Gil LeBreton

Owner Jones will have trouble following in Philly draft’s beer-stained footsteps

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones says this team has a chance to be better than last year's squad.

Owner Jerry Jones, vice-president Stephen Jones and coach Jason Garrett held a pre-draft news conference at the Star in Frisco.
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Owner Jerry Jones, vice-president Stephen Jones and coach Jason Garrett held a pre-draft news conference at the Star in Frisco.

The reviews are in, and Rocky won again. By unanimous decision.

Granted, there was beer involved. Magnums of it, apparently.

Dallas Cowboys legend Drew Pearson saw that first-hand Friday night, when he trolled the amply fueled mob of Philadelphia Eagles fans with a draft pick announcement for the ages.

“It was a sight to see,” Pearson said of the throng, estimated at 100,000, that sprawled from the front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, site of the steps that Rocky climbed, down Ben Franklin Parkway.

“There were people everywhere,” Drew reported. “Everywhere.”

And there’s the problem, as far as Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is concerned.

How do you follow Woodstock? In Frisco?

Jones wants to host next year’s NFL Draft, but how can he possibly recreate the outdoor festival Boo-palooza that Philly just did?

Before last week’s draft, there were scattered reports that the Cowboys were the front-runners in the bid to host the 2018 event. Owner Jones had expressed his belief that the draft was a natural fit for his new Dallas Cowboys Global Domination Headquarters in Frisco.

As the crowd in Philadelphia also showed, the NFL Draft is a melting cheesesteak of allegiances. Every team seemed to be represented. And Eagles fans booed all of them lustily.

All of a sudden, though, his 12,000-seat indoor stadium seems puny. Jones has 91 acres at The Star in Frisco. The setup in Philadelphia stretched for a half-mile.

The NFL had to be ecstatic over the scene that followed. It had invested $20 million of the league’s money to stage the whole thing, which included a fanfest called the NFL Draft Experience.

Would a Jones-hosted NFL Draft attract 100,000 Cowboys fans? I’m guessing maybe, since hundreds used to show up whenever Tony Romo opened a supermarket or something.

But maybe not. As the crowd in Philadelphia also showed, the NFL Draft is a melting cheesesteak of allegiances. Every team seemed to be represented. And Eagles fans booed all of them lustily.

After watching the scene on TV for the first round, Owner Jones was motivated to say, “I’m envious. It’s exciting and it excites the fan base of the franchise that is in that area.”

He was already backing off on his reported wish to have The Star be the site of the event.

“Not necessarily,” Jones said. “I misspoke. At The Star or AT&T Stadium – or both.”

The spectacle had forced Jones to think bigger, in other words. He clearly isn’t scared of inviting 100,000 to his party (as Super Bowl 45 proved, according to the lawsuits).

The beer. The parking. Jones has probably already done the math.

I like the practice of moving the draft around to the cities in the NFL and letting cities and fans participate in this aspect of the thing.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones

What a Cowboys draft would be missing, however, is the Rocky ambiance, and I’m not talking about the movie or the statue. The Philadelphia attitude, the fans’ passion for their Eagles, would be impossible for a Cowboys crowd to match.

I say this fully remembering the rides to Veterans Stadium when Eagles fans used to regularly spit on the Cowboys team bus. And the snowball avalanche they unleashed on Jimmy Johnson and the 1989 Cowboys.

They hate the Cowboys. But they hate all the teams the Eagles play, and while Cowboys fans are loyal and avid, they just don’t go to games expecting to see a fistfight or two or 10.

Eagles fans do.

“I like the practice of moving the draft around to the cities in the NFL,” Jones said, “and letting cities and fans participate in this aspect of the thing.”

Jones probably never envisioned, though, 100,000 people roaming and drinking and booing and buying NFL swag for three days.

The NFL has to decide if this is what it wants its draft to look like. Does it want a festival or just a party? Jones is good at the latter, as long as the weather cooperates.

But staging an NFL Draft festival would take passion. Or a lot of beer.

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