The Fab Fifty
When Jerry Jones acts, we all react.
He flies to Lubbock, and next thing you know the Texas Tech-Oklahoma State game isn't relocating to Dallas after all. He builds a $1 billion shrine to himself under the guise of football, and next thing you know Arlington is hosting the 2011 Super Bowl.
He cares, he finagles, he meddles, he cares some more, and next thing you know the Dallas Cowboys owner tops the Dallas Observer's 2007 50 Most Powerful People in Metroplex Sports.
As his team prepares for training camp in San Antonio, the man who fired Tom Landry and crafted the longest post-season drought in franchise history is enjoying unprecedented popularity. In 2001 he appeared on the cover of Texas Monthly with satanic horns. Last week, Sports Illustrated proclaimed him "The King of Texas."
The fact he's done it without a single playoff win speaks directly to Jones' power.
He cock-blocked former Dallas Mayor Laura Miller's courtship of Tech-OSU with a re-route to Tarrant County. And when he decided the Cowboys' new stadium needed after-budget upgrades—60-yard video screens and enough room to house the Statue of Liberty—he paid for it with $350 million out of his own pocket.
50. John Painter. Without his tireless promotion, the Mesquite Rodeo would fade into oblivion.
49. Tom Landry. With his hat in the Ring of Honor, his statue outside Texas Stadium and his legacy hovering over America's Team, he's eternal.
48. Nancy Lieberman. First lady of Dallas sports has carved out a niche on ESPN.
47. Larry Lundy. The President of the Dallas All-Sports Association throws the city's glitziest black-tie party.
46. Don Hooton. Major League Baseball's war on steroids launched with a $1 million donation to his Taylor Hooton Foundation.
45. Dr. Kenneth Cooper. "Father of Modern Aerobics" expands his fitness universe to Craig Ranch in McKinney.
44. Gordon Jago. Director of The Dallas Cup does more for local soccer than 10 David Beckhams.
43. Pat Summerall. Voice of the NFL still a viable, marketable personality going strong in Southlake.
42. Nolan Ryan. Even at the Rangers' new store on McKinney Avenue his headlock on Robin Ventura is glorified.
41. Gil Brandt. His presence as NFL consultant keeps the finger of this former Cowboys GM on the pulse of football.
40. Jamey Newberg. Dallas attorney and Rangers fanatic influences opinions on his must-read Newberg Report.
39. Marty Turco. Every spring he has the fate of the Stars in his hands. More often than not, he drops it.
38. Matt Doherty. SMU's basketball coach must justify a $12 million facelift to Moody Coliseum.
37. Jordan Woy. Dallas-based agent represents more than 75 NFL players including Cowboys tight end Jason Witten.
36. Bruce Gadd. Cotton Bowl Chairman's herding of annual game to Arlington will result in $30 million economic sucker-punch to Dallas.
35. Bob Sambol. When athletes desire juicy steaks in jumping ambience, they head to Bob's Steak & Chop House.
34. Steve Orisini. SMU Athletic Director charged with bringing a championship, any championship, to the Hilltop.
33. Gerald Ford/Vic Salvino/David Miller. Without SMU's biggest boosters, Orsini wouldn't stand a chance.
32. Terdema Ussery. Mavs President, often the quiet calm behind owner Mark Cuban's storm, is cozy with NBA commish David Stern and Nike founder Phil Knight.
31. Stephen Jones. Heir to the Cowboys throne has his fingerprints on new stadium.
30. Chuck Dannis. Runs area's biggest participant sporting event, the White Rock Marathon.
29. Mike Rhyner. Jeff Catlin may be The Ticket's Program Director, but there's no doubt who's in charge of Dallas' sports talk radio dynasty.
28. Brad Sham. Cowboys icon may have the most recognizable voice in Dallas.
27. Dave Tippett. Stars coach clinging to relevance—and a job—after repeated first-round flameouts.
26. Michael Irvin. Finally making news in Canton instead of handcuffs.
25. Jay Lombardo. Chances are every local athlete got everything except his uniform from Lombardo's Custom Apparel.
24. Todd Dodge. The author of the Southlake Carroll juggernaut has been handed the keys to North Texas.
23. Dan Beebe. Big 12 interim commissioner will oversee the hiring of a successor for Kevin Weiberg.
22. Hank Haney. Tiger Woods' swing coach is doing the best job this side of Amber Campisi's plastic surgeon.
21. Ron Washington. So far, his boundless enthusiasm hasn't meant diddly squat to a Rangers roster mired in mediocrity.
20. Michael Johnson. Sprinting back into the limelight with a new beer commercial and a new state-of-the-art training facility in McKinney.
19. Michael Young. Face of the Rangers franchise too often makes news with his mouth instead of bat.
18. Dale Hansen/Norm Hitzges/Randy Galloway. No one shapes more sports opinions than the metroplex's Mount Gushmore.
17. Steve Asmussen. Lone Star Park's winningest trainer validated his career with Curlin's win at the Preakness.
16. Troy Aikman. Still carries considerable weight via TV analysis, NASCAR ownership and prominent auto dealership on Central.
15. Avery Johnson. His authoritative stamp is imbedded on the NBA's best team to not win a title the last two seasons.
14. Mike Modano. When he goes, the Stars will disappear with him.
13. Rickie Rush. Channeling T.D. Jakes, the pastor's Inspiring Body of Christ Church near Duncanville is home to several athletes including Cowboys safety Roy Williams.
12. Rudy Jaramillo. Through rebuilding transformations and years littered with high homers and higher strikeouts, the Rangers' hitting coach remains untouchable.
11. Wade Phillips. You get the feeling that if he fails, the next Cowboys coaching change press conference will include Jones introducing himself.
10. Roger Staubach. Somehow, Captain America enhanced his already flawless legacy by helping Arlington land Super Bowl XLV.
9. Jon Heidtke. Wouldn't recognize him on the street, but the FOX Sports Net Southwest senior vice president makes the Mavs, Rangers and Stars decisions you recognize nightly on TV.
8. Jon Daniels. The Rangers' latest reconstruction is marshaled by a GM approaching a career crossroads at age 30.
7. Terrell Owens. No. 1 a year ago, he produced drops, naps, overdoses and 25 million reasons to move him down.
6. Eddie Gossage. Texas' face of NASCAR was briefly courted as the next NHL commissioner.
5. Mark Cuban. His empire lacks an NBA trophy but might soon include the Chicago Cubs and a team in the new United Football League.
4. Tony Romo. The same hands that botched a playoff snap and held Carrie Underwood's purse are now in charge of a season that should validate the departures of Drew Bledsoe and Bill Parcells.
3. Dirk Nowitzki. Despite a historic playoff pratfall, the NBA's MVP is now unequivocally the best player in Mavs history.
2. Tom Hicks. Powerful enough to infuriate the fan base of two local teams. Good luck, Liverpool.
1. Jerry Jones. His bigger-is-better Jonestown has us all gulping the Kool-Aid.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Observer's biggest stories.