Jerry Jones' flamboyant 20-year run as owner of the Dallas Cowboys has seen its share of high and lows. In honor of the anniversary, here are 10 "ups" and 10 "downs" from the Jones era in Dallas:
— Hiring Jimmy Johnson. Jones' former college teammate at Arkansas, and University of Miami coach, had a rough start at 1-15 in 1989 but went 43-21 after that and won consecutive Super Bowls before abruptly resigning in March 1994.
— The Herschel Walker trade. In October 1989, the largest trade in NFL history (involving 18 players and/or draft picks) sent Walker to Minnesota. Among players Cowboys got with some of Vikings' picks were Emmitt Smith, the NFL career rushing leader, and safety Darren Woodson, the team's career tackles leader.
— NFL-bucking stadium sponsorships and merchandise deals. In 1995, Jones cashed in with Pepsi and Nike — top rivals of NFL sponsors — by making them official sponsors of Texas Stadium. The NFL sued Jones. He countersued and, ultimately, changed the way all teams do business.
— Role in NFL deciding to add Fox before it was an established network. CBS had been televising NFL games for nearly four decades before Jones in 1993 helped the NFL reach an initial four-year, $1.58 billion deal with the then-fledgling network.
— Signing Deion Sanders in the salary cap era. The Cowboys lost to San Francisco and Sanders in the 1994 NFC championship game, so Jones found a way to sign "Prime Time" in 1995 despite a salary cap-strapped roster filled with stars. The Cowboys won the Super Bowl that season.
— Keeping his own big-name players. Fans could debate for hours the biggest name to get away in free agency. Any of those names pale compared to the franchise icons. Sure, Smith got away, but only for two pedestrian seasons in Arizona after the Cowboys decided to move on at running back.
— Hiring Bill Parcells when the franchise was at its lowest point in his tenure. Cowboys were coming off three consecutive 5-11 seasons when Parcells was hired. Dallas quickly got back in the playoffs, but Parcells' four seasons led to two playoff appearances — and no victories.
— Michael Irvin's Hall of Fame introduction. In his memorable induction speech in 2007, in an unrehearsed address in which his eyes were wet and his words came slow and emphatically, Irvin commended Jones and former teammates Smith and Troy Aikman for motivating him.
— Keeping the Cowboys visible and relevant even amid the franchise's longest playoff victory drought. From reality shows — twice featured on HBO's Hard Knocks series to an upcoming show featuring Irvin in which 12 "football neophytes" compete for a spot on the Cowboys' training camp roster — to merchandise sales, the Cowboys are still a big draw nationally. Their national TV games are frequent ratings bonanzas.
— The new stadium. The Cowboys' futuristic $1.1 billion stadium opens next season, and already is set to host a Super Bowl, an NCAA men's basketball Final Four and the NBA All-Star game.
— The handling of the Landry firing. Tom Landry was the only coach in the Cowboys' 29-year history when Jones bought the team, but Jones already had picked Johnson as his coach. In the shock of Landry's dismissal, there was the new owner and coach, including Jones describing the night as "Christmas to me."
— Smith's holdout at the start of the 1993 season. With Smith wanting about $4 million, and Jones offering just more than half of that, Smith missed the first two games. After the Cowboys lost both, Smith got a $13.6 million, four-year deal that made him the NFL's highest-paid running back.
— Any of 500 coaches. Soon the Cowboys' second consecutive Super Bowl title under Johnson, Jones made his infamous "any one of 500 coaches could have won those Super Bowls." Soon after, Johnson resigned. After one coach for 29 years, the Cowboys have had six in 20 years under Jones.
— Triple Frown of coaching moves. Barry Switzer got the Cowboys to another Super Bowl, with the foundation laid by Johnson, but dropped to 6-10 within two seasons after that. Chan Gailey was fired after two seasons despite consecutive playoff appearances, and beloved defensive coordinator Dave Campo had three consecutive 5-11 seasons after being promoted.
— The Outlaw Era. The Cowboys' image reached an all-time low under Jones in 1996. At the same time they had won three Super Bowls in four years, they owned six of the past 13 drug suspensions in the NFL. Michael Irvin's drug bust in an Irving motel was the lowlight.
— Search for Aikman's successor. Quincy Carter, Chad Hutchinson, Vinny Testaverde, Drew Bledsoe. And don't forget Drew Henson, Ryan Leaf, Anthony Wright and Clint Stoerner. Those were all the starting quarterbacks after Aikman and before Tony Romo took over midway through 2006.
— The Cowboys eventually paid for the salary cap savvy of the 1990s. Aikman and Sanders were gone by 2001, when their salaries were a large chunk of the $24 million Dallas paid for players not on the roster. The 5-11 record under Campo didn't come as much of a surprise.
— The Joey Galloway trade. After Irvin retired because of injury, Jones in 2000 gave up two first-round picks to Seattle for Galloway, who played only once his first season because of injury, and was gone three years later. Seattle used one of the picks on Shaun Alexander in 2000, when Dallas had only five picks and got no impact players.
— Putting the Triplets in the Ring of Honor before some deserving candidates from the Landry era. Aikman, Smith and Irvin were inducted in 2005. Drew Pearson, Harvey Martin, Ed "Too Tall" Jones and Charlie Waters are among former greats who haven't been recognized that way.
— Lone voice. Not liking some of the things reported this offseason, including whether Terrell Owens will return, Jones recently issued a gag order for coach Wade Phillips, his assistants and other team personnel.
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.