Jerry Jones

Jerry Jones’s high hopes for his new stadium.

Evan Smith: The earliest instance I can find of your wanting a new home for the team is 1994. Here we are, fifteen years later, sitting in a suite overlooking the 50-yard line and this grand stadium. Did it turn out, in the end, the way you imagined it might back then?

Jerry Jones: It’s beyond the scope of what I imagined. I would have to say that, relative to where we were in ’94, we’re 200 percent more invested. I got caught up in it, and my family got caught up in it, and our organization got caught up in it. The more we saw other venues, the more we realized that if the Dallas Cowboys made this kind of commitment, the perception of that, regarding the franchise, would float all boats. I always said, “Don’t miss this opportunity. It doesn’t come to too many people. It doesn’t happen in too many lifetimes. Do it right.” Now, I didn’t anticipate that we would have a downturn in the economy, but it’s a credit to the Cowboys, to our stature, that in the times we’re in, we would be able to do this at the level we’ve done it.

ES: If there’s any evidence that you cut back because of the recession, I’m not seeing it.

JJ: When I bought the Cowboys, in 1989, it seemed like every bank in Dallas was going broke. Buildings downtown were half-empty and half-finished. It was a tough time. But you know, that’s why I got to buy the Dallas Cowboys. I’ve watched that downturn turn into an upturn, and I know that upturn helped impact where we are today with the team. What you’re seeing in the finish-out of this stadium is a real belief in the stability and the future of the National Football League. [Pro football is] the number-one-rated program in all of television, and the Cowboys are the number-one-rated brand in the NFL. So you’re right: I haven’t cut back. As a matter of fact, I’ve added. I’ve added because I can, and because this isn’t a dress rehearsal.

ES: This will be a billion-dollar expenditure by the time it’s over?

JJ: A billion two.

ES: Of which the City of Arlington provided $325 million?

JJ: Correct. The remainder came from four other sources. We have a plan in the NFL that allows other owners to waive their visiting team share of the “club seat premium” during the time you construct. Some came from that. Certainly a significant portion of it came from the owner source—from me. We

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