Gary Myers has covered Jerry Jones longer than any pro football writer, so it seemed logical and natural to write a book about the owner of the most valuable franchise in the world.
“How ‘Bout Them Cowboys?” (Grand Central Publishing) is an in-depth look at America’s Team, still the most popular in the NFL even though it hasn’t reached a Super Bowl in 23 years and isn’t likely to this season.
Myers was with the Dallas Morning News when Jones bought the team in 1989 and cleaned house. Now a radio host at WFAN in New York, Myers remembers it well — and tells it entertainingly and informatively in his book.
“I was taken aback when he got weepy —real tears — when he started talking about how he put himself at risk financially to buy the Cowboys in 1989,” Myers says. “He said he asked his doctor why recalling that period of his life made him so emotional and was told it was a traumatic experience for him. Even so, seeing this multi-billionaire in tears caught me by surprise, to say the least.”
There’s a lot in Myers’ book that could catch readers by surprise. Such as:
—Jones admits he’s still bitter about the circumstances that led to his divorce with Jimmy Johnson, who coached the Cowboys to the 1992 and ’93 NFL titles. And Myers reveals “Troy Aikman has still not forgiven Johnson for leaving him. A few years ago, they were having a beer together, when Aikman said to Johnson, ‘We could have been Brady and Belichick.'”
—The Hall of Fame party Jones threw for himself in Canton, Ohio in 2017 cost $8 million and included a two-hour concert by Justin Timberlake. One of the invited guests was Roger Goodell.
“I have a picture in my book of Jones having a drink with Goodell and Jon Bon Jovi at the party,” Myers says. “Five days later, Goodell called Jones to tell him he was suspending Ezekiel Elliott for six games. Jones is convinced Goodell showed up at the party knowing he was going to suspend Elliott (who was also at the party), but did not want to ruin Jones’ weekend. Instead, he ruined his season.”
Jones has said Goodell previously told him he would not suspend Elliott and to this day he feels betrayed. Goodell has emphatically said he did not tell Jones that.
There are dozens more such intriguing and often-unrevealed stories in “How ‘Bout Them Cowboys?” Myers had five hours of one-on-one interviews with Jones and, he jokes, actually got in at least seven questions.
Julio Jones, Amari Cooper and Calvin Ridley cover most of a decade’s worth of leading receivers at Alabama. They’ll be on the field as players together for the first time when Cooper and the Dallas Cowboys visit the Atlanta Falcons and the veteran/rookie duo of Jones and Ridley.
Jones is a two-time All-Pro, Cooper made the Pro Bowl his first two seasons, and Ridley leads all rookies with 500 yards receiving. Oh, and they each won a national championship at Alabama. In fact, Ridley won two.
“A lot to like about them,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. “Certainly they were trained very well at Alabama, probably really good players going there, developed to become great players coming out of there. And they’ve definitely shown that at this level.”
Cooper wasn’t supposed to make this Alabama connection when the season started: Oakland wasn’t on Atlanta’s schedule. But the Cowboys traded next year’s first-round draft pick for him in hopes of having a new No. 1 receiver after letting Dez Bryant go in a cost-cutting move during the offseason.
“I’m cool with both of those guys,” Cooper said. “None of us played together, so none of us have been on the field together. So that’ll be really cool to go out there and be on the same field.”
Panthers quarterback Cam Newton said if wasn’t an NFL quarterback he’d want to be a sommelier. Newton has recently developed a love for wine— and cigars — although he said his recognition of most wines is “terrible.”
“I picked up a hobby that I really enjoy,” said Newton. “I think I’m on sauvignon blanc right now, really light wine, and a good mild smoke.”
Rudy Patino, who works as a food service provider for the Panthers, is a resident wine expert and Newton said he’s learned some things from him about the hobby.
“I feel like if I had a gift of a hidden talent, outside of playing an instrument, I would want to be a sommelier,” Newton said. “Those senses that you have. … For those who don’t know it, it’s being able to distinctively tell what type of wine it is, where it’s from and everything about wine by just the taste, the look and pretty much the feel of the wine. It’s just pretty cool to come across a person on a day-to-day basis that knows what they’re talking about. It’s just like playing football. It’s an ongoing thing that you have to constantly keep taking your nose and taste buds through.”
Newton said he if was to create his own wine he would call it “Boogie Down.”
“As in boogie down your esophagus,” Newton said with a smile.
USA Football will lead the training of more than 1,000 football coaches across Britain in 2019. USA Football, a member of the U.S. Olympic Committee and the sport’s national governing body, will drive education for British American Football Coaches Association members, spanning school-based to adult programs.
British coaches will receive USA Football in-person training and online course work. More than 10,000 U.S. school districts and youth programs combined enrolled in USA Football-developed coach education this season, including nine of the country’s 10 largest school districts.
“Our sport’s community is truly a global family,” said BAFCA President Wayne Hill of Birmingham, England. “We love the game as much as Americans do, and teaming up with USA Football is a historic point for the sport here. Much like in the States, what’s taught and played today is not your father’s gridiron — it’s done a lot smarter, but is just as much fun. This partnership enables us to deliver a smarter, safer game for our athletes through coach education.”
Organized football is played on six continents spanning approximately 70 countries, a figure that has nearly doubled in the past 10 years.
GREEN EAGLES IN BIG EASY
The Philadelphia Eagles will be wearing their home green jerseys at New Orleans on Sunday. What’s that all about?
In March, coaches Doug Pederson of the Super Bowl champion Eagles and Sean Payton of the Saints made the wager, which was revealed during the summer for the American Century Championship celebrity golf tournament at Lake Tahoe, Nevada. Pederson has a much better golf game than Payton and finished 32nd at the tournament, while Payton was 77th. Pederson had offered strokes or points in the Modified Stableford scoring format, but Payton turned them down.
Payton made a $5,000 donation to Autism Challenge in Philadelphia as part of the bet.
“Well, it is our home jersey. It is our home color,” Pederson says. “And so we are excited to wear that. We’ve done it a lot this year on the road, wearing our home greens on the road. So you know it’s something that our guys enjoy.”
When Pederson made that bet, did Payton say the Saints would go with their color rush, or a white jersey?
“He didn’t say one way or the other,” Pederson adds. “I would imagine it would be the whites, but he did not say.”
AP Pro Football Writers Barry Wilner, Schuyler Dixon and Rob Maaddi, and Sports Writers Brett Martel and Steve Reed contributed.
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP_NFL