By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
Jerry Jones is our Pied Piper.
Not surprisingly—considering his unique combination of money and moxie—Jerry Jones has also marched straight to the top of the Dallas Observer's 2008 list of the 50 Most Powerful People in Metroplex Sports. In the list's three-year history, Jones has been ranked No. 1 twice.
Because, if you haven't noticed, he gets what he wants, when he wants.
In the past year, Jones lured Arkansas and Texas A&M into playing their annual college football series in his new $1 billion Jonestown coliseum in Arlington, leaving Dallas' Cotton Bowl with East Central State (Oklahoma) versus Texas A&M-Commerce Division II table scraps. He's convinced Dallas Mavericks' owner Mark Cuban, long an opponent of the corporate showcase, to consider hosting an NBA All-Star Weekend in the new joint. And though no other NFL team had the balls to pursue Pacman, the old oil wildcatter jumped at the risk.
The best indicator of Jones' power: Who else could oversee a franchise without a playoff win in 12 years and unveil the most expensive ticket prices in the history of sports, only for the team to somehow re-surface with enduring popularity and be the NFC favorite to play in this year's Super Bowl?
On to the list, in descending order of power:
50. Tom Landry: The day he falls off this list is the day we all catch a flight to Hades in a wicker carry-on.
49. Adam Jones: "Pacman" or not, the volatile cornerback has the potential to derail the Cowboys' Super Bowl train.
48. Larry Lundy: President of the Dallas All-Sports Association throws the city's glitziest black-tie party.
47. Jamey Newberg: Dallas attorney and Rangers fanatic influences fan and even franchise opinions via his Newberg Report.
46. Bob Sambol: His Bob's Steak & Chop House is one-stop shopping for athletes seeking delicious steaks and not-too-shabby scenery.
42. Tim Cowlishaw: Lead columnist at Dallas' Only Daily has also won a time or two on ESPN's Around the Horn.
41. Pat Summerall: NFL's former signature voice remains a marketable personality going strong in Southlake.
39. Chuck Dannis: Year after year he successfully runs the area's biggest participant sporting event, the White Rock Marathon.
36. Mike Modano: Is this his final year on the list?
33. Brenden Morrow: Announced his arrival during the Stars' impassioned playoff run.
32. Ron Washington: On the verge of being fired, Rangers' manager was saved by injuries to vets and ensuing influx of youth.
31. Brad Sham: Still the most recognizable voice in Dallas.
28. Dave Tippett: Stars' head coach proved the power of perseverance.
26. Gerald Ford/Carl Sewell: SMU's biggest athletic boosters annually keep the program from slipping to NAIA quality.
25. Rudy Jaramillo: Regardless of manager, general manager or rebuilding project, the one constant in Arlington is that the Rangers' hitting coach will have Texas scoring runs in bunches.
23. Michael Young: Still the face of the Rangers franchise, he'll be counted on for the biggest hits and best leadership if Texas is to contend into the fall.
22. Marty Turco: Stars goalie finally won a playoff series and re-introduced Dallas to springtime hockey.
20. Stephen Jones: Heir to the Cowboys' throne has his fingerprints all over new stadium.
19. Michael Irvin: Hall of Famer making a splash as ESPN Radio rookie by landing interviews with controversial figures.
18. Jon Daniels: After a slow start, the Rangers' young GM has orchestrated several boffo trades now paying dividends at major-league level.
17. Jason Kidd: If he doesn't lead Mavs to a title next season, he'll be responsible for ruining the franchise twice.
16. June Jones: Among college football's Top 15 highest-paid coaches, the new SMU guru is charged with working one of his makeover miracles.