Where it began
Jerry Jones’ go-getter personality, and innovative demeanor were put on display at an early age. According to an interview with D Magazine, Pat Jones, father and owner of the grocery store Jerry Jones worked for, was a hands-on owner who would do just about anything to please his customers. Jerry Jones recalls a time his father walked around in cowboy gear, which included guns and a holster to encourage customers to make purchases at his store (Stephenson, 2013). His father’s main goal was to sell the product or service. So the nine-year-old boy dressed in white with a bow tie became his father’s number one salesman. Jones recalls pushing carts around for customers whom he thought might tip him some extra change. From then on, his family knew he was going to flourish in the future.
University of Arkansas
At 182 pounds, Jerry Jones was not your prototypical offensive lineman. In 1964, the season the University of Arkansas Razorbacks won a NCAA Football National Championship, Jones was a co-captain. For a co-captain he had an unusual set of characteristics. Bill Ferrell, the University of Arkansas athletic trainer said to Jones, “I believe you have the lowest tolerance for pain of any kid we have ever had at this school,” (Stephenson, 2013) but Jones wasn’t enclosed in his thoughts.
“I’m different from these other guys. I feel more, I see more, I talk more. I just have a lot more feelings than these other guys” (Stephenson, 2013).
After posting a perfect regular season record, the Arkansas Razorbacks met the Nebraska Cornhuskers in the national championship game. Although overpowered by the Nebraska defensive linemen, Jones was determined to help lead his team to a national championship; and so he did. The Razorbacks ended up winning a low-scoring, close game by three points.
The following year he graduated from the university with a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration, and later earned a Master of Arts degree. He used his heart-felt, determined, adaptable and innovative mind to not only excel in the classroom and on the football field, but also outside of the university.
Before Jerral Wayne Jones became “Jerry”
- Shakey’s Pizza Parlor in Missouri
- Modern Security of Life Springfield, Missouri
- Jones Oil and Land Lease
The San Diego Chargers
Jerry Jones had an aspiration for owning a professional football team and thinks back on the time he almost bought the San Diego Chargers:
I met with Hilton. He wanted $5.8 million for the Chargers. I went to Kansas City to visit Lamar Hunt, who treated me like a Rockefeller even though I didn’t have any money. Lamar went over all the financials of the team and the league. He told me there was no TV money for the AFL and that the Chargers and everyone else were losing money. He told me that despite that, they were going to compete with the NFL and spend money and sign the best college players. I knew the financials didn’t look good. But I wanted to do it.
Then I met with my father. He asked me what in the world I was doing. He told me I was supposed to be working in the insurance business and that I still had the pizza-parlor deal to work out. He told me to let football go, that by my own admission the Chargers wouldn’t work financially. He told me, “I hate to see you start life behind the eight ball.”
And though I had the financing in place, I finally agreed with my dad and decided not to do it. Now, of course, just a few months later, the AFL and the NFL merged. The value of the Chargers skyrocketed. What I could have had for $5.8 million was then sold for over $11 million. My dad told that story for the rest of his life, how he had talked me out of earning millions at age 25. I was disappointed, but I knew I was still on track to reach my ambition (Burke, 2012).
Despite missing out on what seemed like a “once in a lifetime” opportunity, Jerry Jones ran right into another one years later.
The Dallas Cowboys
When Jerry Jones bought the Dallas Cowboys for $160 million, the team was losing $1 million dollars monthly, which included interest payments that were as high as eleven percent. Although, these numbers appeared troubling to handle, Jones promptly dealt with the cash flow problems. He searched for new ways to create revenue, and the rest is in the books.