To understand Jerry Jones, read Dan Jenkinsby J.W. Miller on 11/27/17
I’m a big fan of sports writer Dan Jenkins, one of those twangy Texas scribblers who writes in a foreign language. At least, that’s how his writing sounds to the rest of us who wonder at the magnificent way he explains the wildlife park that we call “sports” in words shorter than “watermelon.”
Some of my Jenkins favorites: “Always keep in mind if God didn’t want golfers to have mulligans, balls would not come three to a sleeve.” How about this one: “Baseball would be a lot more exciting if more third basemen were hit in the teeth by line drivers.” Back to golf: “The devoted golfer is an anguished soul who has learned a lot about putting just as an avalanche victim has learned a lot about snow.” And to the sport of the season: “Until Sammy Baugh, pro football in Texas was a one-paragraph story on the back page of Monday’s sport section.”
Speaking of professional football in Texas, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is well aware of the effect of Texas sportswriters on how he conducts his daily business. At a dinner a few years ago for fabled editor Blackie Sherrod, who hired Jenkins and a cast of other revelers at the Fort Worth Press, Jones roasted the entire species: “When I came to Dallas,” Jones cracked, “this room (of sportswriters) greatly influenced me. I saw how you could take a little bit of fact and put a lot of bullshit with it and really do something in sports!” Since Jones and Roger Goodell have been engaged in their recent parry and thrust routine lately, nobody is quite sure how much is fact and how much is bullbleep, but as their snit has evolved I’ve wondered how Jenkins’ greatest contribution to sports literature would have applied to Jones?
I am talking about Jenkins’ legendary section in his classic book Baja Oklahoma in which he memorialized “Mankind’s Ten Stages of Drunkenness.” It is a masterful description of those of us who start tippling, are emboldened to have another and on and on until the world lays bare at our feet. If you have never heard it before, then the application to Jerry Jones might give you some sense of perspective. I humbly offer to you:
The Ten Stages of Jerry Jones
1. Witty and Charming, 2. Rich and Powerful. I can see oilman Jones in his early courting of the NFL to buy “America’s Team.” He was charming and convincing that he had the financial wherewithal and the smack to fit right into the group.
3. Benevolent. After he bought the team, Jones established the Jones Family Foundation that supports numerous community outreach and has continued to become one of the NFL’s great philanthropists.
4. Clairvoyant. Jones’ business acumen has often been interpreted as a clairvoyance that takes a business-as-usual practice and spins it into a bigger pie. His deal with Pepsi, only months after he bought the team, violated the league’s relationship with Coke, but the parties compromised which set a tone that had other owners believing in Jones’ intuitive ideas.
5. F---- Dinner! We’ve all been at the point where we would rather have another drink than go to dinner, but this stage also reflects Jones’ intensity and assertiveness in dropping what he is doing to move quickly into another revolutionary idea that will make even more money.
6. Patriotic, 7. Crank up the Enola Gay. Jones was quick to take former QB Roger Staubach’s service in the U.S. Navy and expand it to regular tributes to the military. Like the guy at the end of the bar who sees the National Anthem on the big screen, you can almost picture Jones standing, saluting and wishing the football in his suite contained the nuclear codes.
8. Witty and Charming, Part II. This is where Jones begins to talk even more sweetly to his fellow owners about new initiatives and projects that will only expand the pot, so long as they agree with him.
9. Invisible, 10. Bulletproof.. The final stages came officially when Jones was elected earlier this year to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. At that point, I could see Jerry’s eyes glazing over as he eyed the end zone. He races downfield, avoiding the league office’s defenders as he crosses the only goal left that he has not achieved. Jones has denied his fight with Goodell was to take over the Park Avenue commissioner’s suite, but that goal fits right in with Jenkins’ final stage. His hero, fueled with copious amounts of alcohol – or power? – is convinced he is right even as he reaches the ultimate stage of delusional behavior.