A Portrait of Jerry Jones, In Quotes

Jerry speaks. Photo by Jeanne Prejean
Jerry speaks. Photo by Jeanne Prejean

When the National Football Foundation Leadership Hall of Fame inducted Jerry Jones into its ranks at a dinner here the other night, a who’s who of the city’s business and sports elite showed up to toast and roast the Dallas Cowboys owner. National figures turned out as well, including General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt, Sports Illustrated‘s Peter King, and Al Michaels of NBC’s Sunday Night Football. Taken together, the following quotations paint a pretty fair portrait of the evening—which raised $1.2 million for the foundation—and of Jones, owner of the most valuable franchise in the NFL:

Scott Pelley, CBS News: “Jerry has an affliction that every great American has. He can’t hear ‘can’t.’ He can’t see the stop signs. And Jerry, that’s why we’re here to celebrate you tonight.”

Jeff Immelt, GE chief executive, former college football player: “In India, I was asked what’s the toughest thing about running a global company? And I answered, ‘Pretending to give a s*** about soccer.’ “

Darren Woodson, former Dallas Cowboy: “Jerry’s backstage rapping. Where’s T. Boone [Pickens]? T. Boone, I’m hoping to get you backstage, too. Because I’m tired of Jerry bragging that he’s the only rich white man that can rap.”

Curt Menefee, FOX NFL Sunday: “The first time I met Jerry was late at night at a Hooters in Austin. Being honest here.”

Archie Manning, Leadership Hall of Fame Induction Dinner Co-Chairman: Jerry “is so passionate about the game of football. He’s so caring about the future of football.”

Peter King, Sports Illustrated: Jerry “is really optimistic. He’s excited. He’s never down. … If the Cowboys lose by 20, Jerry still has a good day.”

Brad Sham, Dallas Cowboys Radio Network: “You can insult [Jerry], but it’s hard to hurt his feelings.” … “By the way, when you lose by 20, it’s not such a good day.”

Al Michaels, Sunday Night Football: Jones “has been as important a figure for the league as any I’ve seen in the last 24 years.”

T. Boone Pickens, BP Capital, Leadership HOF Induction Dinner Co-Chairman: “When he makes up his mind, he gets things done.”

Al Michaels: “There is nothing that even comes close on the planet” to AT&T Stadium.

Scott Pelley: “It was Jerry Jones that made [the stadium] spectacular. But it was Gene Jones that made it beautiful.”

Brad Sham: With apologies to the Rangers, the Stars and the Mavericks, “the Cowboys will always be the biggest deal in this town.”

Jerry Jones: “We are among friends tonight.” “… Football is not rewarding in general. It is a bear’s ass. It’s not like basketball or baseball.” … [Our football coach at the University of Arkansas], Frank Broyles, “told us, ‘You’ve got to understand the fourth quarter. It’s when you don’t feel good anymore. … You’re tired, you don’t look and feel the same way as you did in the first quarter. This is when you show your character. Don’t you quit! Keep pushing! … He taught us about the fourth quarter of life.” … “Boone Pickens is a great friend and a hero to me. Late in life, he had his butt busted financially. Late in life, depression got so bad, he had to lift his leg with both hands to get out of bed. He had a busted marriage. But all he did [next] was make several billion dollars. Hello, walls!”

Anonymous guest: “When Jerry calls the tune, they all dance.”