Mac Engel

It’s time for Jerry Jones to hand over the GM reins to Stephen Jones

Linebacker Jaylon Smith meets Cowboys GM Jerry Jones and executive vice president Stephen Jones.
Linebacker Jaylon Smith meets Cowboys GM Jerry Jones and executive vice president Stephen Jones.

According to a few members of the Arlington Police Department, the Dallas Cowboys have instructed them to be sure to prepare for a big event at AT&T Stadium the weekend of Sept. 17.

The “big event” is the eagerly awaited middleweight boxing match between Mexican-born Canelo Alvarez and Triple G (Gennady Golovkin). The fight could potentially draw more than 80,000 and be another notch in Jerry’s AT&T Stadium headboard that now includes a Super Bowl, NBA All-Star Game, Taylor Swift, NCAA Final Four, Beyoncé and WrestleMania.

While the general manager of the Dallas Cowboys is working the phones to secure the biggest boxing match in years, he and his family are busy finalizing the production/construction that will be The Star in Frisco; the team’s practice facility will be yet another business “game changer” Jerry has introduced to the NFL.

Since the start of 2010 season, the Dallas Cowboys have made the playoffs once.

The cruel irony is that, despite all of this increased business, notoriety and revenue Jerry has helped to create for North Texas and the Dallas Cowboys, none of it has helped to make his football team any better. The football portion of his football team remains miles behind the business part of his football team. Now is as good a time as any to recuse himself as its general manager.

A Cowboys person told me this type of move right now would be akin to “pigs flying.” That does not mean we can’t slap a pair of wings on Jerry and yell in unison his beloved University of Arkansas chant, “Woo Pig Sooie!” and see if it the darn thing can actually fly.

In all seriousness, Jerry should give son Stephen the job now. He’s earned it.

Cowboys brass talked about their decision to draft Notre Dame linebacker Jaylon Smith in the second round of the 2016 draft. Video by Drew Davison.

Make Jerry general manager emeritus and turn him loose to do what he does best — sell. Keep him in the room … just, maybe, turn off his phone.

In a report on Bleacher Report, veteran NFL writer Mike Freeman quoted two anonymous NFL executives who said, “You could always count on Jerry Jones [bleeping] things up. That isn’t happening any longer. That’s a Super Bowl-caliber team now.”

And this from an AFC team executive, “Health is obviously the key for them. If [Tony] Romo can stay healthy, that’s an 11-win team.”

Since Jerry bought the Cowboys in 1989, he’s had Stephen at his side to learn the new family business. It has been assumed that the formal transition of power from Jerry to Stephen will occur when either God, or the 73-year-old Jones, decides it’s time.

Jerry is still in complete control of his faculties, but there is no time like the present. Make the switch today.

(video by Clarence Hill Jr.)

It’s no secret Stephen has assumed an increased load of the football decisions of late. After more than 20 years of on-the-job training, which has included its share of good and bad, he is ready for the title.

This does not mean Stephen is a “Belichick.” He’s still a Jones. The apple does not fall far from the Jones tree of cash, but Stephen does not share his dad’s comfort level with risk. Mostly because he never needed to.

Jerry grew comfortable with risk from an early age, and he never swayed from it because the plan worked. Stephen was growing up after his dad had done quite well, so there was less of a need to take such monstrous swings.

In the past few years, the Cowboys have taken fewer and fewer giant risks. That is not a coincidence.

Stephen was right there watching how some of these risky decisions eventually played out — trading for Joey Galloway, receiver Roy Williams and others — and he signed off on all of these details and structured the respective contracts. Clearly these incidents left a mark.

The selection of Notre Dame linebacker Jaylon Smith — he of the shredded knee — with the team’s second-round draft pick says the Jones risk factor will never leave the franchise entirely but, overall, those decisions are no longer the norm.

I am not sure if Stephen is in control if he takes the risk required to sign defensive end Greg Hardy.

You could always count on Jerry Jones [bleeping] things up. That isn’t happening any longer. That’s a Super Bowl-caliber team now.

Anonymous NFC East executive in a recent story on Bleacher Report

Stephen prefers to eschew high-priced free agents and the type of aging “names” that had previously been a narcotic to his dad. Stephen is all about young, “cheap” talent.

History will show that Jerry Jones is one of the best ever at the business of football, while the football part has eluded his grasp. We can’t have, or be, everything we want.

To counter the decades-old assertion that he is a substandard football GM, Jerry once famously asked, “Did you like those three Super Bowls?” on a local radio show. That was in 2001.

To today’s 15-year-old with no clue about those three Super Bowls, Jerry could potentially ask, “Did you like those two wild-card wins?”

Jerry Jones will turn 74 on Oct. 12. Stephen Jones is 51.

Jerry’s record to land big events, build buildings and execute expansion on the grandest of scales is unparalleled in football. Jerry’s football record since those three Super Bowls stinks.

The Cowboys are his team and his toy and he will never remove himself entirely from any of the operations. It is clear, by now, that his greatest talent is to sell football better than any man who has ever lived.

His son is not the salesman that his dad is, but Stephen has acquired a superior football sense.

Whether it’s The Star or Canelo vs. Triple G, the Cowboys don’t need much more help when it comes to marketing. They just need help when it comes to winning.

Listen to Mac Engel every Tuesday and Thursday on Shan & RJ from 5:30-10 a.m. on 105.3 The Fan.

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones on Stephen Jones taking over the team, and Stephen talks about Jerry's creation of a sports empire. Star-Telegram video by Paul Moseley

The Dallas Cowboys owner honored his daughter, Cowboys VP Charlotte Jones Anderson, at the Nancy Lieberman Dream Charity dinner recently in Dallas.

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