Jerry's Journey: The road to the Pro Football Hall of Fame

We're all aware on Saturday that Dallas Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones will be enshrined into the pro-football hall of fame.

The one-time insurance salesman and oil-and gas prospector became the biggest power-broker among NFL owners.

FOX 4 Sports is taking a look back at where his Jerry’s NFL journey began, how he helped shape “America’s team” and revolutionized today's NFL. His aggressiveness and ambition taught everyone in the lucrative business of sports the importance of building their own brand.

On February 25, 1989, Jerral Wayne Jones buys the Cowboys from Bum Bright. And America's team enters an era unlike any other it had ever seen.

Jerry started his tenure by firing the most revered figure in the franchise's history.  Tom Landry's teams had struggled in recent years, and Jones wanted to make a change. Many never forgave him for it.

Jones brought in his former university of Arkansas teammate Jimmy Johnson, whom he hired away from the University of Miami. Jimmy and Jerry teamed up to win back-to-back super bowls in 1992 and 1993

But the Cowboys stage wasn't big enough for both of their egos. In March of 1994, they broke up. And many have never forgiven Jerry for it.

But since that last championship in 1996, the Cowboys have defined NFL mediocrity — on the field, anyway. No championships but plenty of notoriety — often known more for suspensions than victories.

It's Jones’ work off the field that put him over the top in the minds of the voters who've elected him into the Hall of Fame.

Jones broke from league tradition and worked out his own marketing deals. The NFL didn't like it and sued the Cowboys owner. But Jerry prevailed.

It was Jones who led the way on a groundbreaking TV deal in the mid-90s that brought an upstart network called FOX into the world of NFL television and has brought extra billions into the pockets of NFL owners.

On the field — from Gailey to Campo to Phillips and even with Parcells, Jones could not get back to a super bowl. But he somehow kept the Cowboys brand as relevant as ever, staying a step ahead of the competition when it came to marketing, media and facilities.

In 2009, what is now known as the AT&T Stadium opened with its 60-yard long video screen — a first for an American stadium.

Then in 2016, the team's new headquarters in Frisco opened. The Star features a 12,000 seat indoor stadium in a partnership with Frisco ISD.

The Jones family runs the Cowboys with Stephen, Charlotte and Jerry, Jr. all making decisions in the front office.

And in Canton, Jerry's wife, Gene, will introduce him before he's inducted into the hall Jerry calls Gene his closest advisor and at times his harshest critic.

Jerry and his family have worked hard to make the Cowboys the most valuable sports franchise in the world. It’s a team he bought for $150 million that is now worth $4 billion.

But Jones claims he'd give a lot of that back to get a fourth super bowl trophy.

Jones might be the most polarizing sports figure this area has ever seen, but those close to Jerry are surprised by his ability to connect with people one on one.

In NFL circles, Jerry Jones has won hard-earned respect for the deals he's done and the money he's made for the NFL. And it's that respect that has paved Jerry Jones’ way into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Former TCU star LaDainian Tomlinson is also being inducted. The former San Diego Chargers running back tweeted he was on his way with a picture of a sign for Canton. Tomlinson grew up in Waco before heading to Fort Worth for college.

Up Next:


  • Popular

  • Recent

Stories You May Be Interested In - includes advertiser stories