Another week, another Cowboys loss, and another round of fan unrest with Jerry Jones. This time, no doubt inspired by all of the secession talk in Texas , a desperate and disgruntled fan took to the White House “We the People” website, asking President Barack Obama to faciliate the “removal” of Jones as Cowboys owner and GM: “We, the Citizens of the Great State of Texas, and Dallas Cowboys fans worldwide, have been oppressed by an over controlling, delusional, oppressive dictator for way too long,” it read, as Dan Graziano of ESPNDallas reported. Unfortunately, the petition violated the site’s terms of participation, no doubt because it failed to “address the current or potential actions or policies of the federal government.” Fear not. Longtime Texas Monthly contributor Joe Nick Patoski has another solution:
If Jerry Jones wants to make a really big move before the 2013 season rolls around, he’s got to go beyond bringing in another formerly successful coach/ GM like Bill Parcells or Mike Holmgren.
Last week, ESPN’s Ed Werder reported that Holmgren (above, left, with Jones) would be interested in coaching the Cowboys should the job come open, even as Holmgren publicly denied it.
Holmgren may have been a winner at Green Bay and Seattle, but his most recent record running the Browns leaves something to be desired. If Jerry really craves the Packer legacy and record, he should go much further than simply hiring its Super Bowl coach. He also needs to embrace Green Bay’s socialism.
Jones the owner has been fantastically successful, monetizing the value of the franchise as the NFL has monetized itself into America’s biggest entertainment. Jones the general manager is a failure, despite his “socks and jocks” declaration when he bought the team in 1989. And the owner won’t fire the GM.
So Jerry, go ahead and hire Holmgren. Give him the authority to make trades and run the football end of the franchise. But then double down and emulate the Green Bay model of ownership.
The Packers are the only community-owned team in the NFL, with over 300,000 shareholders owning a piece of the franchise. And yet, despite that–or more accurately, because of that–the Pack remain a dynastic team that consistently competes among the league’s elites.
Why would the NFL’s most ruthless capitalist embrace that model? Because then Jerry Jones could finally get what he really wants most–another Super Bowl win.
Think of it: 300,000 Cowboys fans, in Texas and around the world, willing to pony up $10,000 apiece (a pittance compared to the personal seat licenses fans pay to dib a prime viewing seat at Cowboys Stadium, much less a luxury box) to call themselves part-owners. That’s $3 billion more for Jerry. He also gets to keep the stadium receipts (like all that pizza money ).
Meanwhile, a real GM is hired, and, finally, a better football team takes shape, and brings back the Lombardi Trophy. That earns Jerry absolute forgiveness, both from everyone who’s suffered the past decade-plus, and from older fans who haven’t forgotten Jones’s classless firing of Tom Landry.
Jones and his son Stephen might even be retained as business managers, so they can continue to wheel and deal. And if Jerry needs to get his football ya-yas out, he can always donate more dough to his alma mater the University of Arkansas, which, in its current state, can probably use him as a bench jockey and armchair general manager (it’s been suggested Jones was at least partially responsible for the Razorbacks’ overture to LSU head coach Les Miles this week).
The NFL is a very complicated game and business, one that requires specialized expertise at every level. The owner of the Jones-era Cowboys has tried to do it all for the past 15 years. He’s succeeded wildly at revenue and branding, but ultimately failed by not delivering on his business’s core-product: the football team.
So go socialist, Jerry! Make yourself a hero to the fans, and make the Dallas Cowboys worthy of their global fan base once again.
Joe Nick Patoski is the author of THE DALLAS COWBOYS: The Outrageous History of the Biggest, Loudest, Most Hated, Best Loved Football Team in America (Little, Brown). Read an excerpt from it here.