
“I thought of Barry (Switzer). But Jimmy is, of course, more active. He probably had more proximity. I kept up with Jimmy. My oil and gas partners were in Oklahoma City and I spent a lot of time around them. They were very prominent in Oklahoma State’s athletic department. So that all fit real good. When I called Jimmy to tell him that I was looking at it, that I was interested -- what would you think about joining me? His quote was: ‘I always wanted to be with you, work with you. If you called me to sell insurance, I’d sell insurance.’ He committed and left Miami and came to the Cowboys before we even talked about money.
“I was very nervous. I knew I had huge financial obligations. I bought 13 percent of the Cowboys from the FDIC. They had been foreclosed on. And so it was not in a nice, complete, operational routine. The franchise was not. But had I not had the just sheer positiveness of just getting to be involved in the NFL, knowing that when I got up in the morning I would be in the NFL, knowing that I would be part of the Cowboys then those would have been issues in normal business that might have buckled my knees.”
It’s actually there more than it was because I’m able to think more offense. I’m not as concerned as I was financially about the state of the franchise, about the NFL, about the game. The future is significantly brighter than it was in 1989 for the NFL, for pro football and for that matter pro sports today. I never thought Gene (his wife) would be waiting tables over this deal. But I did think it had the potential to really knock my stuff in the dirt.”
“I felt that we could do some things that would create more strength, more energy, and that was one of the reasons that I initially was as aggressive. The other thing was timing. I didn’t have time to sit there and wait on some of these changes 15 years or 10 years. You had to move on it. I had financial security and gave it up to buy the Cowboys. I didn’t buy the Cowboys to go make money. But once you get in the chair, once you get in the position, then you want to be as good and do as good as you can do. So that’s kind of how things have evolved over the years.”