There have been “euphoric” moments, like the team’s landslide 52-17 win in Super Bowl XXVII. There have been crushingly low moments, like the 1994 NFC Championship loss to San Francisco despite having what was widely considered “the best team.” There have been draft pick busts, lost-cause seasons, players who slipped away, and personnel moves that tanked.
But ask Stephen Jones about his top regret in his time as executive vice president of the Dallas Cowboys, and the 57-year-old doesn’t need long to come up with an answer.
“Probably would have signed Dak the first time around,” he said with a big laugh, “and it would have been better for everybody.”
Jones sat down for a wide-ranging interview with KXAS-TV recently, and while Jerry’s oldest son touched on the larger-than-life Cowboys greats he’s been fortunate enough to be around, like former quarterbacks Troy Aikman and Tony Romo, most of the conversation revolved around things like legacy and family.
Jones called the construction of AT&T Stadium and the creation of The Star in Frisco as the team’s headquarters, for instance, the front-office decision he’s most proud of, as both sites have set the bar for other teams’ facilities across the sports world.
Those projects came well after the Jones family had turned around the once-struggling franchise, taking the Cowboys from basement-dwelling laughing stock to the most valuable franchise in sport and one of the most recognizable brands on the planet.
Jones was a novice regarding the business of football when his father bought the team in 1989. He credits much of his on-the-job learning to Cowboys personalities like longtime scouting director Larry Lacewell, as well as coaches that included Jimmy Johnson, Barry Switzer, Bill Parcells, and Jason Garrett.
Interestingly, Jones also believes the introduction of the salary cap in 1994- in the middle of the team’s dynasty run- helped him, at 30, earn a reputation as one of the league’s financial masterminds.
“It was a new system, and so no one knew it,” Jones told the affiliate’s Pat Doney. “[Former Giants GM] George Young didn’t know it, [former Bills, Panthers, and Colts GM] Bill Polian didn’t know it, and of course, it’s a lot easier to learn something when you’re young.”
But the man for whom Super Bowl wins became a family business says his best football memories of all are the ones he shared with his own son. As quarterback, John Stephen led his high school squad to back-to-back Texas state titles in 2016 and 2017, with both victories coming in the Cowboys’ home stadium.
“I’ll say it and Jerry will actually say it, and I think he means it, too,” Jones admitted. “I enjoyed that more than our three Super Bowls that we won. It was just amazing to see that go on and happen right before our eyes. Enjoyed every minute of it.”
Those high school championships are no doubt wonderful for the Jones family, but the Cowboys’ global fanbase would overwhelmingly prefer to add another Lombardi Trophy (or two or three) to that spiffy display case at The Star.
Dorance Armstrong enters the final year of his deal with more competition than ever
View 5 items
Cowboys may have snagged edge Tarell Basham just in time for his best days
View 5 items
Cowboys News: Dak Prescott vs Matt Stafford debate, playing a 17-game slate
View 13 items