The San Francisco 49ers look for their first win this weekend, as they host the Dallas Cowboys. There will be plenty to watch on the football field, but off the field there is a storyline that I have found intriguing.
I know some won’t care about it, but the Jerry Jones-Jed York dynamic is an intriguing one. There is a wide spectrum of owners in the NFL, with one end involving those who are not overly concerned about the on-field product or the ego aspects of owning a football. On the other side is Jerry Jones. He wants to make a ton of money, but considering he is also the team’s general manager, the ego side of things is incredibly important to him.
We do a weekly Q&A with the opposing team blog, and this week we chatted with Dave Halprin of Blogging The Boys. I asked him about different aspects of the team’s on-field performance, but I had to ask Dave about Jerry Jones, and how Cowboys fans view him.
49ers fans were loving Jed York in the early Harbaugh years, but when things turned south, fans turned in a hurry. His work amidst the protests combined with his willingness to turn the keys over to John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan has a sizable chunk of fans cautiously optimistic, but plenty are still assessing the situation. It makes for an interesting dichotomy when compared with Jerry Jones.
Here’s what Dave said about the Cowboys owner.
Ah, Jerry Jones. There's not a whole lot of middle ground when it comes to Jerry. Although he does come in for a lot of criticism among Cowboys fans, too. There seem to be different periods to his time in Dallas. The start, when he teamed up with Jimmy Johnson to win three Super Bowls in four years (although Johnson wasn't there for the last one) gave him a lot of credit with Cowboys fans. But even then, with the controversy over Johnson leaving, there's always the bad to go along with the good with Jerry. Then came the lean years. The years when Jerry seemed to buy his own hype and tried to do it all himself. That didn't work and the Cowboys suffered greatly.
The Cowboys finally left those dark ages when Jerry hired Bill Parcells. The Tuna helped revive the franchise and put in place a culture where the coaches and the scouts seem to have more say. That has carried on to today with Jason Garrett, who is by no means a puppet coach. He, pseudo-general manager Will McClay and Stephen Jones have a lot of power in Dallas, and sometimes overrule Jerry (see Johnny Manziel draft episode). Jerry is still in charge, but he has relinquished a lot of the decision-making to others, and Stephen Jones seem like a very competent and level-headed successor when the time comes.
The thing Cowboys fans love about Jerry is he will do anything, and spend any amount of money, to make the Cowboys winners. However misguided some of his efforts are, he's always trying. Unlike some other owners who don't like to spend money on their team, or seem to take very little interest in what happens, Jerry cares deeply about the Cowboys. Fans appreciate the fact that he will always work to make them better. As for his recent comments on the national anthem, my guess is some fans agreed, some didn't, but I would guess a large majority wished he had just kept his mouth shut. Another distraction is the last thing the Cowboys need right now. But with Jerry, no matter what else you get, you will always get a mouth that works overtime. Sometimes it's good, many times it's bad. It's a mixed-bag with Jerry, but at least we know he's trying.