Arkansas oilman Jerry Jones says his ownership means a new day of winning ways for the Dallas Cowboys. But Jones expressed regrets about his handling of Coach Tom Landry's dismissal.
During a news conference Monday, Jones deferred questions about staff changes to Landry's replacement, Jimmy Johnson, who scheduled a news conference Tuesday afternoon at the Cowboys' Valley Ranch headquarters.Jones said he was sensitive to Landry's feelings about being sacked after 29 years as the team's only head coach. But Jones said he never considered having a Cowboys coach other than Johnson, his college roommate at Arkansas and teammate on the undefeated 1964 Razorback football team.
"My business background is such that I'm not afraid of something new. What is important to me, though, because I'm going to be in that dark hole, I want somebody familiar standing there with me helping walk down that ol' black tunnel," Jones said.
"I wanted him bumping around as we walked down that darkness down there, trying to build our football team. We will win, we must win, winning is what it's all about.
"We're going to make it a new day, and we're going to win."
Jones said he felt inadequate when he and Cowboys president Tex Schramm met with Landry in Austin on Saturday, before the sale was announced.
"I was so sensitive to his feelings, I was so sensitive to the speculation," Jones said. "It did mean everything to me for Coach Landry to hear what I had to say in the manner I had to say it as quickly as possible, and that was done. We made every effort in the world."
Landry told The Associated Press on Sunday, "No one had to tell me. I would have had to be pretty stupid not to know when they got on the airplane to come see me. They could have saved the trip because all they did was tell me I was fired."
"I resent the way that it was handled, too," Jones said Monday, but added, "I couldn't have done it any better."
The new owner wanted to look to the future. "The Cowboys are my queen now, along with everybody else's queen," he said, adding that he was relieved the transaction was complete. "I was ready for my queen to quit dancing with everybody. When you get married, you want her to quit dating as quick as you can, and that's what we did."
Jones said he and Johnson have discussed dreams of running a professional team for years.
In response to a question, Jones said he might consider naming Texas Stadium after Landry. "I think enough of him to do it," Jones said, but added that the idea hadn't occurred to him until a reporter mentioned it.