Jerry Jones is the owner, president, and general manager of the Dallas Cowboys, one of the most popular and valuable sports franchises in the world since 1989. He is a well-known American billionaire.
He was born on October 13, 1942, in Los Angeles, California to John “Pat” and Armenita Jones. In 1945, the family relocated to North Little Rock, Arkansas, where Jones’ parents owned two branches of Pat’s Super Market in the Rose City neighborhood. Jones attended North Little Rock High School, where he played as a running back, and he graduated in 1960.
After finishing high school, Jones’ parents moved to Springfield, Missouri, where his father became the president and chairman of Modern Security Life Insurance Co. The company’s assets increased dramatically from $440,299.76 in 1961 to $6,230,607 in 1965. Jones, after completing his studies at the University of Arkansas, became an executive vice president of the company. The Joneses achieved great success with the insurance company, and they used their wealth to establish the Buena Vista Ranch, a 5,500-acre property in the Ozark Mountains, near Rogersville, Missouri.
In 1971, after selling the insurance company, the couple set up the Buena Vista Animal Paradise on 400 acres of their ranch, where visitors could come and see exotic animals. The animal park is now known as Wild Animal Safari, located in Strafford, Missouri, just south of Interstate 44.
During his college years, Jerry Jones was a member of the Kappa Sigma fraternity at the University of Arkansas. He played as an offensive lineman for the college football team coached by Frank Broyles and co-captained the 1964 national championship-winning team. One of Jones’ teammates was Jimmy Johnson, who later became a successful NFL coach and Jones’ first head coach after he bought the Dallas Cowboys.
Jones also played alongside notable players such as Glen Ray Hines, Ken Hatfield, Jim Lindsey, Loyd Phillips, and Ronnie Caveness, who is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame. During Jones’ college career in Fayetteville, several future head coaches, including Hayden Fry, Johnny Majors, and Barry Switzer, were assistant coaches for Broyles on the Razorbacks’ staff.
Jones’ football prowess continued into his professional life, as he is one of the few NFL team owners who had a successful career as a football player.
After graduating from college in 1965, Jerry Jones attempted to start a chain of Shakey’s Pizza Parlor restaurants in Missouri. He borrowed a million dollars from Jimmy Hoffa’s Teamsters union to fund the venture, but unfortunately, it failed. Jones then worked for his father’s insurance company, Modern Security Life, in Springfield, Missouri. He obtained his master’s degree in business in 1970, but his subsequent business ventures, including an attempt to purchase the San Diego Chargers using Teamsters’ money, were also unsuccessful.
Jones later found success with his oil and gas exploration business, Jones Oil and Land Lease, which he established in Arkansas. Today, his privately held company focuses on natural resource prospecting. In 2008, Jones partnered with Yankee Global Enterprises to create Legends Hospitality, a corporation that provides food, beverage, retail, and stadium operations services for entertainment venues.
In 1989, Jones bought the Dallas Cowboys from former owner Bum Bright for $140 million. Since then, he has been the driving force behind the team’s success, overseeing every aspect of the franchise’s operations. Under his leadership, the Cowboys have won three Super Bowl championships (1992, 1993, and 1995) and have become one of the most valuable sports franchises in the world, with an estimated value of over $5 billion.
After acquiring the Dallas Cowboys, Jones replaced Tom Landry, who had been the only coach in the team’s history, with his old college teammate, Jimmy Johnson. He then took complete control over football matters by firing longtime general manager Tex Schramm. Despite a rough start with a 1-15 finish in the first season under Jones and Johnson, the Cowboys became one of the best NFL franchises in the 1990s, winning three Super Bowls.
Jones turned the financially struggling franchise around, and during his ownership, the team’s value skyrocketed to an estimated $5.5 billion. Jones was instrumental in securing Fox as the NFC’s primary broadcaster when other networks were trying to convince the league to accept a reduction in TV rights fees. This move helped to secure the NFL’s status as the richest sports league in the world, with revenues of over $10 billion per season. As of the 2020 NFL season, Jones has been the owner of the Cowboys for 32 years, surpassing the combined tenures of his predecessors.
Jerry Jones has an estimated net worth of $13.3 billion, according to Forbes. He made his fortune in the oil and gas industry before buying the Cowboys, and he has also invested in various other business ventures over the years.
In addition to his success with the Cowboys, Jones has been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame (2017) and the Arkansas Business Hall of Fame (2014). He has also been named the NFL’s Executive of the Year twice (1992, 2014).
Here are some more notable achievements: