Jerry Jones, the polarizing and controversial owner of the Dallas Cowboys, apparently is having trouble sleeping at night. And it isn't because his principle investment, his team, is having money worries. A look at Forbes' list of the most lucrative sports franchises in the world will quickly allay those worries. No, as "Shutdown Corner" at Yahoo Sports reported Sept. 3, Jones says he can't sleep because he's so excited about the upcoming season for the Cowboys. In fact, he reportedly mentioned having trouble sleeping twice.
"Can't sleep, popped up at 4:30 this morning," Jones said in an interview with KRLD-FM (Dallas/Fort Worth) Tuesday. "It's just an exciting time to think that we've got the team on the field that we do. This is a big game, we open it up nationally at AT&T Stadium. [It's] almost more than I can handle."
He was talking about the first game of the 2013 NFL football season for the Cowboys, which also kicks off NBC's regular season coverage of "Sunday Night Football on Sept. 8. Dallas hosts their intra-division rivals, the New York Giants.
But fans and haters alike have heard the preseason buzz, angst, and jitters from Jones before. And he's not been alone. Several times over the past couple decades, the Cowboys have generated plenty of media excitement about having a great team prior to the season's start. But in the last few years, that excitement has been tempered with the qualifier "on paper."
And its the pressures of the past colliding with the expectations of the future that are keeping Jones up at night.
“I feel pressure because of the fact that we haven’t met our expectations,” Jones said. “These last two years have been arguably … the most disappointing years in my career with the Cowboys. So, we needed to make some changes, and we did and have. Now, will they work? Will they be effective and productive? That’s what’s there. But we’ve given ourselves a real chance to maximize what [Tony] Romo brings to the table, to maximize our talent."
Tony Romo, the Cowboys' star quarterback, has consistently put up statistics that place him in the top echelon of the NFL's quarterbacks. He renegotiated his contract to a cool $108 million in the off-season and Jones and the team's front office think he's bankable. Fans and analysts alike know that Romo's field leadership of the Cowboys has been fairly inconsistent, despite his numbers. And most are quick to point out that the Cowboys haven't won but two postseason games since 1996. Romo's hand in playoff losses (like the muffed field goal attempt against the Seattle Seahawks in 2006 that cost them the Wild Card Game, not to mention the subsequent interception thrown at the end of the game the following year that gave the Giants the springboard they needed to go on and win that year's Super Bowl) hasn't instilled great confidence in his ability to take the team all the way, either, despite the team's insistence on keeping him at quarterback (and paying him that huge salary).
“I do feel pressure," Jones went on to say. "But we do that to ourselves. We basically shove it all out there. We put it all on the line every time we throw. And I think that’s the only way to go. Consequently, we have big swings. We have big disappointment when we don’t get there. But that doesn’t do anything unless you do something about those disappointments. I think we’ve done that.”
Fans of the team are undoubtedly hoping that Jones' is finally right in his preseason assessment.
Dallas finished 8-8 last season, losing the last two games of the year and blowing their chances of making the playoffs -- something a win would have given them. They finished 8-8 the season before as well.
But with a new defensive coordinator and a few line-up adjustments, Jones apparently believes the Cowboys have the right combination to get them into the playoffs. And once in the playoffs, perhaps a run can be made to get that sixth championship ring. But you first have to make it into the post-season...
Cowboys fans might not want to wish the 70-year-old anything that would contribute to poor health conditions for the guy (or maybe they would -- who knows?), but suffice it to say that if the drought the Cowboys franchise has experienced since the Troy Aikman era can be eradicated with a winning season and Jerry Jones becoming a raging insomniac, the 'Boys' fans would gladly opt for Jones' excited sleeplessness. Perhaps a few might tender a solicitous care package full of Nytol and chamomile tea -- for the cause, as it were.
It would certainly be preferable to insomnia over unfulfilled expectations, something Cowboys fans have grudgingly lived with -- but not really gotten used to -- in the last couple decades.
The 2013 NFL football season starts on Thursday, Sept. 5, when the Baltimore Ravens take on the Denver Broncos. As noted, the Dallas Cowboys begin their run at the Lombardi Trophy against the New York Giants Sunday, Sept. 8.