Jerry Jones: 'Bob McNair Was Elegant From The Beginning'

SportsRadio 610 Staff
January 21, 2020 - 8:14 pm

Jerry Jones was in town to present the Lifetime Achievement Award to late Texans owner Bob McNair at the Houston Sports Awards.

He joined Sean Pendergast and Clint Stoerner, who played for him with the Dallas Cowboys, to talk about McNair and what's happening with the Cowboys.

You can read an edited transcript from that interview here.

Tell us about your relationship with Bob and how that started and who you became close

It initiated at a time where he was pursuing getting Houston, the franchise that he was to be a part of. It had a great legacy. I would come down here and sneak away when I was a kid and hang around the hotel here in Houston when Lamar Hunt, Bud Adams and that group had that AFL.

My dream was to somehow get involved. I’d hang out just to go get them a Coke or do something like that. I just wanted to be close to it. I never dreamed at some point Bob McNair would come along and really bring football to what arguably could be called ‘the home of football’ … Houston football … High school football.

Clint, if you remember looking at the honor at the University of Arkansas, if you take the Texans down and a lot of them out of Smiley high School and you’ll take a lot of them out of Arkansas. But that’s a long winded way of getting into of what I thought of when I saw Bob. I said all of this to think about.

And here he comes to make a presentation to the owners about bringing the team back to Houston. He was elegant from the very beginning. He bested me every time I looked around. He was a few steps ahead of me in every way.

I’m going to mention tonight, but there were two times in maybe two or three that I’ve teared up and cried in the NFL. One of them when we rolled in here on the inaugural night and we let the newHouston [franchise] beat the Dallas Cowboys. That was hard to take. But if it was going to happen, it needed to happen with Bob McNair. 

How did this happen getting you here tonight?

I would’ve walked here from the Senior Bowl or any place to get to recognize Bob and what he’s done for the NFL.

He loved his players. He loved the fans. He really had it together. The day he walked in the room of the NFL, he probably was in the top three or four owners, the day he walked in!

As far as just bringing that kind of asset, if you will, to football, and to the NFL. What he ended up doing and the managing that he did to get those two Super Bowls here were magical. I know this, and I’m not saying it because I’m standing in this lobby, I’ve said it before – Houston put on the most genuine … the people made everybody associated with the NFL that came to Houston, feel better than any city that has ever had the Super Bowl.

That really came by and through a lot of what Bob McNair was about.

I could go on and on about his accomplishments. He was a strong person. A very, very strong person. I’ll never forget – he got in front of the room with the league office and said, “I want to be clear. I think you guys are going to run the show. It’s run from out here, among the owners.” I know he got criticism for that, but that’s Bob McNair. 

Bob put a lot in the bucket with his relationships so that when he had to take some out, we’re talking hard times or straight times, he could take a bunch of it out because he put a lot of stuff in there with his individual relationships. 

On Bob's son Cal McNair

Cal would be the first to tell you. To have gotten to be involved in play-option quarterback and be there at Bob’s side as a young man, to have gotten to see those times that Bob had to think on his feet or think in the spirit of what it called for at that time, probably prepares him as well as anybody that we’ve got sitting in the room.

Obviously he’s got a lot of great ideas, a lot of imagination, this is absolutely one of a handful of the best markets there in sports [can’t understand him] … He’s up to the challenge. Everything that I’ve seen him do decision-making wise and ownership, I know that Bob would’ve been so proud of him. He had him ready to go. 

On a regular Cowboys-Texans game on a more frequent schedule? 

The only problem is that maybe I’d go for it now that Bob’s not around because he put a lot of knots on my head. Every time I looked up, he was winning. That’s good, frankly I’m glad it happened as I stand here right now.

Seriously, I’ve always thought that these natural rivalries should be extenuated relative to the NFL when they have them.

Some of the them are engendered when they’re in the same division. But there are some others that aren’t and those make great games and make natural, ‘my town against your town”, “my city against your city”. Nobody has that more than Dallas and Houston. So I like the idea. 

On Mike McCarthy as the Cowboys new head coach

It’s very early. Mike’s got his staff that he’s still putting together there back in Dallas, not at the Senior Bowl.

We’ll take care of evaluating this talent at least for right now while he’s doing that work to put the staff together. The thing that I like about Mike the best is that he’s been in the foxhole.

He’s certainly had experience getting shot at, but he’s been hit. When you get in the fox hole with someone who’s shown they’re made of the right stuff – they’ve had it in their past, they’ve done good. Get them in with you after they’ve had a little flack [can’t understand] and then you might really have you something there.

Everybody gets their's, it's just a matter of when you do.

Without being too poetic here, Mike brings the combination of experience and a "can-do" attitude. We know he wants to show them. And we want him to show them everything he’s about with the Dallas Cowboys.