Clint Murchison and Jerry Jones – Owners At Opposite Ends of the Field
The Dallas Cowboys, of the National Football League, have been a success on and off the football field for more than 30 years. Dubbed “America’s Team”, they are a fan favorite in the state of Texas, the USA and internationally, as well. It is the play on and off the field, and the individuals who have contributed to that play, that is at the heart of the Cowboys great success.
Through its franchise history, the Dallas Cowboys have had a number of all-stars whose skills and achievements have created legends and contributed to Dallas Cowboys history. Endless players have donned the single star and blue and white jerseys of the Dallas Cowboys and taken to the field at Texas Stadium. In so doing, some of them, such as Roger Staubach, Troy Aikman and Emmitt Smith have become legends.
The Dallas Cowboys are one of the most successful teams in the history of the National Football League and hold numerous league records, thanks to countless players over the years, not to mention the team’s coaches who have walked the sidelines day after day. Cowboys football success can also be attributed to the dedicated and solid team owners they have had over their forty plus years of existence.
When the Dallas Cowboys franchise was established in 1960, the founding owner was Dallas, Texas, native Clint Murchison. Murchison was a hands-off owner who believed in surrounding himself with experts in the different aspects of the game. Hence, he delegated operational control of the Cowboys to General Manager Tex Schramm, Coach Tom Landry and Scouting/Personnel Director Gil Brandt. Landry enjoyed total authority in the day to day running of the team while Brandt was given free reign in the drafting and scouting of players. Murchison’s non interferring approach and lack of second guessing has been said by many to be the driving force behind the Dallas Cowboy’s great success and their 20 consecutive winning seasons from 1965 to 1985.
In 1984, Murchison sold the Dallas Cowboys to an investment syndicate. In 1989 the team was bought by Jerry Jones
. It quickly became evident that the ownership style of Murchison and Jones was at opposite ends of the field.
Jerrel Wayne “Jerry” Jones, a star running back for his North Little Rock, Arkansas, high school team, would go on to play play guard at the University of Arkansas where Jimmy Johnson and Barry Switzer were among his teammates. In addition to owning the Cowboys, Jones has since taken on the role of General Manager. Of all the owners in professional sports, he is considered to be one of the most involved with his team on a day-to-day basis. Indeed, Jones can be seen on the sidelines of every Cowboys game.
Upon becoming owner, Jones fired Dallas Cowboys coach Tom Landry, the only coach the Cowboys had ever known, and promptly hired his former teammate, Jimmy Johnson to take over the coaching duties. The unceremonial firing of Landry did not go over well with Cowboy fans and to this day he has not been forgiven. The dismissal of Landry was was the first sign that the new owner of Cowboys football was headed in a new and opposite direction.
With Johnson at the helm, the Cowboys became Super Bowl Champions two consecutive years. Instead of giving due credit to Johnson, Jones himself took the credit saying “any one of 500 coaches could have won those Super Bowls” considering the talent that he had drafted and signed for the team. Jones also made a comment that he was going to replace Johnson with another former teammate, Barry Switzer. Although Jones later denied this statement it turned out to be true and so ended Jimmy Johnson’s tenure as Dallas Cowboys coach, despite him having lead his team to two consecutive Super Bowl victories. Dallas Cowboys coach Switzer took the team to their fifth Super Bowl Championship in 1995. Since Switzer, Jones has hired Chan Gailey, Dave Campo, Bill Parcels and most recently Wade Phillips to lead America’s Team.
Clint Murchison’s – let the experts lead – approach was the total opposite of Jerry Jones – get involved – approach. Indeed, Jones is constantly criticized by Cowboys fans for being too involved with all aspects of the team. Although Murchison and Jones’ ownership styles are at opposite ends of the field each of their unique techniques have proven to be fruitful for the Dallas Cowboys and for themselves. The NFL Dallas Cowboys have been an exceptional team through the years thanks in part to these dynamic owners.