Here is a transcript of Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones talking about some of the issues relating to the NFL deciding what teams and what project they’ll approve for a return to Los Angeles.
HOW IMPORTANT IS IT THAT THE TEAMS THAT DON’T WIN THE L.A. BID ARE TAKEN CARE OF?
Taken care of is not the word for it. LA has actually contributed to opportunity for clubs for several years because you had LA as a possibility… But that’s an old dog, an old fight. It’s time for us to set a standard. It will literally raise the bar if done right with the kind of passion I’m talking about. It will raise values. It will raise the bar for every club associated with the NFL, and any club that ever wants to go to another market or get help from its existing market will be enhanced if we do the wow and knock it out of the park.
WOULD IT DAMAGE THE CHARGERS IF THEY ARE SHUT OUT OF LOS ANGELES?
That’s the wrong way to look at this thing. There’s a way to look at it as somebody’s going to get left out. There’s another way that if you create that kind of energy, more often than not, because it still is the NFL, it still is great markets all over this country, more often than not a successful effort there generates more interest, and we can do that someplace else.
If LA is successful, it will generate interest all over the country and in other markets, whether it be San Diego, St. Louis or Oakland. It could generate the heck out of interest if we knock it out of the park in LA.
ARE YOU HOPEFUL THIS DOESN’T COME DOWN TO A VOTE?
I know how easy it is. I’m a practicer… Nine votes can turn out the lights here in LA. That’s our system. That’s the way it works. So in a deal like this, a “no” vote gets nothing done. We’ve done nothing for 20 years. We’ve got opportunity here. We’ve got great potential people that want to expand the NFL and expand a great market. I don’t want to miss that train.
WHAT ABOUT MARK DAVIS, DEAN SPANOS AND STAN KROENKE BEING DIRECTED TO MEET AND WORK OUT A COMPROMISE?
This isn’t about compromise. Compromise means taking it down, going to the middle, coming up with something. This needs to be about excess. This needs to be about excessive passion, about excessive commitment, financial commitment. It needs to be about excess of vision. It needs to be a symbol of the future, the way we feel about the NFL.
BUT WOULDN’T THAT MEAN POTENTIALLY ONE OR TWO TEAMS LOSING AND LEFT VULNERABLE?
Really nailing it in LA will lift all boats, including teams that right now are looking at changing their situation in their markets. Just look at what happened with Ballmer and the Clippers. You think that did anything for the NBA? Of course it did. It created energy all over the place. Now, that’s not what we’re talking about.
What we’re talking about is a major physical commitment here by an owner, which says in and of itself, `I’m on the inside. I know what it looks like inside and I know what it looks like out… This is the place to be in the NFL, and I’m going to be in here both feet, both hands, eyeballs and all.”
IS LOS ANGELES BETTER WITH ONE OR TWO TEAMS?
Timing has something to do with that. It’s certainly a market that two teams are very viable. I’m in a market of 7 million people, and I have a total of 17,000 accounts that I get a check from. The whole show has 17,000 accounts. Think there are 17,000 check writers in 20 million people?
BASED ON YOUR COMMENTS, CAN WE PUT YOU IN THE STAN KROENKE AND INGLEWOOD CAMP?
I don’t know why it seems like that. There’s a lot of capability. Dean Spanos is very capable. Don’t underestimate anybody that’s associated with an NFL football team. Don’t just look at the bank account. You’ve got to look at their ability to sell and ability to go get quite a constituency of financial contributors. We had the league contribute, Arlington contribute, the county contribute, I contributed, seat owners contributed…
We certainly can show how to make $1.2 billion work. I think LA without question has got that kind of viability financially and that kind of interest.
I asked Steve Wynn to visit with my family one time about how he, from a bingo family, went out to Las Vegas and took a tired, dusty part of an old town. He said, `I went in and I made it first class. I spent a ton of money, and the people that came saw I spent it and said, ` he cares. He wants me in there. He’s willing to put it out there to get me.’ And then they just flooded me and I said I can do that at the strip, and he went and did it at the Mirage and then went on down the road. He looked over at me and said, `You did that when you built that stadium. You showed them you cared. We did that one when it was the greatest financial crisis that anyone standing on this planet had ever seen. So it was a time when you looked out there and you had 3,000 people digging and the bank’s going broke, you were biting off pennies.
IF TWO TEAMS GO DOES IT HAVE TO BE SIMULTANEOUS?
No. That option’s there. But no – emphatically, no. I don’t mean it shouldn’t be that way, I’m just saying it’s possible to do both and it’s possible to do one and then the other. With the size market of Los Angeles, the history, the tradition, the uniqueness of these franchises… you can work around a first being the one, a first being dominant, a first being the groundbreaker. You can work completely around that.
My role completely here is not one of selling anybody. My role is to just remind us that we don’t have but one chance to do it right in Los Angeles. Let’s get it right. And let’s do it.
Everybody in this league knows that if I hadn’t had a spot, I’d have been there [in Los Angeles] 10 years ago. I know that sounds big. There is a crosshair. And I had a great man that I admired at Bank of America fly all the way to my training camp in California and he said, `I heard you’re negotiating around a little bit with Arlington. You have it in the crosshairs. These opportunities for stadiums coming together – a coming together of billions of dollars, of locations, of all the right things. When it hits the crosshairs, you nail it. Because they can take years to get in the crosshairs, if ever. We’ve got one in the crosshairs. We need to act on it.