The Dallas Cowboys quite possibly have the most famous owner in all of professional team sports. The NFL team is owned by none other than Jerry Jones, who is one of the most visible and accessible owners in the league.
Jerry Jones bought the Dallas Cowboys in 1989 for a price that would seem to be an unbelievable bargain in this day and age -$140 million. In 2018, Forbes valued the franchise at a whopping $4.8 billion, which would garner a pretty penny for Jones and his family if they ever decided to sell one of the flagship franchises in the NFL.
Unlike many owners in the NFL, Jones already had significant exposure to football in his earlier years, even before he made the biggest purchase of his life. He played the game for the University of Arkansas program as a collegian, starring as an offensive lineman in the mid 1960’s for the school. The Razorbacks actually won the National Championship in 1965, a season in which Jones was co-captain of the team. One of his teammates, incidentally enough, was Jimmy Johnson—a man who he would later hire to coach the Dallas Cowboys.
After his successful collegiate career, Jones went into business, and became extremely successful in the oil industry in the 1970’s and 1980’s. He identified areas of land which were not seriously considered as hotspots for oil, and capitalized in a big way by finding it in these overlooked locales. It was this practice, known as “wildcatting”, which allowed Jones to become extremely wealthy and enter his name into the conversation to buy an NFL franchise.
Jerry Jones made Dallas Cowboys one of the most successful NFL franchisees of all time
Once Jones bought the team, he did not wait long to put his imprint on the team. Almost immediately, he relieved legendary Dallas Cowboys head coach Tom Landry of his duties, and replaced him with Johnson, hoping that the team could capture the magic the Razorbacks teams had two decades earlier. Johnson’s first season with the team was extremely rocky, as they went 1-15. Their number one overall pick, Troy Aikman, went 0-11 as a starter, and threw 18 interceptions in comparison to his 9 touchdown passes.
Fortunes would quickly improve for the team, however, as the Dallas Cowboys would win back to back Super Bowl titles in 1992 and 1993. The team appeared to be on track to dominate the rest of the decade with a young core consisting of Aikman, Emmitt Smith, Michael Irvin, and an immensely talented offensive line, but Johnson and Jones had a falling out that would result in the former’s ousting before the 1994 season.
The two men would consistently argue about who was most instrumental in getting the team to the promised land, and Jones was once quoted as saying that there were 'hundreds of coaches' in the NFL who could have led the Dallas Cowboys to the Super Bowl.
Jones replaced Johnson with another man with close ties to the University of Arkansas football program—Barry Switzer. He took over the team for the 1994 season, and while he was not able to deliver a championship that year, he did preside over the Dallas Cowboys in 1995, when they defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers to put a bow on an impressive four year run.
Jones, now 78 years old, has heavily involved his family in the operation of running the Dallas Cowboys. His son Stephen is the Chief Operating Officer/Executive Vice President, in addition to the Player Personnel Director, according to the Dallas Cowboys’ website. Stephen Jones is heavily involved in constructing the roster and deciding whether or not to pursue free agents or extend current players contracts.
Jerry made headlines during the unusual 2020 NFL Draft by using his $250 million yacht as his command center during the proceedings, showing that a typical draft war room may not be the ideal setting in which to make franchise altering decisions after all.
Also Read: What is Jerry Jones’ Net Worth?