The thought still makes most people sick, but you need to prepare for a reality that includes a Jerry Jones gold bust in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Jerry Jones will have one of those ugly gold jackets, too.
It’s going to happen, think as early as 2017.
Jerry is a finalist to go in as a Contributing Member; the final vote on this will not happen until the first weekend in February, before the Super Bowl in Houston.
God knows he wants it, but not everyone thinks he deserves it.
As a salesman of the NFL and a sport that he loves so much, Jerry has few peers.
As a general manager of an NFL team, he can’t win even when his team does. No matter what he does as the GM of the Cowboys, he will never receive the credit, but will always be handed the blame.
The Cowboys are enjoying one of their best seasons in his near 30-year tenure, and how often do you hear anyone praising him?
The perception is that when the Cowboys win, it’s either blind luck or somebody else’s doing; if the Cowboys lose, it’s on Jerry.
Most people want their sports owners to be invisible and to spend endless money on players and leave the “football decisions” to “football people” — men like Patriots owner Bob Kraft.
That just ain’t Jerry.
Jerry might win his second NFL Executive of the Year award in the past three years, but even he knows some people cannot be convinced he is anything more than the P.T. Barnum of football.
This reason alone is why some Pro Football Hall of Fame voters are fighting a Hall of Fame with Jerry Jones as inductee.
To which I say, “Lighten up, Francis.”
This is the Professional Football Hall of Fame. If it was the “Football Hall of Fame,” the argument to exclude Jerry would be easy. He’s even admitted that as a GM he would have been fired. Repeatedly.
Once football went pro back in the 1920s, the bottom line and growth mattered. It has not always been pretty, and it is often an obnoxious cash grab, but few men in the history of the NFL have been any better at growing the brand of pro football better than Jerry Jones.
To exclude Jerry from the “Professional Football Hall of Fame” in a contributor’s capacity is rooted in antiquated idealism that simply has been phased out by real life.
“Jones has shown many NFL owners how to make money, but winning on the field has been elusive,” Pro Football Hall of Fame voter Howard Balzer wrote earlier this year in a column that did not state clearly he would not vote for Jerry for induction, but felt like it.
It is Jerry’s role as GM, which he gave himself when he bought the team in 1989, that voters will use like a hot branding iron all over his rèsumè.
When the Cowboys have won since Jerry bought the team, the credit has gone to, in order, Jimmy Johnson, Bill Parcells and, now, Stephen Jones, Jason Garrett and scouting director Will McClay.
Jimmy is credited as the designer of the dynasty Cowboys of the 1990s; both Jimmy and Jerry have since fought like old ladies over a bridge game that neither can quite let go of who did what.
When the team fell into disrepair, Jerry hired Parcells, who successfully rebuilt a garbage roster into a decent team, but he never won a playoff game in his tenure here.
Then Jerry made the predictably terrible decision of hiring Wade Phillips as his head coach.
Now, after staying with Garrett and a philosophy far longer than his record says he deserved, he has a team that looks Super Bowl worthy.
And all we can think about is the picture of Jerry in the draft room in 2014 lobbying son Stephen and his bunch to draft Johnny Football before being coaxed out of it to select Notre Dame guard Zack Martin.
In more than 25 years as the GM, Jerry has made a few good moves — he hired Jimmy, he handed the keys over to Bill and approved Garrett’s ideas to build a team around a solid offensive line. Law of averages say there are other good moves, too. Much like you, I can’t think of them, either.
We just remember how his relationship with Jimmy fell apart, the arrogance of hiring Barry Switzer, countless bad moves from Quincy Carter to Terrell Owens, Roy Williams to Pacman Jones, Wade Phillips to Greg Hardy, too.
If the Cowboys draft Dak Prescott, it’s because Will McClay wanted it.
(BTW — It should be noted that it was McClay who was the one leaning on the Cowboys to play Dak rather than acquire some washed up “Brandon Cassel” type).
After 25 years, when it comes to football decisions, Jerry has been a grab bag of a few hits and laughable misses. And he should have been fired as a GM multiple times over.
After 25 years, when it comes to professional football decisions, Jerry has been full of hits. That’s what his induction will be about — his contributions to Professional Football.
So get used to it — Jerry’s a Hall of Famer.
Listen to Mac Engel every Tuesday and Thursday on Shan & RJ from 5:30-10 a.m. on 105.3 The Fan.