The war of words (and letters) between Jerry Jones and the rest of NFL ownership has been ongoing for a while now.

Last week, things came to light in a revealing ESPN report on just how angry Jones is at Roger Goodell, and just what lengths he’s willing to go to in order to get revenge for the Ezekiel Elliott suspension (though Jones swears it’s not about that):

Regardless of who might replace Goodell, it’s definitely a volatile time for the league. The reporting is fantastic throughout, and a hilarious glimpse behind the scenes at characters like Jones, who certainly plays to caricature. For example, here was his response when he learned via phone call from Goodell that Ezekiel Elliott would face a six-game suspension:

The line went quiet. Seconds passed. Goodell’s decision was an unconscionable violation of trust, Jones later told associates, because he believed that the commissioner had assured him this past spring that there would be no suspension. Jones saw in Elliott a genuine opportunity, a player so good that he had made Jones believe that this year he just might win a Super Bowl for the first time since 1996. His anger was palpable. Finally, according to sources with direct knowledge of the call, Jones broke the silence. He aimed his words not only at Goodell’s decision but also at his role as judge, jury and executioner in the case.

“I’m gonna come after you with everything I have,” Jones said. Then he mentioned Deflategate. “If you think Bob Kraft came after you hard, Bob Kraft is a p—y compared to what I’m going to do.”

Jones had been threatening various legal actions, and had even hired Harvey Weinstein’s lawyer in preparation for said legal actions. Then, almost immediately, a tape dropped featuring Jones making an insensitive (at best) racial remark. The timing of that release suggested it may have been a message to Jones to back off, and now, according to reports, he has.

From the Washington Post:

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said late Tuesday that he is “standing down” from his threats of litigation against the NFL, even as he stepped up his criticism of commissioner Roger Goodell, according to a letter reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.
Amid simmering tensions over Goodell’s contract extension, Jones wrote that he believes the league’s compensation committee is receiving “valuable feedback from a number of owners” and is subsequently withdrawing his threatened legal action over approving the deal.
USA Today had more as well:
“I want accountability,” Jones told USA TODAY Sports on Tuesday.
“This is not about replacing Roger,” Jones contended. “It’s a misnomer to say it’s payback for Ezekiel Elliott. It is about the accountability of the commissioner to all of the ownership.”
And Jones is now couching his decision to withdraw legal threats as the result of a bargain, apparently trying to will a deal into existence that would see Goodell’s contract extension be subject to a vote of all 32 owners.
“I told the committee that I was standing down on legal action because they wanted to get input from all of the owners,” Jones said.
There’s no sign that’s going to happen, but Jones is clearly trying to save some face, an important thing for the most image-conscious owner in American sports. Jones attempted to throw his weight around, which is normally enough to get whatever he wants. But this time, the rest of the league wasn’t having it, or at least some influential factions of the league weren’t having it.
Jones suing the league would have potentially been a lengthy and expensive legal battle, that could have further damaged the league’s standing while detracting more from the play on the field. That’s bad for business, and considering a good portion of Jones’s net worth is tied up in the value of his NFL franchise, it’s very bad for Jones. Plus, legal action means Jones would be deposed as well, and as we saw this weekend with the video release, he’s probably got plenty of skeletons throughout what are almost assuredly obscenely large walk-in closets.
The irony is, Roger Goodell probably does deserve to have more scrutiny applied to his contract extension.
Jones isn’t necessarily wrong, but he’s right for the wrong reasons, and he has a lot to lose.
It was always going to end like this.

About Jay Rigdon

Jay is a writer and editor for The Comeback, and a contributor at Awful Announcing. He is not a strong swimmer.

  • Duncan Hirohito

    Jerry Jones is the poor man’s version of the high-rollin’, deal-makin’ sonuvagun who knows his whiskey and his way around an oil rig. Subtlety ne’er won faire heart. However, when the workers control the means of production, you do not want to cause a crisis (I seem to recall a strike) that draws unwanted attention to a really interesting power dynamic. Not to mention the Cowboys tanking the season after Jones began talking like the AD at a service academy. Goodell seems to be positioned to get (Sorry Colin) the other owners through the anthem kerfluffle and that’s good business.