Jerry Jones on “60 Minutes”: “I Do Not” [Think a Lockout Would Be Disastrous for the NFL]

This part of Jerry Jones’ Sunday 60 Minutes profile didn’t air, but it’s worth reviewing.  The skinny — he offers a ”trust us,” message to the players association and the fans, and says the ”stand” ownership is taking is all on our [the fans] behalf.

I’m feeling a lot more pessimistic about an early agreement after seeing this clip.  Watch it yourself:

Rafael Vela

Rafael Vela

Senior Analyst Cowboys at Sports Talk Line
Started covering Dallas Cowboys @ in '95 and '96. Two more stops along the way and here I am. Senior Analyst for
Rafael Vela

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  • Burmafrd

    Raf, this SOCCER IS THE NEXT BIG THING has been going on for 30 years. Kids who play youth soccer have never maintained any real interest in later years. It has never attracted much attention otherwise in the US. IT will remain the next big thing until the youth keep on lovin it into their thirties- which they have not and I see no signs that they will.

    • ym

      Is is too simplistic to say that the reason soccer isn’t popular is because it’s not ad friendly, like every sport that is televised here? Or is it an issue of it being too boring (take the final World Cup game)? If a network had to choose, would they air car racing, where you can take a commercial break any time, or a soccer game?

      • Oklahoma

        The following are my impressions as a long-time football fan and a person who appreciates English soccer, though with only a surface knowledge of that game. The discrepancy between the approach, to their respective games, of American Football fans and English soccer fans reflects deep cultural differences. I can understand the perspective of American football fans who think low-scoring soccer is boring, and I doubt it would ever threaten the NFL (more at risk of self-imploding through greed – Al Davis, Danny Snyder and Jerry Jones, gee what’s not to like). But it isn’t just that soccer is lacking in complexity. The NFL is to soccer what an action movie is to drama. I may be mistaken but it strikes me that soccer fans are brought up to judge their team’s performance, not merely on whether they won or lost, but on a multitude of obscure variables and miniscule nuances, including the number of shots on goal, how much and how beautifully (if Arsenal) their team controlled the ball, whether or not their team played attacking soccer, etc. Similarly, most clubs’ fans don’t even aspire for their team to win the Premier League, but just to finish out of the relegation zone, or mid-league, or top 6. Still, factor in the beautiful grass fields, the interesting (albeit old) stadiums, the incredible passion of the fans, the singing, chanting, banter, etc. and it makes for a spectacle. That said, I doubt that Americans would be as happy in the pub after their team fought to a 0-0 score, content because the one point awarded for a draw kept their club mid-table.

        On a related note, in my opinion the English Premier League would benefit from the revenue sharing, parity structure of the NFL. The wealthy few (led by Manchester United and Chelsea) dominate in England as much as the 70s Steelers and Cowboys. On the other hand, with 3 teams a year facing relegation (or demotion to a lower less lucrative league) there is always fear-based interest and passion at the bottom end of the league standings. The NFL is seeking to market its product in the UK, with the recent 49ers-Denver game at Wembley. While there is an enthusiastic tiny minority of support for American football in Europe, the average sports fan (as with Americans contemplating soccer) doesn’t seem that interested. By no means representative, but complaints I have heard, when in the UK, about American football include: the annoying frequency of the stoppages, an excess of rules and penalties, and (believe it or not) the slovenly, fat-ness of several linemen, etc. The BBC broadcasts the Super Bowl, which I think attracts sufficient interest, but my guess is more out of the entertainment value of American showmanship than a love of the game.

  • Smalfish

    I think Jerry is right that a lock out won’t be disasterous. The people of this country will flock to the gate yet again once the bad blood has been turned to sweet water. Just as they have for all the other sports that have done the same thing. Sure popularity will wane, but the revenues will always be there. As for me, once football takes it’s billionaires vacation, I’m done. Just as I was when baseball and hockey did their whiney thing. I was a baseball fan since birth but since the whole charade of money went south, I never looked back. When the NFL does the same thing I won’t have a reservation about turning against them too.

  • Os_b

    Let me see if I understand here:

    I am to spend between $500,000,000.00 to $1,000,000,000.00 to purchase one of 32 franchises. I am then responsible for all aspects of that organization regardless of the economy or the culture of the country. In other words, I have paid or owe part of the $1/2 billion to $1 billion I spent on the team regardless of an economic downturn. I also owe or do not have that money if the populace of this country decides that it once again likes baseball more than football (or if soccer finally catches on here, for instance), and refuses to spend its money to watch the games.

