One of Jerry Jones' biggest regrets

February, 25, 2009
2/25/09
4:50
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley

On this day 20 years ago, a 46-year-old oilman named Jerry Jones became the owner of the Dallas Cowboys. I've talked to Jones about that day several times over the years.

Previous owner Bum Bright had offered to fire Tom Landry before turning the team over to Jones. That could've softened some of the harsh criticism that Jones drew in 1989. Jones instead listened to a couple of world-renowned public relations consultants and decided to fire Landry in person.

He and former general manager Tex Schramm flew to Austin, where Jones fired Landry on a golf course. Looking back, it's one of Jones' biggest regrets that he decided to do what felt like the right thing. It took him years (and Super Bowls) to recover from that decision. Here's an excerpt from an interview I did with Jones on the 15th anniversary of this day:

On if he regrets the way in which he took over the team: "From the get-go, I retained two of the top PR firms in the nation. One was from Washington, D.C. and the other one nearby in Texas. I'm not going to give their names. But the interesting thing is that I had the opportunity to do it differently. Bum Bright said he would make all the changes I wanted before I bought the club. But I was advised that the heads-up way to do it was to address any changes face to face. I know that my gut was telling me that I needed to have a personal dialogue with Coach Landry. After we won one or two Super Bowls, I ran into some of those same PR people, and they told me they'd come up with a whole standard in PR advice based on our situation.

"They said they'd advised dictators and leaders of huge companies, but they'd never known what it was like to change America's Team."

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