Gil LeBreton

Vegas Raiders another example of Owner Jones’ Legend-ary influence

Yes, it’s been quite a year for Owner Jones.

A new helicopter to fly around in. A new Dallas Cowboys Interplanetary Headquarters with an indoor stadium to practice in. Two golden tickets in last year’s NFL Draft.

And, of course, the ultimate Jerry Jones glory moment, his election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

(Please ignore the football team’s divisional round playoff defeat).

Now, it seems, the Oakland Raiders are headed for Las Vegas, and it’s Jerry who’s being given behind-the-scenes, late-night-at-the-craps-table credit.

As Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury-News explained, Jones was able to talk Bank of America into helping finance the Vegas deal after casino tycoon Sheldon Adelson pulled out.

Jones’ trump card: his part-ownership with Legends, which describes itself as being in the hospitality and sports marketing business.

Jones’ partners in Legends are the George Steinbrenner heirs, which means that Jerry is in the business of making money for the New York Yankees. How ’bout them Cowboys, Rangers fans?

Yet, he’s hailed as a hero to Cowboys fandom and local media bootlickers alike.

“Did you like those three Super Bowls? Did you like them?” Owner Jones once infamously taunted a caller to KTCK-The Ticket.

Sure, the fans did. But the team has hit nothing but dry playoff holes since then.

I get it, though. Jerry Jones makes money for the league, and thus he speaks the NFL’s language. He twisted the right arms to get the right team, the Rams, first into the Los Angeles market. He helped sell suites and stuff for the 49ers’ new stadium.

Legends is becoming so powerful, so rich, it may one day own its own NFL team.

Don’t fret — Jerry would get Roger Goodell to go along with it.

It seemed peculiar that Jones wasn’t around when the commissioner manned the NFL turnstile again Monday and announced that the league’s third team in a year would be changing cities. Jerry usually likes to bask in the glory of his work. (See: JOHNSON, Jimmy).

They’re aghast in California, understandably. The Nevada state legislature has pledged $750 million to help build a $1.9-billion domed stadium to house the Raiders.

Californians have repeatedly voted against public funding for sports facilities. It’s why the Chargers are leaving San Diego, and why the Rams left in the first place.

Yet, Bank of America is reportedly going to give Raiders owner Mark Davis a $650-million construction loan. The bank apparently believes Davis — and Owner Jones? — that the loan can be repaid with the weekly throngs that will be flying into Vegas to see the Raiders.

Wait. I thought people flew to Vegas to do whatever it is that happens and stays in Vegas.

People already have a favorite NFL team. Why waste a Sunday in Las Vegas watching the Raiders?

I’m going to blame Owner Jones for much of this. Apparently when Jerry starts talking money, listeners fall into a hypnotic trance.

People hand him cash. They start uprooting franchises. They vote him into the Hall of Fame.

The NFL has a salary cap, and so the league’s owners know their “fixed costs.”

Thus, when Jones makes money from Legends, from wherever, he doesn’t lower the price of parking or the $9 draft beer or $6 Pepsi. The money goes straight into his pocket.

Yes, it’s been a fantastic year for Jerry Jones, the man and the legend.

He speaks the NFL’s language, not that it translates for his football team.

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