Dallas Cowboys: 25 Years and Counting for Jerry Jones
It was 1989. The Soviet Union was still hanging its Iron Curtains. The first text message happened, the NFL still encouraged helmet-to-helmet hits, and on February 25, Jerry Jones bought the Dallas Cowboys. Jones, now 71, was a 46-year-old Arkansas native turned oil and gas exploration man with his company, Jones Oil and Land Lease, becoming successful enough to pay $140 million for the ‘Boys. As Jones put it to ESPN, “The NFL was in a slump, a flattening period when we came in in 1989. Not only was Dallas really as an area struggling economically, but the NFL was in a flattening period of time and our rights had flattened in television through two negotiations in a row.” That was the environment Jones walked into, and after he officially took control, the franchise would never be the same again.
Before Jones assumed full control over player personnel, the Cowboys, under direction of their coach Jimmy Johnson, traded running back Herschel Walker. If the Cowboys don’t trade Herschel Walker, then they don’t draft Emmett Smith. If they don’t draft Emmett Smith, they probably don’t win those three ’90s Super Bowls.
In case you’re not familiar, the Hershel Walker Trade (the biggest trade in NFL history), between the Vikings and the Cowboys, involved 18 different moving parts: Walker, a RB, and four draft picks went from Dallas to Minnesota, while the ‘Boys received 5 players and eight picks — although four were conditional. The Cowboys were able to trade some of those picks for Emmett Smith. You know who Emmett Smith is. Running back, and not a bad one.