Jerry Jones recalls Shakey's Pizza and shaky days in Dallas

Jerry Jones discusses how he led the Cowboys out of bankruptcy to become the most valuable sports franchise in the world.


(Jerry Jones photo courtesy of Dallas Cowboys)

Talk of Fame Network

Dallas Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones doesn’t spend much time doing radio interviews, but this week he sits down for an extensive discussion with our Talk of Fame Network crew about the future of the game, the future of the Cowboys and the futuristic multi-million dollar practice facility he just opened outside Dallas.

Jones said he’s “humbled’’ to have been nominated for possible inclusion in the 2017 Pro Football Hall of Fame class as a contributor and recalled that when he left the field at the Cotton Bowl in 1964 as co-captain of the University of Arkansas’ national championship team he never dreamed he might return to Dallas as owner of the Cowboys and an HOF nominee.

“For a boy from Arkansas to end up in Dallas, that is beyond belief,’’ Jones said on the latest Talk of Fame Network broadcast. “I’m so aware of the journey. I had an exaggerated sense of what NFL football, the game, could be.’’

Jones said after leaving Arkansas he had an interest in coaching but admits “I also had a little greed in me’’ and wanted more than a coach’s salary.

“(But) if I knew what I’d be paying them I might have been a coach!’’ he said.

Instead, he built the Cowboys into the first NFL franchise valued at $4 billion, not bad for someone who started his business career working at Shakeys Pizza Parlor -- an experience he relives in detail.

Former NFL executive Joe Browne also visits to defend the controversial Hall-of-Fame contributor nomination of former commissioner Paul Tagliabue, who last week was chosen with Jones. Browne spent 50 years in the league office working for Pete Rozelle, Tagliabue and Roger Goodell and contends Tagliabue’s value has been undervalued by the voters. He makes a fierce and frank case for Tagliabue’s election.

Our four-week series on former NFL players who have returned to their roots to coach high-school football continues with a visit with Leonard Marshall, the former New York Giants’ Pro Bowl defensive end who had been working with the defensive line at Paramus (N.J.) Catholic High School. His widespread business concerns recently forced him to resign, but the former high-school head coach said he became involved coaching high-school football because “football shaped my life. That’s where I learned what it means to be part of a team.’’

Marshall also discusses his advocacy of medical marijuana and explained how he has been haunted for 25 years by the devastating hit he put on Joe Montana in the 1990 NFC championship game that kept Montana on the sidelines for 23 months and nearly ended his career. It’s an unusual look at the other side of the consequences of devastating contact in the NFL.

Our final guest, former Cleveland Browns’ offensive lineman John Wooten, has served as director of the Fritz Pollard Alliance for decades and long advocated the NFLs employment of more people of color in management and in the coaching ranks. Although some have recently criticized the effectiveness of the Rooney Rule, which was implemented to increase opportunities for minority candidates, Wooten strongly defended it and said he believes there are more opportunities than ever for minorities in the NFL because of it.

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