During a November visit to Back on record with Bob CostasCowboys owner Jerry Jones said the NFL couldn’t complain about scrutiny when the NFL welcomed attention.
“We’re doing everything we can to get people to watch the NFL,” Jones said at the time. “Stop looking away, look at the NFL. We want you to appreciate the nuances of the game. In fact, on a personal level, the more transparent it is, the more behind the scenes you are, the more involved you are, to me the more you enjoy the game. I think when we ask in the country to be as interested in professional football as you are, you should expect these kinds of questions.
Jones was even more outspoken about his belief that even bad news is good for business in recent comments to Peter King of Football Morning in America.
“Let me tell you a story,” Jones told King. “A few years after buying the team, I’m in Los Angeles having lunch with David Hill and Ed Goren of Fox. At that time, there were a lot of negative headlines about the Cowboys. Michael Irvin was making headlines. People say, “The owner is an outlaw!” And so that day, I said to them, ‘I’m tightening the lid on this franchise. We will take control of this team.
“And David Hill jumped. He said no! Don’t touch my ‘Boys! They are TV gold! Do not even think about it !’”
Why would Fox find such a bunch of negativity appealing?
“The weaknesses, the soap opera, the issues,” Jones said. “They create interest. Add to that the Senior Bowl, the Combine, free agency, the draft, training camp, we always have something to do. People follow us all year round. The owner enters the newspaper from time to time. It just adds to the interest, all of it. People love that.
Jones has been in the log a few times this offseason, for reasons that weren’t good. His longtime PR czar left abruptly, and soon after, we found out that Rich Dalrymple’s departure was apparently linked to a voyeurism scandal involving members of the cheerleading squad – an incident that doesn’t was never investigated by the league, despite a reported $2.4 million settlement being paid. Then Jones was sued by a woman who claims he is her father. More recently, Jones’ close friend John Schnatter, the former CEO of Papa John’s, was very outspoken last month about his belief that Jones and Washington owner Daniel Snyder wanted Schnatter to help them getting Commissioner Roger Goodell fired at the height of the anthem controversy in 2017.
Nevertheless, Jones thinks that all attention is good attention. Not everyone in the NFL ecosystem obviously agrees. Over the years, we have received many complaints about the stories we have covered or the opinions we have expressed from the league office and, at one time or another, from most teams.
However, the Cowboys never complained. Once there was a picture of coach Jason Garrett capturing him with a mad, mad look on his face. The Cowboys kindly asked us not to use it anymore.
Other than that, nothing. Not a complaint. Not a word. Not a word.
Good or bad, Jones embraces all of the NFL’s attention. And maybe he’s onto something. Despite the various controversies of the past 20 years (as recounted in playmakers), the NFL is bigger and better and more financially prosperous than ever.