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Joe Buck on Why Jerry Jones Deserves Credit for Keeping the Cowboys Relevant

He explains why the Dallas owner is the most forward-thinking person in the NFL on ‘The Bill Simmons Podcast’

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Jerry Jones has had complete control over the Cowboys’ football operations for over two decades. In the time since its ’90s dynasty was broken up, Dallas has often struggled — failing to make it to the NFC championship game since 1995. But Fox broadcaster Joe Buck thinks Jones deserves credit for keeping the Cowboys relevant for all of these years.

Listen to the full podcast here. This transcript has been edited and condensed.

Bill Simmons: It’s been 20-plus years since they meant anything, and you have all these Cowboys fans now that are under 30 that have never really [seen the team make] a run before. It’s going to be really interesting.

Joe Buck: And how amazing is it that they’ve stayed relevant while they have been — since [Troy] Aikman left and since they had that run — up until this year, basically a .500 team? I mean, almost exactly .500, [by] cumulative numbers. And yet, as you’ve seen the articles, no team on network television brings the audience of the Dallas Cowboys and no team has as much interest, and I would submit to you: it’s because of the owner.

Jerry Jones has kept that team relevant. Whether it’s the little feuds that have gone on — the Jimmy Johnson thing started it, they went to the top of the mountain and couldn’t coexist. And then, Aikman is phased out and the triplets are gone. There have been stretches where they’ve been terrible. With Chad Hutchinson at quarterback and different guys that shouldn’t have been in the NFL or weren’t capable of being a leading man on a stage like that. My god. They [still] have the most relevance in the NFL television-ratings-wise, I mean, it’s undeniable.

He fascinates me. Jerry Jones is the GM and the guy that will kind of say kooky shit and now it’s kind of backed up his plan. When does he get credit for being the GM that’s put this offensive line together and took hits for drafting a running back as high as he drafted Ezekiel Elliott? People thought that was a bad pick and look what [Elliott has] done.

Simmons: And the stadium. I mean, he made two of the great business decisions in the history of the league. One was what he paid for the Cowboys. He knew he was buying a brand. He wasn’t looking at what he was buying [as just a football team] — more [at] what they meant — which was super smart and people really weren’t totally thinking that way in the ’80s. Then the stadium is one of the great things that has been built by an owner in the last 30 years. It’s a spectacle and it’s friggin’ awesome.

Buck: I think he’ll go into the Hall of Fame, potentially this year. I think you can look at whatever business hall of fame there is. Jimmy Johnson, even at the height of their, "I don’t like you, you don’t like me" relationship, said "If I had $1 left in my pocket, I would give it to Jerry Jones and say ‘make something out of this.’" This guy is a forward-thinking business genius. You may not like him as a GM. I personally think he deserves a lot of credit for this team. But man, as far as forward-thinking people in the NFL, the money he’s made the other owners from these TV deals [and the way] he’s kind of taken the baton forward even more, and with these stadiums that are being built [as] multipurpose, multi-event [buildings] across different sports. Holy god, that guy has made money, and he was flat broke when he bought the Cowboys in ’89, to the point where when I interviewed him on my DirecTV show, I talked to his daughter and she said, "I remember him being so stressed, that we were at the family dinner table and he was raising his water glass to his mouth to drink, his hand was shaking so much, the ice cubes were clanking to the sides of the glass, he was a wreck." And look where he sits right now. It’s remarkable.