There’s no such thing as bad publicity. Especially in business.
Just ask Jerry Jones.
The billionaire owner and general manager of the Dallas Cowboys doubled down on his assertion that the NFL brand is just too big to break. And if America’s Team is the ultimate example, Jones is probably right.
In a recent chat with Peter King of Football Morning in America, Jones once again recounted the principle that negative headlines don’t hurt the bottom line.
“Let me tell you a story,” Jones told King. “A few years after I bought the team, I’m out in Los Angeles having lunch with David Hill and Ed Goren of Fox. At that time, there were a lot of negative headlines about the Cowboys. Michael Irvin was in the headlines. People are saying, ‘The owner’s an outlaw!’ And so that day I told them, ‘I’m tightening the lid on this franchise. We’re gonna get control of this team.’
“And David Hill jumped up. He said, “No! Do not touch my ‘Boys! They are television gold! Don’t even think about it!’”
That a network executive had such a perspective shouldn’t be that surprising. TV is all about ratings. Scandals and controversies and bad behavior are good for eyeballs.
“The foibles, the soap opera, the issues,” Jones continued. “They create interest. Add in the Senior Bowl, the Combine, free agency, the draft, training camp, we always got something going. People follow us year ‘round. The owner every now and then gets in the paper. It just adds to the interest, all of it. People love that.”
Jones and his Cowboys are certainly a continuous font of fodder for the paper, TV, internet, social media and water cooler. In the last few months, the headlines haven’t been exactly flattering.
A paternity case implicated Jones. He was in a car crash. He allegedly wanted to fire Roger Goodell. A multi-million payout to former Cowboys cheerleaders involving a former high-ranking executive came to light. Second-year cornerback Kelvin Joseph is part of a murder investigation.
And yet the Cowboys, by Jones’ own evaluation, are worth $10 billion.
Jerry Jones Remarks on Cowboys Gun-Themed Coffee Sponsor: ‘We Support Military’
“Every cup of coffee in the stadium, every bag of Cowboys coffee sold, represents a step in fulfilling the Black Rifle mission — another veteran employed, another first-responder receiving support, or another community event to help adaptive military athletes thrive in the civilian world,” Jones said
Dionte Does Dallas? Cowboys & Steelers ‘Firework’ Trade Suggested
A recent trade proposal indicates that the Dallas Cowboys and Pittsburgh Steelers would be smart to consider a deal which would find Pittsburgh’s star wide receiver Diontae Johnson in Dallas.
Cowboys Ripped for New Sponsor Selling Gun-Themed Coffee
"The long-planned announcement was timed to coincide with the Independence Day holiday - America's Team. America's Coffee. America's Birthday.''
The bottom line ain’t exactly hurtin’.
And, really, why should it? Fans love their teams or schools or the favorite players, warts and all.
Short of going full Donald Sterling or being imprisoned, Jones can't do enough wrong to be canceled.
We realize that scandals come and go. We're conditioned to learn the worst about our politicians and entertainers, and keep coming back. Fandom, for most, remains.
Jones has long believed that the Cowboys are bigger than him, and he’s right. So is the NFL.
People are going to consume the NFL to point where all other leagues and sports pale in comparison. Look at any list of top-rated shows for any year and it’s dominated by pro football.
Mark Cuban once surmised about the NFL that: "Pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered." On this point over oversaturating its audience, Cubes missed the mark. The NFL can almost do no wrong, even with the league and its players do.
The anthem-kneeling issue led to some positive changes, and if it drove anyone way, does anyone care? Arrests and allegations of tanking and unjust hiring practices don’t impact ticket or jersey sales.
So, again, Jerry is only speaking the truth. It may come off as blunt or tone-deaf, but it’s not any less true.
A lesson learned from TV big-wigs in the ‘90s still holds true. America and America’s Team may be flawed, but we knew that already. And we care so much that we don’t really care why.