NFL Ref Problems? 'No Problem' As Long As Fans Keep Buzzing, Says Cowboys Jerry Jones
DALLAS - Does the NFL have a problem with its current state of officiating? Not in the mind of Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who tells us in an exclusive interview that there is cash in the controversies.
“I actually think replay, even in its inexact or inaccurate form, increases the interest in the game,” Jones said in a visit with "Ben & Skin'' on 105.3 The Fan. “The game (Monday) night, Detroit and Green Bay, the calls were the subject of most of the talk after the ballgame, and they’re the talk this (Tuesday) morning, and they’ll be the talk this week.
"As long as they’re talking, keep it going.”
Mr. Jones and I have had hundreds of conversations about this issue and related issues over the course of the last 30 years. He is well-aware of how wrong I believe he is. The institution of what I call "RefereePlay'' has castrated officials and put the fate of a game in the hands of the Dean Blandino types, who sit in a TV studio in Manhattan staring at a sheet of glass to make slow-motion judgments on things happening in real time, 3,000 miles away. And I think it's obvious that letting TV cameramen and TV producers serve as referees hasn't worked; if the goal is to "get calls right'' ... well, we see the laughable results in the the Monday Night game in which the Green Bay Packers were gifted a series of late calls that led to their defeat of the Detroit Lions.
Ah, but Jerry's point - and its an important one from a business perspective - is that referee calls are financially productive fodder. And I don't blame him for thinking that way as an owner. I deeply respect that.
But Jerry wears another hat, a "football man'' hat. And I deeply respect that as well. Which is why I'm surprised that Football Jerry doesn't see that what America could be talking about after a big game -- "The talk after the ballgame, and the talk this morning, and the the talk this week'' - could be about the players and the plays, the coaches and their decisions, the fans and their fun.
It's Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys tonight. Who are truly the most interesting and most deserving actors on this gigantic stage? Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott, DeMarcus Lawrence, Carson Wentz and Doug Pederson?
Or Jerome Boger and his crew of zebras?
"As long as they’re talking,'' says Businessman Jerry, meaning "talking about anything,'' "keep it going.''
But wouldn't it more pure and just as profitable if they were talking about ... football?