    I have assumed all the risk, have invested all the money, but have to split the profits with employees that do nothing more than invest their manual labor. The employees lose their jobs and subsequently their earning potential if the league flounders, but I lose the $500,000,000.00 to $1,000,000,000.00 I invested, and my earning potential.

    As an owner, I assume all the risk, I want all of the profit. The employees should be part of the operating expense.

    This happens in all industries: health insurance, entertainment, energy, and so forth. The difference is that the NFL players association is a powerful union.

    • “I have assumed all the risk, have invested all the money,”‘

      NFL players life expectancy is roughly fifteen years less than the average U.S. male’s. 20% of each NFL roster suffers serious, season-ending injury every year, and working is contingent upon playing through lesser, but still serious ones.

      But the players have made no risk at all, and add no value to the owners products? That value Jerry and the other owners enjoy comes solely through Jerry, not through the work the coaches and players create?


      • ” but have to split the profits with employees that do nothing more than invest their manual labor.”‘

        And what is the purpose of this and every other sports site, if not to closely parse, evaluate and discuss that ”manual labor” you so blithely dismiss?

        • Os_b

          Several months ago, I moved. The movers my wife hired were paid a portion of what we paid in total: the owner of the company actually made the rest, despite not lifting or moving one item.

          Such is the service industry. The value of the product is the manual labor provided by the movers, not the owner. The owner has made a financial investment with marketing, liability coverage, and equipment.

          People in the military, individuals working jobs that involve hard manual labor, and those that complete jobs that have inherent risk (construction on a high rise, test pilot, and so forth) share the same or worse risks than those players on the football field. Many more people completing those jobs become disabled without hundreds of thousands of dollars to fall back on, let alone millions.

          The high visibility and demand for the work the players do and the strength of the players union is what has chiefly driven up their salaries. The average fan is gradually being priced-out of being able to attend a football game. In fact, just a few years ago, Direct TV used to charge about $180.00 per season for the Sunday ticket: it is now about twice that.

          But how is this business model any different from what a health care insurance company does? Millions of Americans spend hundreds of thousands of dollars over their life to insure against financial ruin in case of a devastating event that negatively impacts their health and consequently their quality of life. The CEO’s of the major health insurance companies make upwards of $30 million annually. The health insurance industry makes an estimated annual income of $2.2 trillion.

          In the meantime, physicians, nurses, therapists, and other allied health professionals receive the trickle down of what the wealthy leave as scraps. The average American family, or the customers in this case, are left paying about $12,000 per year for an every dwindling product. People have organized “tea parties”, senators have violently protested against the system, and even the most powerful man in the world, the current American president has spent a good portion of his office fighting the injustices in the system.

          Still the same business model persists. It is the American way, I guess.

          Forgive me if I assume the role of the business owner. The man that makes the financial investment and assumes all of the financial risk. Forgive me if by assuming that role I seem insensitive to the financial needs of my employees, whom have no direct financial investment in my business, but do provide the service from which I profit.

          As I outlined above: it is the way of the American free market system. I see business owners in all industries profitting as much if not more than me from the toiling of those less wealthy.

          In a way, to expect for this process to favor the worker would be Un-American.

          • AustonianAggie

            Well this is why we have unions. I’m glad to see them making a comeback.

          • AustonianAggie

            PS I’d love to see the Insurance companies gutted. If we are legally required to pay a corporation, I’d like to see the public own it as a state institution. Calling upon ideology here is unhelpful.

          • Northstar

            You want no part of that, believe me. I know from whence I speak.

      • TL fan

        And don’t forget the talented college players who never made it to the pros because of injuries they sustained as college players, or the HS players who never made it to college because of injuries.

        HBO did a good piece recently about head injuries suffered while playing football. It was scary stuff, including the John Mackey interview from Super Bowl V fame. He has totally lost his mind due to head trama.

    • MadMick

      “I also owe or do not have that money if the populace of this country decides that it once again likes baseball more than football (or if soccer finally catches on here, for instance),” None of that is ever going to happen. Besides, basketball’s the distant second, not baseball. As for organized team kick the can but instead with a ball, the whole populace isn’t going to go backwards in enjoying something that boring.

      Unless, of course, Goddell finds a way to pinkify the game even more during Breast Cancer Awareness month-and-a-half and starts making the defenders wear shock collars that are activated if they get too close to the QB’s lady parts.

