When Jerry Jones bought the Dallas Cowboys in 1989, it was a major risk. In those early days, the team was losing $100,000 a day. Despite those challenges, Jones turned the debt-ridden business into one of the most profitable sports franchises in the world. He’s done it with a lot of hard work and a little bit of luck. Jones recently revealed how he tries to get luck to turn his way through a superstitious ritual he has practiced for years.
Jerry Jones buys father a special gift
Jerry Jones grew up with two entrepreneurial parents. His father, Pat, owned a grocery store in Arkansas. Jones started working at the store when he was around nine years old, greeting customers and walking around the store carrying items for those customers who were tip-friendly.
Years later, after he graduated from college and began his career, one of his early stops was working as a life insurance salesman. Knowing his father wore French cuffs, he decided to buy his dad a special gift.
“When I was just right out of school, I was selling life insurance and I got a jeweler in exchange, kind of a barter thing, for the life insurance. I got him to make these cuff links that I gave my father. I designed them myself, and I gave those to him and was always so proud that he had them.”
Jones’ father reacts to purchase of Dallas Cowboys
While Jerry Jones is quick to point out his father’s influence in his work ethic and the success of his career, their relationship was tested in 1989 when Jones bought a Dallas Cowboys team that was hemorrhaging money to the tune of $1 million a month. His father was less than enthusiastic about the purchase.
“My father called me right after I had bought the team, and said, ‘Son, you’re a young guy, and I don’t care if you have to do it by mirrors, smoke screens, or baling wire,'” Jones said on an episode of 60 Minutes. “‘You’ve got to make this be a success or look like a success, or you’ll never be able to do anything for the rest of your life. There’s too much visibility here.'”
“Dad, gee, thanks,” Jones sarcastically responded to his father. “You know how to make my day.”
Jerry Jones has a unique superstition related to his father
Jerry Jones’ father Pat died in 1997. He was around long enough to see his son not only turn around the Dallas Cowboys’ finances, but win three Super Bowls. It wasn’t long after his father died, his mother, Arminta, returned those cuff links he had given him decades earlier.
“His cuff links are a treasure for me. When he passed, mom gave the cuff links back to me,” Jones said in an interview on 105.3 The Fan. “I usually have, no matter what, if it’s important enough to think about, French cuffs or not, I’ve got one or both of those, in various pockets and various places. I’ve put them every place you can imagine. But they’re very meaningful for me. I’d say that’s my No. 1, if I’m serious about trying to do something to give it an edge as far as from above, I usually mess with those cuff links in some form or fashion.”
Every Dallas Cowboys game television cameras always show Jerry Jones up in his owner’s box intently watching the game. Sometimes he’s seen standing with his hands in his pockets. If the game is in the balance, you know there’s one or two cuff links inside, and he’s calling on them for a little good fortune. And this season, the Cowboys can use all the good luck they can get.