ARLINGTON, TX - AUGUST 21: Dallas Cowboys team owner Jerry Jones looks on during a preseason game against the Tennessee Titans at Dallas Cowboys Stadium on August 21, 2009 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
"Something is happening here, but you don't n know what it is. Do you, Mister Jones?"--Bob Dylan, "Ballad of a Thin Man"
Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones has been known on occasion (like most of us, I suspect), to speak freely after polishing off a few drinks. Most notably, this occurred at the spring meetings in Orlando 16 years ago, when--after being snubbed by Jimmy Johnson and a table of staffers and former staffers--Jones fumed about his then-head coach to a room full of reporters and then summarily fired him.
This isn't the best way to go about things, and the booze is no excuse. As the Drive-By Truckers tell us, "whiskey don't make you do a thing, it just lets you."
That said, there's a pointed difference between that fateful, drunken soliloquy in 1994, and the video that surfaced on Deadspin.com Tuesday.
If you haven't already seen it--which would be kind of surprising, at this point--Jones unleashes a little supposedly drunken talk concerning Tim Tebow and another former head coach, Bill Parcells, while, unbeknownst to Jerry, a patron records it all on his camera phone.
It's sloppy; it's candid; it's kind of funny.
But the difference between this instance of Jerry, apparently intoxicatedly fuming, and that of spring, 1994, lies in that--in the former instance--Jones knew very well (even if he was well sauced) that he was standing in a room full of reporters--men paid to break such news as, oh say, the Dallas Cowboys' head coach is being fired. Jones famously quipped then that, "Any one of 500 coaches could have won those Super Bowls," then dismissed the remark the next day as "the whiskey talking."
Only it wasn't, really, as we all soon discovered.
In the latest video, Jones is in a room full of patrons whose only connection to the NFL (in all probability) is that they are, in fact, drinking with Jerry Jones in a bar. Should Jones have unleashed these unvarnished opinions to a group of bar patrons? Probably not. And we have a feeling that this will serve as a harsh and memorable lesson in the pitfalls of the information-age for Dallas's Mr. Burns.
But unless Jones knew the camera was there--which is doubtful, judging by the video--his only sin is in a lack of discretion. His opinions--that Tebow "would never get on the field;" that Parcells is "not worth a [expletive]"--are raw, and seemingly incendiary. They are also, one would imagine, fairly popular.
Of course, this doesn't matter; the comments are out. The proverbial cat is out of the bag and, no matter how many people would agree with Jones's assessments, Jerry said it--on tape.
Jones's real mistake was forgetting a stark truth of this day and age: with the advent of camera phones, everyone is capable of operating as a reporter. Unlike in 1994, Jones wasn't surrounded by paid journalists--but that doesn't matter in the least; because no one is not a reporter these days, and, in this mob-press, there's no such thing as "off the record."
See the now-infamous Jerry video below (WARNING: Explicit Language and some Tebow-bashing):