      • People are gonna watch something. I got into a lot of debates about this during the World Cup, which, sadly, was boring as watching my dad take a nap, but the big club seasons start in August, when the NFL won’t be playing.

        Not saying it will replace any of the big sports, but soccer will get a window to increase its foothold. Remember, it’s not competing with US sports, since people who follow it follow clubs in other countries, not MLS.

        That’s to soccer’s benefit. It plays during weekend breakfast and weekday afternoons. But it will benefit.

        It already has. It’s big with the under 30 set. The major sports, the NFL and baseball, have average fan ages in the 50s in the former’s case and over 60 in the latter’s.

        A lockout would just speed up the change.

        • Sergio Padron

          Madmick, I’d be careful about the pinkifying thing. If you watch the NFL Network, for example, almost the entirety of ads are directed at male viewers. And while this might be true for other “major” sports in the US as well, American women have had huge success worldwide and have been a force to reckon with playing soccer. There are girls and young women playing and following soccer all across the US. They will very soon if not already become a palatable dish for advertisers and networks. That’s a market share I’m sure the NFL is aware of and would like to take a piece of. But as Rafa says, with a lockout some leagues will try to get better market shares, possibly in detriment of NFL viewership.

          • MadMick

            Interesting angle I hadn’t even considered, Sergio. It still looks awful and I question how much of an uptick in accompanying female-oriented merchandise could actually be created by having players doing something as odd and silly looking as wearing pink shoes and wristbands for a quarter of the damn season? I mean pink merchandise for female fans has been around for a quite while now long before Dictator Goodell mandated this very special month. But yeah, I can see how the honchos would like that much more moolah funneling in by tapping into the female demographic if that’s an underlying motive. See, I had only considered it as a charitable type “raising awareness” thing and wondered why instead of decking out the players in pink decorations they just didn’t keep a phone number or website up ticking across the bottom of the screen informing people how to contribute during the entirety of the game.

            It’s not like Billy Joe Wifebeater or Rufus R. Redneck is going to trip over their beer coolers rushing out to combat breast cancer because a light bulb goes off after they realized why their favorite linebacker is wearing pink shoes.

            Well, so long as a portion the sales from the pink gear go to a good cause I really shouldn’t be complaining. But surely there has to be a more dignified way to give a nod to raising breast cancer awareness than that. Surely something much less garish like a patch or decal on the helmet or jersey would suffice without all the players looking like charter members of the peek-a-boo posse.

          • ym

            What I find interesting is that the NFL does not have prostate cancer awareness month. Prostate cancer is as deadly as breast cancer and is harder to detect; we need more awareness of this. It would be more relevant to the players and audience. It is just too embarrassing to talk about?

          • kameleon_o

            Good points. Men don’t get out and march over their illnesses. It’s just accepted that we’ll suffer through our diseases in silence while money is spent researching cures for more popular diseases. After all, we’re just men. Who cares what happens to us??

        • MadMick

          Ah yes, the hipster demographic. Okay, I’ll admit that’s probably too broad of a generalization considering soccer does also have a pretty strong foothold across the board with Hispanic and female demographics as well. But like you said, the fact that the pro soccer equivalent to the NFL or NBA is Europe’s Premier League means stateside the best soccer can probably ever be is THE niche sport. To qualify that, I think at best hockey should be considered a niche or regionally relevant sport as I’m sure the Atlanta Thrashers don’t garner even a fraction of the interest that town’s Hawks or Falcons do.

          Globally I understand that soccer will always be “IT” but I can’t imagine it ever rivaling the NFL or NBA’s ability to captivate the collective consciousness over here. There’s simply not enough scoring or highlights to capture the imagination of a generation raised on Sportscenter and spoiled by a game as complex as pro football or the athletic prowess of the NBA.
          As for the average age of fans I think that has to be a much larger concern for baseball as the NFL certainly won’t have any problem cultivating new younger fans to replace the aged ones.

          A much more intriguing topic to breach is how much extra danger will an 18-game schedule put the QB’s or other superstars in once the NFL solves its labor disharmony? But the flipside and immediate counter-argument to that is: A.) as far as I can tell either QB play is as competent as it’s ever been or perhaps: B.) the constant tweaks and rule changes favoring the offense as well as sophistication of the passing game has made it so where you no longer need one of the 5-10 most physically gifted QB’s on the planet to be a contender.

