NFL Draft: Are Jerry & Stephen Crafting a 'Not Fair!' Covid-19 Cowboys Cheat?
FRISCO - In comedy writing, it's called "The Rule of Threes.'' It's about the rhythm of a joke, and about how "three'' is the magic number. That's the first thing I thought of when I heard the ESPN report that foes of the Dallas Cowboys think it's "not fair that Jerry and Stephen Jones get to be together in the same home on Draft Day.''
Now that's funny!
Funny because of "The Rule of Threes'' that reporter Adam Schefter (unintentionally) followed hilariously in his report Tuesday on ESPN's 'Get Up.'
The subject, of course, is the April 23-25 NFL Draft, and how COVID-19 has forced the league to plan to conduct the event "virtually'' - by video conference call, with team executives performing their tasks from their homes.
So, what's so funny? In threes?
One: The Cowboys have not determined that Jerry Jones and Stephen Jones will be in the "same home,'' together, six feet apart or otherwise. We're told they've requested no such arrangement from the NFL. The Cowboys simply don't have details here yet ... so there is little reason for other teams to be texting Schefter ordering ... asking ... him to report on this.
Two: If the Cowboys do request such a thing? I cannot imagine what their reasoning would be. Dallas and all 32 teams have one huge "detail'' as they are in possession of the guidelines sent them by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. Among the highlights:
"Clubs have been advised to prepare to conduct the 2020 Draft entirely outside of their facilities and in a fully virtual format, with club personnel in separate locations and able to communicate with one another and Draft headquarters by phone or internet. We have reviewed this matter in the past few days with both the Competition Committee and CEC, and this will confirm that Clubs will conduct their Draft operations remotely, with club personnel separately located in their homes.
"Accordingly, all clubs should dedicate their personnel and technology resources toward preparing for a fully virtual Draft, with personnel in separate locations.''
Nowhere in Goodell's detailed memo does it mention exceptions. "Unless on club official is in his late-70's and might not understand Zoom'' ... Or, "Unless a father and son who work together really like each other.''
I am quarantined with my wife, because we live together. My two adult sons do not live with us ... so they don't come over to the house and hang out. Does ESPN (or the "not fair'' Cowboys competition) think Jerry and Stephen live together? (They obviously do not.) Do they think that because they share a last name that they are somehow united-in-immunity from COVID-19? Or that they get to claim the "same home''?
Newsflash for Adam Schefter: The Jones are neither residents of a commune nor cast members in "The Waltons.''
Three: Let's say the Joneses, despite their different households, do successfully petition the NFL to let Jerry and Stephen work the draft side-by-side at the kitchen table. What would happen next?
Well, the Bengals, Bears, Chiefs, Giants, Lions, Patriots, Seahawks, Steelers, Vikings and most every other NFL franchise would ask for the same exception. And they'd be granted that exception.
Look at who runs the Bengals. The top four execs (Mike Brown, President, Katie Blackburn, Executive Vice President, Paul Brown, Vice President Player Personnel and Troy Blackburn, Vice President) are all members of the same family. So using Schefter's riotous logic, all the Browns get to collect in the Brown dining room on Draft Day, right?
Oh, and in addition to the two Browns who oversee the personnel department from the executive wing, Duke Tobin (Director of Player Personnel) and his dad, Bill Tobin (Personnel Executive) will also get to sit together on the Tobin family patio and work together!
Look who runs the Bears. Of the top eight execs, seven have the last name "McCaskey.'' Hey, that's "not fair!''
Look who runs the Chiefs. We know that head coach Andy Reid is literally down in his basement. But maybe ESPN should report that a Kansas City assistant coach named "Britt Reid" has been bringing lunch down to his dad?
Look who runs the Giants. A "Mara'' is on top. Then come two guys named "Tisch.'' Then comes another "Mara.'' He's Chris Mara, who is the "Senior VP, Player Personnel,'' which can be a high-pressure deal - except that Chris is also listed as part of the ownership group.
The Giants run their ownership family the same way the Joneses do? Who knew!?
Look who runs the Lions. The top four folks are "Fords.''
Look who runs the Patriots. Bill Belichick is only one of three Belichicks on that staff. If Schefter is suggesting a certain NFL team might be temped to cheat ... wouldn't this be that team?
Look who runs the Raiders. Jon Gruden is the head coach, assisted by a trusty youngster named "Deuce Gruden.''
Look who runs the Seahawks. Head coach Pete Carroll's offensive staff includes Brennan Carroll (Run Game Coordinator) and Mike Carroll (WR coach).
Look who runs the Vikings. The top four execs are named "Wilf.'' Then comes Mike Zimmer, the head coach, assisted by a co-defensive coordinator who happens to be his son, and offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak, assisted by a young fella who happens to be his son.
Look who runs the Steelers (and then, I promise, I'll stop). Arthur J. Rooney II is the President. Arthur J. Rooney Jr. is the Vice President. "Well, that's just ownership,'' you might say. Nope. Dan Rooney Jr. is the Player Personnel Coordinator; the Rooneys own it all.
OK. Is that it? No. And I'll just stick with the Steelers: Kevin Colbert is the Vice President and General Manager, and somebody named "Dan Colbert'' - yes, yes, the GM's son - works in scouting.
Beyond the "nepotism'' stuff (but hey, you own the company, so go for it) the grand comedy reveals itself. ESPN appears to be "water-carrying'' for somebody who wants to make the Joneses and the Cowboys a target, an issue, when there is (at least at the time of the report) no issue at all - or, when fairness would obligate them to note that there is the same issue in NFL city after NFL city after NFL city.
The Cowboys aren't trying to con anybody here. They're not (at least not yet) trying to "cheat.'' They're trying to gather information and understand the rules - and then we'll see if they try to bend them. But they are no more justified in doing so or more likely to do so than the Maras and the Fords and the Rooneys and Reids and the Zimmers and the Browns and the Carrolls and the Belichicks.