Cowboys: Jerry can still beat Goodell by winning the hearts of the players

ARLINGTON, TX - JANUARY 15: Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones applauds during warm ups before the NFC Divisional Playoff Game against the Green Bay Packers at AT
ARLINGTON, TX - JANUARY 15: Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones applauds during warm ups before the NFC Divisional Playoff Game against the Green Bay Packers at AT /

Dallas Cowboys owner, Jerry Jones, is in position to win over the players and become the most powerful man in the NFL once again.

The Dallas Cowboys magnanimous owner, Jerry Jones, has been unsuccessfully challenging the extension of NFL commissioner, Roger Goodell.  But while Jones may have lost the battle he may still win the war.

This is a season of highs and lows for Cowboys owner, Jerry Jones. He went from being arguably the most powerful man in the league, owner of one of the most promising franchises, and inductee in the Pro Football Hall of Fame – to an alienated and powerless blowhard, in possession of one of the most disappointing teams in the league. All within the span of a few months.

My, how the mighty have fallen.

But despite failing all efforts to block the enormous extension to Commissioner Roger Goodell, Jones should still have hope. If he’s willing to play the long game he may come out of this whole ugly episode the winner and end up even more powerful than he was before

Heck, he maybe even endure himself to the hearts and minds of players around the league.

The enemy of my enemy…

There’s an old proverb everyone knows that is relevant to this discussion: “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.”

That’s fitting because Jerry Jones is the enemy of virtually every NFL player’s enemy — Roger Goodell. The hatred for Goodell isn’t just held by a few outspoken souls. He’s universally hated by players everywhere. There are probably some exceptions, but I’d venture a guess that Goodell’s player support is well within a single digit percentage.

By Jerry Jones being so determined and outspoken against Goodell, he’s gaining the support of players everywhere. It’s like when people cheer for “Anyone playing against the Yankees” or say, “whoever plays the Lakers is my favorite team”. And the especially common thing we seem to hear, “Whoever is playing the Cowboys.”

Jerry Jones is winning fans simply based on who he’s facing.

The issues

Jerry Jones is a mixed bag on the issues that are most important to players:

  1.  He supports playing football on Thursday night because of increased ratings and increased revenue. Players despise Thursday football because of injury risk brought on by inadequate recovery time between games.
  2. He also didn’t win any points with his stance (see what I did there?) on protesting during the National Anthem. Even most of those standing for the anthem, support their teammates’ right to kneel. Being told you can’t protest here is universally disliked by players.

But Jerry has a couple notches in the win column that may overshadow those items players dislike:

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  1. As said before, Jerry is against Goodell. Specifically, he’s against the enormous contract and benefits the commissioner is receiving and he’s against the unchecked power the man is wielding. Goodell will retire richer than the best players in the league will retire. Fair or not, this upsets players who drive the revenue by putting their body, mind, and long-term health on the line. Additionally, Roger will get healthcare for life for his service, which oddly the players don’t even get, despite their physical sacrifice. The total power the commissioner has in all matters disciplinary has upset players for years. Priorities during collective bargaining have allowed it to continue, but players hate the process (or lack thereof).
  2. Jerry Jones has also spoken publicly on penalties for marijuana being outdated. Like the National Anthem issue, the public is greatly divided on the acceptance of marijuana use.  But the players themselves aren’t so divided. A growing number of players are publicly lobbying for marijuana acceptance in the NFL. A position growing by the day given the infinitely greater risk that legal opioids (prescription pain killers) pose on them.  The fact that Jerry Jones is in support of acceptance goes a long way for both players who want to use it and players don’t want to use it but want the right.

Related Story: Should the NFL even punish off-field behavior?

Why this matters

Power is important to Jerry Jones and he stands to be the most powerful man in football once again as long as he plays it right. This is important because if Jerry gets the support of the players he can be the power broker during the upcoming CBA negotiation in four years.

When the most successful owner in the league gets the most support from the players in the league – watch out. And that’s exactly the course Jerry Jones is set on. Jerry may get the last laugh after all.

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Head to head, Cowboys’ owner, Jerry Jones, lost the battle against Roger Goodell. But if he positions himself on the right side of these issues when the new CBA is negotiated, he could find himself the key to it all.