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Jerry Jones Needs NFL History Lesson

Last night, the team worth the second least in the NFL hosted the team that’s worth the most.

Jerry Jones, owner of the Dallas Cowboys, decided it would be a good time to open his mouth regarding the upcoming labor negotiations with the players union, under the guise of encouraging the people of Minnesota to deliver a new stadium to Zygi Wilf and the Vikings.  As usual, Jones was wrong.

Jones is one of at least a few owners that apparently want to see the salary cap AND revenue sharing eliminated from the NFL.  As fans of the league, and not just fans of “America’s Team,” we can only hope that there are very few owners that agree with him.

Revenue sharing in the NFL came about as the result of NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle convincing teams that for the good of the league, teams that made more had to share with teams that made less–in large part because of the success that the rival AFL had using a similar system.

While the NFL had already surpassed Major League Baseball in popularity, the parity brought about by revenue sharing (combined with the AFL/NFL merger and the eventual implementation of a salary cap) helped the league go from merely more popular to the truly dominant professional sports league it is today.

I firmly believe that removing the salary cap would hurt the game–removing revenue sharing might destroy it.  If Jones (or you) has any interest in a little history lesson on how football became what it is today, I suggest that he (or you) pick up a copy of America’s Game: The Epic Story of How Pro Football Captured a Nation.

It’s a book we’ve recently read, and which we’re using as a starting point to a new category of articles we’re planning on posting here on that will look at the history of the NFL (and AFL).  The stories will range from short tidbits we find interesting or amusing to longer looks at events that have helped shape the league, and how they continue to impact it today.

So if you’re interested in the history of the NFL (and AFL), we hope you’ll subscribe to our RSS feed, follow us on Twitter, or just continue to come back to the site–and give us your thoughts as well.

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2 Responses to Jerry Jones Needs NFL History Lesson

  • SirWhoopass says:

    While I actually agree on the revenue sharing and salary cap, I fail to see why Jerry needs a history lesson.

    The NFL was “merely more popular” without it? Being the most popular professional sports league in North America is a damned good accomplishment. Even if the NFL abolished both, I think it would be a long time for anything to really change. I can’t see baseball making a big change soon. The NBA has thoroughly shot themselves. As a Minnesotan, I would be thoroughly ecstatic if NHL became the dominant league, but I haven’t had enough beer tonight to even pretend that is possible.

    Like I said, I do agree that revenue sharing and a salary cap have greatly benefited professional football. Fans want competitive teams, and there is a greater overall benefit of having engaged fans in Green Bay, Minneapolis, and Cleveland is far greater than the benefit of having the Cowboys win the Super Bowl for five years in a row.

  • Great argument, and to a point I agree–I don’t see the NFL losing their spot as the most dominant pro league in town.

    However, bottom line is, Jerry Jones doesn’t give a damn about popularity–he cares only about revenue. Specifically his revenue.

    And, while it may be a few years before he would feel the impact, if the NFL starts to lose parity–which is the backbone of their success from when they first started becoming more popular than baseball (dating back to the 50’s, before revenue sharing even existed in the league), then the popularity of the game will start to suffer, and his revenues will start to suffer.

    One could argue that the NFL existed with a level of parity before the salary cap, but that was without free agency. One could argue that they had a level of parity before revenue sharing, but that was when teams were regularly losing money, or showing slight profits–back before the game was a league of billionaires. The book I mentioned above does a great job at looking at the history of the game from the late 40’s on, and the kind of decisions that were made to make the game what it is today.

    The NFL has gotten to where it is today thanks largely due to a group of owners dedicated to the success of the game and success of the league, many of whom have managed to get rich (or more rich) along the way. If owners like Jones and Daniel Snyder continue to try to make the game about themselves and their teams, rather than the league as a whole, they will end up damaging it for everyone.

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