Jerry Jones will know in 10 days if he’s a Hall of Famer.
That’s when the 2017 Hall of Fame class will be announced and Jones, along with former commissioner Paul Tagliabue, are finalists for football’s highest honor as contributors.
Jones, though, insisted he hasn’t spent too much time contemplating it when asked this week at the Senior Bowl. Instead, Jones said he’s been more consumed on what might have been for his Cowboys team that had an early postseason exit despite being the NFC’s top seed.
“Frankly, with our minds on what might have been, that’s where most of my attention has been,” Jones said. “Again, I have said this in the past and I can say it even more so this year with a year like we’ve had this year and then to have consideration for that pat on the back, or that accolade, hardly seems fair with the great experiences that I’ve had being in the NFL. And this past year certainly was one of them.”
The same can’t be said for Jones’ son, Stephen, who serves as the team’s executive vice president.
“It goes without saying, I’m really, really nervous about it. In a good way, because I think he’s so deserving and I’m very confident it’s going to happen,” Stephen Jones said. “Just so fired up about it and know as far as ownership and the contributor category I just can’t think of anybody who deserves to go in at this point more than Jerry does.”
Regardless of what happens, there’s no question that Jerry Jones has built a Hall of Fame-caliber resume.
The Cowboys were losing $1 million a month and had $30 million in overdue bills when Jones bought the team. He spent $77 million of his own cash in 1989 to help cover the $140 million he spent on the franchise and the Texas Stadium lease.
The Cowboys now are worth $4 billion, according to Forbes, which makes them the most valuable sports franchise in the world. They were already America’s Team when Jones bought them, but his risk-taking, vision and business sense grew the Cowboys even bigger.
During negotiations in 1993, Jones refused to give the TV networks a $238 million rebate on a four-year contract. Instead, he got Fox into bidding and the league’s TV contract jumped from $900 million to $1.1 billion for the 1994-97 seasons.
Jones also opted out of the trust agreement with NFL Properties in 1995, striking deals with Nike, American Express and Pepsi worth more than $40 million. The league sued him for $300 million, and Jones countered with a $750 antitrust lawsuit. The sides settled, allowing teams to control their own licensing agreements.
In more recent years, Jones built the league’s first billion-dollar stadium in 2009; he opened a new billion-dollar training complex with a unique partnership with Frisco ISD in August; and he was instrumental in getting the Rams back to Los Angeles.