          The NFL’s popularity didn’t suffer one little bit losing the most successful if not best QB of this generation in Tom Brady on opening weekend a few seasons ago. Of course, that’s probably because of how hated Brady and the Patsies are (probably still a distant second to our beloved Cowboys) and how many hardcore fans of other teams were thrilled that the Patsies weren’t a real factor to win it all anymore.

          Even with a half-season stoppage, I can’t imagine any sport will come along to lap up enough crumbs to make any dent in the NFL’s foothold as America’s Game. The NBA certainly has the chance to recapture some of that “what long-suffering superstar’s finger will Jordan keep a ring off of this season?” mid-90s magic with Miami’s ESPN-approved superstar conglomerate ; but Kobe is getting up there and after that the next best player in the league Kevin Durant plays for the unsexy Oklahoma City Thunder.

        • Os_b

          World Cup 2010

          Argentina = Dallas Cowboys

          A popular team with an enormous following that had high hopes to win, but was led by a pathetic coach that paved the way to an early exit in embarrassing fashion.

          Of course I cheer for both of those teams…

    • rabblerousr

      “As an owner, I assume all the risk, I want all of the profit. The employees should be part of the operating expense.”

      One problem here: the fans who fill your coffers as owner come to see these manual laborers, not you. Without them, your business is a financial sinkhole.

      They are deluxe athletes; you are merely a rich old white guy.

      • MadMick

        Well said. Nobody knows or cares if any of these scoundrels are brilliant cult of personalities like the stinking Donald. Well, besides a team’s fanbase calling out their or somebody else’s owner for being notoriously cheap or inept that is. That’s the only time these guys are really acknowledged.

  • Remember everyone, no football in 2011 is FOR THE FANS! Apparently what people who love football want is for there not to be football to watch!

    The more Jerry talks these days, the more faith I lose in this franchise.

  • Weareblma

    The worst part of Jerry is : He’s a self-centered human being but wants the world to see him as “The Man for All Fans” but like The Soothsayer said, one playoff win is ALL Jerry can accomplish;

    I would feel a bit better if Jerry can uncover his real soul and said something like: I am the owner of Dallas Cowboys, I can do whatever I feel like to my ‘toy’ and I don’t care what the world, the fans and NFL say.

    How sad, not for Jerry but for all loyal fans!

  • The Soothsayer

    This man is rapidly becoming the bane of my life. I live in Landry country, twenty miles from where he was born. There’s a museum, a mural that takes up an entire block dedicated to his life and accomplishments, a street and a stadium named after him. Because Tom Landry was all about winning.

    He led the Mission Eagles undefeated in high school. He led the Texas Longhorns to a national title in college. He led the Dallas Cowboys to the most winning seasons, most playoff appearances, most conference championships, and most Super Bowl appearances (winning only two, but the three losses were due to conspiracy) than any other team.

    Jerry Jones wants to be like Tom Landry, the face of the franshise. Problem is, Landry was an icon. Jones is a moron.

    A lockout won’t be a disaster to the NFL? Tell that to MLB and MLH. But don’t tell it to me.

    Jerry wants it to be all about him. As if he were some champion for the fans. Actually, he’s only a champion for himself.

    So, the Dallas Cowboys are a highly valuable franchise, second in the world only to Manchester United, which is a soccer club. Big deal. How valuable do you think they’re going to be if Jones keeps fielding a losing team?

    Ever since he took over total control fifteen-odd years ago, it’s been one bad draft, one failed free agent signing, one disastrous trade, one poor coaching hire after another. And one playoff victory to account for it all.

    I believe he’s possessed of a demon. I really do, the demon of ego. He’s taken the legacy built by Landry, Schramm and Brandt, America’s Team, and turned it into America’s Scream. All while pretending it’s all for the fans.

    Please. I need another shot of whiskey. This owner/GM has made a mockery of what God loves. And if there is any justice in the world, he will surely suffer in hell for it.

    • MadMick

      Well said, although I don’t think my disdain for Skeletor is such that I actually wish for him to rot in hell for eternity; even for being such an incorrigible old megalomaniac.

    • Tex

      Calvados is more proper

  • AustonianAggie

    If this lockout had been scheduled for 2007 (when the world economy was robust in appearance) none of this lock-out business would of come up.

  • MadMick

    Never underestimate the greed of crinkledy old men.

  • boyfromoz

    Yup – its “for the fans” that the owners are taking the stand they are….

    give me a break.