Jerry Jones Could Learn A Lot From George Lucas, Star Wars
Tough times for the Dallas Cowboys. On Sunday they drag their battered 4-11 carcass back into Cowboys Stadium for the final time this season to face Washington, officially marking their 20th straight season without a Super Bowl appearance. How can you claim to be America's team without being in the Big Game for two consecutive decades?
Because Jerry Jones. Face it -- he's the owner, and heat always rises to the top. And he's pretty much as hands-on as an owner gets, which makes it a further indictment of his skills. Here's an analogy -- since 1995, the last time the Cowboys were in the Super Bowl, Dallas has basically been the Star Wars prequels of sports franchises.
While Jason Garrett hasn't been Jar Jar Binks-level inept, we could compare him to, say, Hayden Christensen as Anakin Skywalker. Cowboys fans have been left longing for the good old days of the original trilogy -- 1992, '93 and '95, when Jimmy Johnson coached them to three Super Bowl wins.
This pretty much matched what George Lucas accomplished with his space opera franchise. Three winning seasons (1977, '80 and '83 with the original trilogy), and then three not-so-great movies thereafter. But then in 2012, a wondrous thing happened. Lucas sold Star Wars to Disney.
Lucas did an interview this week with CBS This Morning in which he said that selling Star Wars (for $4 billion) was like selling his children "to white slavers", and that Disney wouldn't listen to his input on Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and that pissed him off. But thank heavens for that, because, while Disney is admittedly a cold, heartless conglomerate based on world domination, it did have the sense to hire J.J. Abrams to direct the new movie. And he did a great job.
Force Awakens is on schedule to break every box office record. It has, essentially, won the Super Bowl of movies.
And that's because Lucas had the savvy and foresight to sell Lucasfilm.
Jerry Jones is even older than Lucas (73). His Cowboys have been moribund for almost as long as Star Wars had been. The franchise needs new blood -- a shot in the arm; a new bad guy in a black mask. The J.J. Abrams of football coaches is out there somewhere, ready to bring the Cowboys back to greatness. But it will not happen with Jones as owner. He needs to sell the team, like Lucas sold Star Wars, to make that happen.
It won't be easy for Jones to let go. The Cowboys are his life. There's a famous story in which Jones, after the 49ers beat his team in the 1993 playoffs (en route to the '94 Super Bowl), locked himself in his suite at the stadium and wept on the sofa. Likewise, Lucas said that fan criticism of the Star Wars prequels really hurt him, and helped him make the decision to sell the franchise.
Lucas told CBS that it was like going through a break-up.
"When you break up with somebody the first rule is no phone calls," Lucas said. "Every time you do something like that you're opening the old wounds again you have to just put it behind you. And it's very, very, very hard to do."
Can Jones be as strong as Lucas and give the franchise back to Cowboys fans? Can America's team be great again?
Sell the Cowboys, Jerry. Otherwise, as a golden protocol droid once said: "We're doomed."
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