There’s no question Jerry Jones and Stephen Jones (the technical GM and the defacto GM) want the Dallas Cowboys to win games. Like all humans, they love being winners and winning on a national stage has to be near the apex of satisfaction.
But for as nice as that winning can be for the Joneses, it pales in comparison to making money. For decades, Jerry Jones has been celebrated for his ability to grow the Dallas Cowboys brand into near-mythical status. It’s been a mainstay on Forbes’ most valuable professional franchises list, and has given Jerry the kind of influence no single owner in the NFL even remotely approaches.
To an owner that celebrates money more than victory, seeing ticket prices plummet is the worst thing that can happen to the Dallas Cowboys.
Nothing this past offseason has been about winning. The Dallas Cowboys aggressively downgraded their talent for the sake of austerity. They exaggerated the impact of the salary cap (an annual exercise for them) and tried to convince their fans that in order to keep fan favorites like CeeDee Lamb, Trevon Diggs, and Micah Parsons, sacrifices would have to be made.
In a year where the NFC is wide open and a clear pathway to the Super Bowl stands within reach, they stripped their roster and did next to nothing in free agency to replace it. They entered the 2022 season without 3 of their top-4 WRs from 2021 and with questions at every O-line position but one.
Spending more would only make the team better and that’s just not worth it, right?
They did so hoping their franchise QB would be enough to keep them in the hunt late in the season. Just enough to make lots of money. But when both units fell flat on their faces and Dak Prescott fell to injury as a related result, their contender status disappeared faster than a brisket at a BBQ.
After watching Week 1, fans felt tricked. They were told the Cowboys cut the dead weight and the offseason was addition by subtraction (something I’ve always refuted). Fans were told this team was a contender and ownership was doing the things that needed to be done. They were told not to pay attention to them having a bottom-5 payroll and vast amounts of unspent cash (and whatever you do, don’t look at that yacht). Fans were told this was a good product the Joneses were putting on the field.
Not so surprisingly, fans lost their faith after seeing them play Sunday.
The Dallas Cowboys fanbase is arguably the most loyal in all of professional sports. Where else can a franchise that’s been so unsuccessful over the past 25+ years, be so mindboggling supported. The Cowboys have dominated in revenues and viewership and their lack of success has had very little impact in the fan support.
What’s changed today is fans aren’t quite as eager to throw their money at a subpar product, knowing it could have been better but ownership simply didn’t think they needed to. The Joneses thought they had their fanbase on the hook. They thought they could make all the money by just being contenders. They likely thought a real investment in the roster would result in diminishing returns and the money is better spent sitting in their bank than improving the product.
They didn’t realize their epic malfeasance would doom the team before the first game even finished and that the demand for their product would suddenly dry up before Week 2.
According to Ticketmaster, the going rate for this week’s game against defending AFC Champion Bengals starts at just $35. Vivid seats is quoting prices from $25. Last week prices started at $51 and the secondary market was through the roof. Secondary market this week? There really isn’t one, because tickets far outweigh demand and sit readily available for anyone who who even glances in their direction.
Finally, the average ticket price this week (as of Tuesday afternoon) is at $103, compared to just last week when the average prices were $247.
While the Dallas Cowboys have not made their merchandise sales public, we could reasonably deduce, based on the ticket demand and general deflation in Cowboys Nation, sales have dropped there as well (but that’s unverified obviously).
The point is, the Dallas Cowboys have been completely unwilling to stretch the limits of the their spending because they haven’t felt the need to. They are the top franchise in value, sales are fantastic, and ratings couldn’t be better.
Spending more would only make the team better and that’s just not worth it, right? That’s the way it sure seems…
Here we sit. In a very winnable NFC, in a very winnable NFC East, with a not-so-winnable roster. Why? Because the Cowboys didn’t want to spend the money on a better team, that’s why.