Cowboys owner Jerry Jones on learning of his Hall of Fame induction.
Jerry Jones has made his decision, which hopefully means we will soon be awarded The Decision II, complete with a TV special, sponsorship deals, corporate signage, shoes, T-shirts and an announcement at AT&T Stadium.
Jerry has made up his mind on his presenter for his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame Aug. 5 in Canton, Ohio. Always the showman in creating suspense and interest, Jerry is just not ready to reveal that special person’s name.
Does this mean that Jerry, like LeBron James, will sit in a director’s chair in front of Jim Gray with a collection of kids around him to announce The Decision before an EPSN audience? We can only hope.
There are a myriad of possibilities, but Jerry has but two choices:
No. 1, his wife, Gene.
Such a move would buy time away from permanent/extended stay residence in the always-oversold Husband Dog House Inn. To select but one of his children for this once-in-a-lifetime honor would create the most awkward Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners ever.
Gene is the ultimate good-guy safe pick.
But Jerry didn’t receive the call from Canton because of safe picks, although a handful of dumb picks could certainly be used against him (cough-cough, Quincy Carter, cough-cough).
He should go with Door No. 2, and Jimmy Johnson. Don’t laugh. From a football standpoint, this is the most logical selection. And this is about football.
Yes, we media scum would love it for the story and the visual of Jerry and Jimmy on the big stage together again, but this is more than just a great photo op.
The role of the presenter has been reduced greatly in recent years. In an effort to expedite the evening’s events, presenters are now silent ceremonial figures there for the unveiling of the statue.
Jerry on stage next to Jimmy, however, would be the case where everyone involved would make an exception and cry, “Speech! Speech! Speech!”
There would be no Jerry Jones Pro Football Hall of Fame bust without the first decision he made when he bought the Cowboys. Take away the Jimmy Johnson era from Jerry’s tenure as owner and there are no Super Bowl trophies. Sorry, Barry Switzer.
Jerry is going in the contributor’s category, which technically means nothing the Cowboys did on the field had any impact on his stature as a candidate for Canton.
That stature, however, was aided immeasurably by the fact his team was one of the most successful in the 1990s when the Cowboys were the Cowboys.
As unpopular, but necessary, as it was to fire Tom Landry, Jerry’s decision to hire his good buddy from the University of Arkansas to be his first head coach made him as an owner and “general manager.”
He has been living off this decision ever since.
If Jimmy had said no to Jerrry and had remained at the University of Miami, the next choice may have been “one of 500 coaches,” but likely Barry Switzer.
Jerry bought the Cowboys in February of 1989, when Barry was embroiled amid a handful of scandals and NCAA violations in Norman with the Oklahoma Sooners. He resigned in June of that year.
So if Jerry had missed on Jimmy, he might have tried to entice Barry to get out of Norman a few months earlier than he did.
As much as this consciously un-coupled couple bickers and fights and passive-aggressively takes shots at the other, Jerry and Jimmy made each other at the pro level. Jimmy is not Jimmy without Jerry, and Jerry is not Jerry without Jimmy.
They both deserve credit in their successes. Neither can be so ego-fueled to believe otherwise.
Well ... actually ... they just might be.
The success of any owner is often rooted in the people he hires. New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft is a “great owner” in part because he hired the previously fired coach of the Cleveland Browns, the always affable Bill Belichick, to run his toy.
Hiring good people makes you look good. Jerry hiring Jimmy made him look good.
By this point, who cares who did what? The Cowboys won in such a way that it restored the power of the brand, and everyone involved had a role in establishing the rare NFL dynasty that is still debated as one of the best ever.
Enough time has passed, these two have hugged it out and whatever bad feelings existed over their breakup have faded and, hopefully, are forgotten. They are both in their 70s, too old too care about what happened 25 years ago. It would be appropriate if Jerry one day put Jimmy in his Ring of Honor, too.
It’s Jerry’s turn first at an induction, and the man to present him should be the one who did so much to start this path toward Canton.
Jerry said he’s made up his mind, and while the safe pick is Gene, the bold play for The Decision II is Jimmy.
Mac Engel: @macengelprof