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Jerry Jones in danger of becoming the NFL's biggest loser

USA TODAY SPORTS logo USA TODAY SPORTS 11/8/2018 Nancy Armour
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The losses are piling up for Jerry Jones.

I don’t just mean those of his Dallas Cowboys, though they’re contributing more than their fair share to their owner’s woes. Dating back to his failed coup against NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell last year, Jones has found himself on the wrong end of, well, pretty much everything.

His team stinks. A conduct policy for the national anthem that he advocated has been abandoned. The Congressional candidate he backed lost – to a former NFL player, of all people. Dez Bryant is now closer to the Super Bowl than Jones and the Cowboys are after signing with the New Orleans Saints.

More: 7-year-old Cowboys fan writes brutal letter to Jerry Jones: 'WE SUCK'

More: With matchup vs. Saints looming, Cowboys react to Dez Bryant signing with New Orleans

Even a 7-year-old is taking shots at Jones.

“WE SUCK!” Rylan Wood said in a letter he sent to Jones this week. “We want to believe in the boys but it’s hard.”

Perhaps this is only coincidence. Bad things do tend to come in clusters, after all.

But it could also be karma, the universe’s way of taking Jones and his outsized ego down a notch or 12.

Jones has always considered himself to be the de facto head of the NFL. His Cowboys are the most valuable and, by many measures, most popular team, generating significant revenue for the entire league. Jones also showed his fellow owners how to turn their stadiums into cash cows.

So when he throws his weight around at league meetings, the rest of the league usually acquiesces.

But Jones overplayed his hand last year by trying to block Goodell’s contract extension in retaliation for Ezekiel Elliott’s six-game suspension for domestic violence. Not only did Goodell get his new deal, the NFL fined Jones $2 million for what his fellow owners deemed “conduct detrimental to the league.”

In an indication of just how badly Jones had botched the situation, he was snubbed by Falcons owner Arthur Blank, head of the compensation committee, when the Cowboys visited Atlanta, a stunning breach of the usual congeniality between owners.

The bad luck has snowballed from there. 

Few owners were more insistent, or vocal, than Jones about players not protesting during the national anthem. (Never mind that Jones thinks so highly of the anthem that he couldn’t be bothered to take off his baseball hat, even after being reminded, during a ceremony to open training camp.)

Yet a policy that would have allowed players to stay in the locker room during the anthem but required them to stand if they were on the field was tabled after heavy criticism, never to be raised again. A handful of players continue to protest and, when asked, the NFL says it is focusing its efforts on the players’ social justice efforts.

Jones didn’t fare any better with his foray into the midterm elections. He backed longtime Republican Rep. Pete Sessions, donating the maximum $2,700 to both his primary and general election campaigns. So did Jones’ wife, daughter and son.

Sessions, chair of the Rules Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives, was upset Tuesday by Colin Allred, a former linebacker with the Tennessee Titans.  

But the biggest, and surely most stinging, losses for Jones are courtesy of his team.

The Cowboys have lurched their way to a 3-5 record and, at this rate, they’ll miss the playoffs for the seventh time since 2009. Their offense is abysmal, and Jones has had to give Jason Garrett those dreaded, in-season votes of confidence.

They’re so dysfunctional even Troy Aikman said they needed a total rebuild.

“I've heard Jerry say, 'OK, look, we're going to do it differently. I'm going to do it differently.' ... But it's the same. Nothing changes," the Hall of Fame quarterback said Tuesday in an interview with Dallas radio station 1310 The Ticket.

"And that to me is the bigger issue.”

Ouch.

You know who else has criticized Jones? Bryant, who the Cowboys parted ways with after last season. It’s not a stretch to say Dallas could use Bryant – Cole Beasley is your top receiver? Really? – but he’s landed in a much better spot, signing Wednesday with the Saints.  

Those would be the same Saints with the second-best record in the NFC – and who visit the Cowboys on Nov. 29.

Winning has always meant everything to Jones. If only he could remember what it feels like.  

Follow USA TODAY Sports columnist Nancy Armour on Twitter @nrarmour

Related slideshow: 20 most devastating losses in NFL history (Photos by Touchdown Wire)


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