25 years ago Jerry Jones bought the Dallas Cowboys off of Burn Bright. Since then Jerry Jones has seen three super bowl wins and has turned his franchise into the second most valuable team in the NFL, MLB, NBA or NHL behind only the New York Yankees. Jones has seen more success than any other owner in the history of the Dallas Cowboys and is one of the most polarizing figures in all of sports. None of this would have it been possible without the man that came before Burn Bright: Clinton W. Murchison Jr.
Clinton attended Duke University where he was at the top of his Institute of Technology class and graduated with a masters in mathematics. Great intelligence was not his only privilege as it just so happened that he was the son of one of the big four of Texas oil.
Being a half back at Lawrenceville school prep academy in New Jersey Clinton, at a very young age, developed a passion for the game of football large enough to match the depths of his very deep pockets. Clinton was one of the lucky few that witnessed the first Dallas Texan’s game versus the New York Giants.
It was only a matter of time before Clinton’s incredible wealth and intelligence, met his desire to pursue the game of football. Presenting the acquisition of a franchise as a great business opportunity was enough motivation as Clinton began his quest to acquire an NFL franchise. After initially being rejected by commissioner Bell and several other struggling franchises, Clinton caught a break when George Halas and Art Rooney announced the NFL was expanding and Dallas was set to get a team. November 24th 1954, it became official as it was announced at a press conference that Clinton was to be the owner of the new expansion team.
Clinton achieved his goal but knew that from that point on the fate of the Dallas Cowboys would have to rest in the hands of another man. With a seemingly endless flow of cash and an owner that was willing to take a step back Tex Schramm jumped at the opportunity to become the first general manager of the Dallas Cowboys.
Schramm wasted no time as, even before the NFL officially approved the expansion while dealing with the conflict with the AFL’s Dallas Texans, he offered Don Meridith a five year $150 000 contract. While this was extraordinarily important, it was Tex’s next significant move that changed not only the Dallas Cowboys, but the entire NFL. Tom Landry, the former defensive assistant of the New York Giants was hired by Tex Schramm.
The quarterback and the coach was a fantastic start for Tex Schramm, but they were merely the focal points as his football team needed many more pieces. Gil Brandt was then hired as the head scout to help fill up the rest of a championship roster. As hard as it is to hire someone as impact full as Tom Landry, Gil Brandt comes as close as possible. Without Gil Brandt, the Dallas Cowboys, could not possibly be the same franchise today as it was he that went after Roger Staubach in his junior year at the Naval academy. The Chiefs also attempted to go after Staubach, but with the deep pockets of Clinton, Tex was able to match the offer of the Chiefs and secure one of the greatest players in the history of the Dallas Cowboys.
Everything that Clinton could have wished for when he first become owner of the Dallas Cowboys came to fruition. Tom Landry and Roger Staubach lead the Cowboys to their first, and their second super bowl win in 1972 and 1977.
With the media circus that surrounds Jerry Jones it appears as though the one thing the world wants him to do is exactly was Clinton did. Clinton took a step back and instead of trying to run the team himself hired the likes of Tex Schramm and Gil Brandt who were responsible for two of the most iconic Dallas Cowboys in Tom Landry and Roger Staubach. It was because of Clinton’s era that such a tremendous standard of excellence surrounds the Dallas Cowboys. They began and established one of the most successful teams in pro sports. Even though Jerry Jones has won more super bowls and made more money, he and everyone else that is a part of the Dallas Cowboys owe their opportunity to the generation that preceded them.
(Information courtesy of The Dallas Cowboys by Joe Nick Potoski)