Who is Jerry Jones?

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.

Jerry was devoted, and is still devoted to making the Dallas Cowboys the most profitable franchises in the history of sports, let alone the National Football League (NFL). He turned the organization into a $4.2 billion franchise. While improving his franchise, he continued to do a lot to make professional football a relevant sport in America and the world. He showed teams how to make money off of training camps, he showed owners why they should sell sponsorships within their stadiums, and he “triggered a concentric boom of football-centric stadiums” (Gosselin, 2016).  He’s always looking for the next big thing, and isn’t afraid to take risks.

Today’s NFL: The Blackout Rule

What is the 72 hour rule?

The 72 hour rule allows NFL organizations to deny local television broadcasters (within 75 miles of the stadium) the rights to televise games if those particular matchups fail to sell out 85% of the seats in the stadium within 72 hours of kickoff. This rule was imposed to protect the financial interests of sports teams.

However, since the rule was established in 1961 the NFL has developed into one of the most watched, and highly publicized sports in North America and overseas. No longer is there a need for the 72 hour rule because stadium revenues, which include ticket sales, account for a fraction of the total revenue generated by professional football teams. Corporate sponsorships, merchandising, and licensing are some of the more profitable financial mechanisms to lead to increased profits by the NFL.

The good news

The NFL suspended the blackout rule for the 2015 and 2016 seasons and is currently re-evaluating the rule for the 2017 season.

Daniel Kaplan of SportsBusiness Journal reported that before the decision to suspend the rule was finalized in 2015, the league had already seen a diminishing value of the rule.  Kaplan points out that there were no blackouts in 2014, and only two in 2013. He also notes, the average attendance per game dropped only 0.5 percent.

The continuance of the suspension, or a repeal of the rule altogether will greatly benefit the fans of cities with professional football teams. With increasing ticket prices, the experience is becoming more and more costly and having the opportunity to still watch your team play at least eight times a season is invaluable.

What lies ahead

If you are like me, and you were born and raised in Iowa where there are no current professional football teams then the blackout rule doesn’t pertain to you. You’ll just have to watch the nationally televised games in your respected region slotted for Sundays unless you are willing to purchase the NFL Sunday Package from your respective TV provider.

If you live right next to an NFL stadium, you should be relieved to hear that regardless of if the rule remains intact after the upcoming decision preceding the 2017 season, the availability of local games shouldn’t be affected via Kaplan.