Dallas Cowboys

Why Jerry Jones said Eagles went too far in trying to ruin Dallas’ Turkey Day tradition

Yeah, the Philadelphia Eagles tried it.

And even though the NFL shot it down, the Dallas Cowboys are not going to forget their NFC East rivals tried it any time soon.

What the Eagles did was try to break up a Thanksgiving Day tradition in Dallas by proposing to the league to have the Cowboys play their annual Thanksgiving Day games away from AT&T Stadium every other year.

The issue was shot down 8-0 by the NFL competition committee. The Eagles withdrew the proposal and it didn’t even make the floor for the NFL owners meetings being held this week in Phoenix, Arizona.

Still, the damage was done.

And the Cowboys haven’t forgotten what they tried to do.

Owner Jerry Jones laughingly said the Eagles took the rivalry too far in trying to mess up Thanksgiving Day at AT&T Stadium.

“Well, I respect every club’s opinion,” Jones said. “It’s been said that we’re not natural partners in the NFL. Certainly, we’ve got a great rivalry and I’m still so jealous that I’m screaming in my pillow about them winning that Super Bowl up there. But that’s going too far – that’s rubbing it in. I’m smiling, that’s tongue-in-cheek.”

Jones laughed but he is serious about keeping Thanksgiving Day in Dallas every year.

The proposal also included the Detroit Lions, who also play on Thanksgiving Day at home every year.

The Eagles said in the proposal that they wanted “to continue the annual tradition of having Dallas and Detroit play on Thanksgiving, provided that one of those clubs host a home game with the other club playing away, and alternating home and away games each subsequent season.”

They felt it gave the Cowboys and Lions a competitive advantage. Jones said the tradition is good for the NFL and everyone else agrees.

“The point is that it hasn’t been a competitive advantage,” Jones said. “I’ll just say that so that you would address their concern. That’s an opinion. But the fact that it got such a resounding vote coming out of the competition committee without having Detroit’s vote included — and it takes 75 percent of the votes to get it done and you had it right there unanimous, that’s why it was withdrawn. I think, as a whole, most people see the value to the league of what we do on Thanksgiving and the great tradition of the Lions having it on Thanksgiving as apart from what it means for the individual team – that it is good for the NFL.”

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Clarence E. Hill Jr. has covered the Dallas Cowboys as a beat writer/columnist for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram since 1997. That includes just two playoff wins, six coaches and countless controversies from the demise of the dynasty teams of the 1990s through the rollercoaster years of the Tony Romo era until Jason Garrett’s process Cowboys.