Jerry Jones wants to emphasize a point, so he starts scribbling.
He draws a circle down here, then a circle up there, followed by a straight line connecting the dots. He does this so often that at the end of an hourlong interview there is hardly any white space left on his paper.
The finished product is a portrait of Jones himself: Busy, moving in a lot of directions and, shrewdly enough, done in pencil so he can go back and correct any mistakes.
No need for the eraser lately. Jones has connected so many dots that his Dallas Cowboys are 5-0 for the first time in his 19 seasons as owner and general manager; his franchise’s claim to being “America’s Team” has been dipped in gold by recent polls ranking the club as the most valuable and most popular in the country; and the $1 billion stadium he’s building already has captured the 2011 Super Bowl.
The crowning achievement would be another Super Bowl title, which would give him four and the franchise six, meaning sole possession of the league’s most cherished record. Although that must wait until at least February, he gets to enjoy the next best thing this weekend — a home game against fellow unbeaten New England that many consider to be a Super Bowl preview.
Wait, it gets better.
At halftime, Jones will give Michael Irvin his Hall of Fame ring. Expect a loud ovation for both. While fans are at it, they might as well sing “Happy Birthday” because Jerry turns 65 on Saturday.
Life is certainly good for Jerry Jones. Even though he’s 12 seasons removed from hoisting a Super Bowl trophy, 11 since even savoring a playoff win, seeing the pieces fall back in place makes it worth the wait.
“There’s a case to be made that the anticipation of success is a more pleasant time than after you’ve had success,” Jones said. “You create more energy without the total responsibility of having to live up to anything. That makes it a lot of fun.”
Jerral Wayne Jones was born Oct. 13, 1942, in Los Angeles, then moved at a young age to North Little Rock, Ark. His dad, Pat, started with a fruit stand, then built it to a supermarket and wound up with an insurance company.
He got a scholarship to play football for the Razorbacks. Alphabetical order made him roommates with a guy named Jimmy Johnson. His position coach was a recently graduated player named Barry Switzer.
In February 1989, Jones sold practically everything he owned to buy the Cowboys for $140 million. It was a record price and considered foolish because the team was a mess. Then he made things worse, declaring himself in charge from “the socks to the jocks,” then proving it by firing iconic coach Tom Landry and hiring Johnson from the college ranks. He later added to his bumpkin image by saying quarterback Troy Aikman “looked good in the shower.”
One whopping trade and some good drafts later, the Cowboys won a Super Bowl. Then two. When they won their third in four years, Switzer was the coach.
Coaches and quarterbacks came and went, but Jones remained owner and general manager. It wasn’t working, so he hired Bill Parcells, a coach with an ego as big as his.
Dallas won 10 games the first year, but never won that many again. While Parcells healed Jones’ reputation and his franchise, glory was still out there, waiting to be grasped again. Now, with Wade Phillips and Tony Romo filling the roles once held by Johnson and Aikman — and Landry and Roger Staubach before them — the Cowboys seem closer than ever.
Jones is known for being an optimistic, energetic leader. Here’s a secret: It’s not as easy as it looks.
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Patriots 48, Cowboys 27