While it is true that some in the Hall of Fame of the four major sports are of dubious character, at a bare minimum they have been enshrined due to their excellence on the field or in the front office. Despite the fact it can be difficult to defend the morals of some who have been given plaques in Cooperstown, Canton, Toronto, and Springfield, all are deserving of enshrinement on at least some level.
Even though some of these individuals are less than upstanding citizens, what is undeniable are their accomplishments. Most dads wouldn't trust a few of these "characters" to take their daughter to the local ice cream stand on a date. Yet, despite their failings, it is fair to honor these folks for their talent and the great things they achieved in their respective sport.
That being the standard for immortality, it appears as if the bar is being lowered. While he has not been elected for enshrinement yet, that fact that Jerry Jones is on the 2017 list for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and might be given a plaque in Canton, boggles the mind.
Jerry Jones bought the Dallas Cowboys in 1989 and has made a lot of money as an owner, which he should be given credit for, despite the fact owning an NFL team in the last twenty years is akin to having a printing press in one's basement. The NFL has been making money hand over fist since 1960, especially since the early 1990's. Ever increasingly profitable television rights contracts have made NFL owners rich beyond their wildest dreams.
Granted, credit is due to Jerry for not running his franchise, the self-proclaimed "America's Team", into the ground. Hooray! Three cheers for Jerry! On that note, why not enshrine all thirty-two owners. Good job not flipping the Brinks truck fellas.
One of the reasons for the unparallelled success of the NFL is a wise decision in 1960 that was originated by Commissioner Pete Rozelle, and brokered by Wellington Mara, owner of the New York Football Giants. Mr. Mara, by endorsing the equal sharing of television revenue by all teams, sacrificed personal gain for the betterment of the league.
On the theory that if every team was financially healthy, the league would be stronger as whole and better able to compete against other sports and entertainment, it was agreed in 1960 that television revenue would be shared equally by all the clubs. Secondly, all licensing revenue (ie; sales of jerseys, hats, t-shirts, football cards, etc.) was to be split equally among the clubs.
Does anyone in their right mind think Wellington Mara could not have negotiated his own tv contract in New York City for the Giants, one of the flagship franchises of the league, and made more money than if he shared revenues equally with Green Bay, Dallas, and everyone else?
This league-first mentality led directly to the enormous growth the NFL has achieved since then, which ultimately led to it becoming the most popular sport in America by the mid-1990's, a status it continues to hold today.
In what seemed like thirty seconds after he bought the Cowboys in February 1989, Jerry Jones fired the only coach the Cowboys ever had, Tom Landry, the picture of class and sartorial splendor, along with longtime GM Tex Schramm. Seconds later, after naming himself GM, Jones took aim at the driving force of the NFL's success, revenue sharing.
Upon entering the scene, he whined about not receiving his fair share of revenue from the sale of jerseys, which the Cowboys sold the third most of at the time. In addition, he wanted to negotiate his own tv contract. This despite the probability that if revenues had not been shared equally long before his arrival on the scene, a city like Dallas may not have been able to support an NFL team in the first place.
In addition, Jerry has done nothing if not be braggadocios and arrogant, especially once the Cowboys became successful after winning the Super Bowl in 1992 and 1993. Following back-to-back NFL Championships, Jerry famously claimed, "anyone can coach this team", thereby disparaging his Arkansas teammate and longtime friend, Cowboy coach Jimmy Johnson.
Jimmy Johnson subsequently resigned and Barry Switzer, the long-time Oklahoma coach, came on board and won the 1995 Super Bowl. With Jerry Jones at the helm, the team hasn't been a serious Super Bowl contender since.
During the past twenty years the Cowboys have achieved abundant financial success, despite minimal football success on the field. With his coffers full, Jerry decided he needed a new stadium, in which he installed a strip club. Nice.
So much for the family atmosphere the NFL would like to portray. It sure is great for the little kids, especially the girls, to go to a game in a building that houses a strip club and has women in bikinis dancing next to a pole. Classy.
Outside of a team-first/league-second attitude, chasing a legend out of town, throwing his two-time winning Super Bowl coach under a bus, running his franchise into the ground while bragging about how good it is, denigrating a good number of the other teams in the league, and putting a strip club in his new stadium, what exactly has Jerry Jones accomplished in a football sense that deserves enshrinement into the Pro Football Hall of Fame?
To paraphrase Lawrence Taylor after the Giants pummeled the Redskins in the 1986 NFC Championship game, "I'm in a confuse."