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Paula Duffy

Paula Duffy

Posted: August 25, 2009 03:26 PM

Jerry Jones vs. NFL: Who Will Pay to Move Cowboys Video Screen?


The NFL's Competition Committee is meeting to discuss the efficacy of keeping a video screen in place at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Only in a monument to excess could this happen, but nonetheless it has.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones showed off his $1 billion+ edifice during a weekend, pre-season NFL game against the Tennessee Titans. During the game, the Titans kicker had his punt bounce off the bottom of the excruciatingly huge video screen that hangs 90 feet from the playing surface.

When the Titans coach wanted to stop play and have a replay decide if a "do-over" was in order, he was told it wasn't on the list of reviewable plays and, by the way, no officials saw it. Television replays clearly showed the kick bounce and now we're off to the races.

Jeff Fisher, the Titans coach and a member of the competition committee, is making a big deal over this. He wants the league to decide if the screen should be moved or if a new rule should be instituted for similar situations in which the screen interferes with the flight of the football.

Oh the drama! Jerry Jones has already weighed in and basically said "hell, no, it won't move." I guess he and his investors are tapped out after the price tag for the entire project. And besides, why not point fingers at the NFL for its final approval of all elements in the new stadium.

Here's what it might sound like during an initial phone call between the bombastic team owner and the lawyers for the NFL:

Jones: Jeff Fisher embarrassed me by going to the competition committee about this, and for what? Because his punter aimed at it and struck it on purpose? This is hogwash, you know it and I'm not inclined to do a thing.

NFL: Now Jerry, no one is telling you to move it yet. Roger wants us to see if we could at least look at the cost to do that if it's necessary.

Jones: I'm told it will cost at least $25,000,000 and right now I've got moths flying out of my pockets. You get my drift, right?

NFL: From those suits you wear, really? Well, I've checked notes from our review and ultimate sign-off Jerry and we relied on the assurances you gave us that this was tested 10 ways from Sunday.

Jones: Hey now, you guys were crawling all over this place. Don't tell me you didn't have your own tests. And here's what I've got in my notes, I was told it had to be hung no less than 85 feet from the ground. I went five feet beyond that.

NFL: I'm looking at the papers we all signed and it clearly points to your tests as the definitive ones. We told you what the minimum height needed to be, not the correct height. See where I'm going with this?

Jones: Oh yeah, I can see. And let me tell you something, I'm not liking it. All you had to do was to bring a kicker with a strong leg to your final inspection and have him kick it. I thought Roger was such a stickler for detail.

NFL: What about your kicker?

Jones: He says he's kicking it as high as the special teams coach told him to. And that's pretty high. Are you saying I don't have the best punter on this team? Hmmm, let me call Wade about that.

NFL: You do that Jerry. Maybe this is all about who is wearing a Cowboys uniform and less about contracts.

Jones: I'll get back to you.

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