Jerry Jones says he was on the sideline Monday night to inspire, not interfere
Another day, another opportunity for Jerry Jones to make himself the center of attention.
In a week he has already had to defend himself — or at least his role in a budding controversy — Dallas Cowboys owner on Wednesday also defended his presence on the sideline during Monday night’s game against the Washington Redskins.
Jones has been criticized in some corners for arguably interfering and making a chaotic scene typical of an NFL sideline during a game that much more of a disorganized and disorderly environment.
Jones appeared on the sideline during the fourth quarter of Monday’s game allegedly to inform Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett that Tony Romo was set to return to the game after getting knocked out in the third quarter for what later was determined a back contusion suffered on a sack.
On Wednesday, Jones said he wasn’t on the sideline to interfere and meddle with the functioning of the football team by getting in his coach’s ear about Romo. Instead, he insists he made an appearance to motivate the squad.
“[My visit was] not at all [designed to tell Garrett] whether to play [Romo] or not,” Jones is quoted as saying by The Dallas Morning News during an appearance on 105.3 The Fan. “That’s his decision.”
But other comments Jones made during the radio appearance seem to somewhat contradict the above statement.
“While they were still working with Tony and considering getting him moving around and seeing how he felt doing that, I knew that we didn’t have him out for the year, I wanted to get that word to Jason. Secondly, I told [Garrett] to get his thinking cap on and that Tony was coming back out and could probably play.”
While Jones roaming the sideline had all the appearances of an owner getting involved in things that are better off left to the experts, there was Jones, seemingly somewhat involved in in-game decision-making.
But Jones insists that was not the case. Before leaving the sideline ahead of overtime, Jones was seen chatting up players and trying to energize the fans.
Jones defended his pervasive sideline presence, arguing owners do it all the time.
“No. 1, I wanted to go down there and do what I could, look our guys in the eye, look at them, inspire them to overcome Romo not being out there and overcome what I thought was a critical time,” Jones said. “First of all, I’ve been down there hundreds of ball games. Everyone that follows it has certainly seen it, either criticized it or whatever or lived with it.
“Secondly, if you look around this league, you’ll see owners, I noticed Bob McNair down there during the entire, almost first half when we played Houston. But you’ll see owners all the time on the sideline. I’m not going to say all the time, you’ll see certain owners down there a lot. But that’s from that standpoint. I know for a fact you see a lot of management people on the sideline.
“It’s just not an issue. I’ve always felt that seeing the attitude, seeing what’s going on, getting the pulse, looking at who’s in to it, looking at how they’re into it, looking at how they’re reacting on the sideline, all of that is just part of understanding the team, getting to be a better decision-maker.”
As owner, Jones of course can do whatever the heck he wants, but even he must recognize that his presence on the sideline can have a detrimental effect. Perhaps not.
Jones has been criticized this week for arguably challenging the toughness of Romo by claiming the primary determining factor in whether or not the quarterback plays on Sunday is his ability to withstand pain.
Meanwhile, despite Jones’ persistent meddling, the Cowboys are holding out hope that Tony Romo is able to suit up for Sunday’s game against the Arizona Cardinals, despite not taking part in Thursday’s walkthrough. Romo reportedly will not practice Thursday, either, per ESPN.com.
Whether Jones authorized the decision to sit Romo on Thursday, though, is not known.