Look, I’m not one to brag or tell you that I can see into the future, but I just want to begin with what I wrote last Thursday, moments after Ezekiel Elliott’s appeal to further delay his suspension was denied by the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals:
“I can’t wait for Atlanta to blow the doors off this disoriented team playing without its brightest star on Sunday afternoon, and I want the Eagles to go down to Dallas the week after and deliver the knockout blow to the Cowboys on national television for all to see– and I want to hear Jerry Jones bitch about how it wasn’t fair. That’s a neat little ancillary benefit to this whole thing. It’s going to be awesome.”
Let’s see here. A 27-7 drubbing that featured a flaccid Cowboys offense that couldn’t run the ball, gave up eight sacks, and almost got the quarterback killed. Nailed the first part, although I was momentarily worried about my call on Jones. Amazingly, he didn’t have much to say after the game, but then, well, we got this report last night from Pro Football Talk, regarding a possible Jones ousting:
A league source with knowledge of the situation tells PFT that multiple owners already have been discussing the possibility, which flows from Article VIII of the NFL’s Constitution & Bylaws. Specifically, Section 8.13 authorizes the Commissioner to determine that an owner “has been or is guilty of conduct detrimental to the welfare of the League or professional football.” If the Commissioner believes the available sanction (a $500,000 fine) is “not adequate or sufficient,” the Commissioner may refer the issue to the NFL’s Executive Committee, which has the power to compel “[c]ancellation or forfeiture of the franchise in the League of any member club involved or implicated,” with a directive to sell the team.
It’s obviously an extreme outcome, and it surely would trigger years of litigation. But the possibility has emerged primarily because Jones has opted to take family business outside the family. As the source explained it, the primary affront comes from the belief among owners that Jones instigated Papa John’s CEO John Schnatter to disparage the NFL, blaming league leadership for ratings declines and, in turn, a reduction in Papa John’s revenues.
Man, I thought we would just get some standard post game whining from Jones about lack of due process for Elliott, but instead we got…PIZZAGATE! If true, this might be my favorite sports story of all-time.
Let’s get this straight. Jones picks up the phone says, what? “Uh, hey, Papa John. This is Jerruh Jones. I know nobody likes your pizza because it tastes like it came out of the oven and was dipped in ass sweat, but, uh, I’m gonna need you to blame anthem protests and the commissioner for the revenue decline of your pizza, that, again, tastes like it was dipped in ass sweat.”
First, let me just say there’s no way that Jones is so petty and so vindictive that he would go rogue against the entity that’s made his franchise worth $4.2 billion and call PAPA JOHN to make Goodell look bad. It’s simply impossible that he would try to have the commissioner of the league removed just because his best player, who is by all accounts a total sleazeball and may or may not have hit a woman, was suspended. I’m sure he’s had long standing issues with Goodell and has been plotting behind the scenes for years to get him out…right?
Let’s see what well-sourced and respected longtime NFL reporter Jason La Canfora has on the subject:
Jones’ recent outbursts in public and in private, and his attacks on commissioner Roger Goodell, are being seen by his peers as a direct reaction to his anger of Ezekiel Elliott’s six-game suspension, the sources said, and are diminishing his respect and influence among other owners.
It’s true that there is a financial connection between Schnatter and Jones. Jerry is part-owner of 120 Papa John’s locations in Texas, so a revenue reduction affects his bottom line as well, but that’s probably chump change, considering Jones’ estimated $5 billion net worth.
Let’s take a moment and run this back. The Cowboys were embarrassed on national television. They are already down Elliott, and now may also be without Tyron Smith and Sean Lee. There are rumblings that fellow owners are so pissed at Jones’ behavior that they’ve considered going nuclear by suing Jones for the rights to the Cowboys. And now, here come the 8-1 Eagles, who currently have a 97 percent chance to make the postseason, and are in position to deliver that aforementioned Dallas knockout blow this Sunday night. I want to take this season, rub it all over my body, put it inside of me and keep it there forever.
— NFL (@NFL) November 13, 2017