Jerry Jones, owner of the Dallas Cowboys and New England Patriots, discusses how his relationship with Robert Kraft has evolved over time. He also talks about what it was like to go up against Bill Belichick in the Super Bowl and how he feels about having a team in Los Angeles.

The who owns the patriots is a question that has been asked for years. Jerry Jones, owner of the Dallas Cowboys and Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots have had an interesting relationship over the years.

7:20 a.m. Eastern Time

  • Reiss, Mike


    New-England-Patriots-New-York-Jets-rivalry-goes-to-Gen-ZESPN Contributor

    • Since 1997, I’ve been covering the Patriots.
    • In 2009, he joined ESPN.
  • Todd Archer is a writer who lives in the United States


    Cowboys-Jerry-Jones-Patriots-Robert-Kraft-on-their-relationship-teamsESPN Contributor

    • Since 1997, I’ve covered the NFL, and the Cowboys since 2003.
    • I’ve already written on the Bengals and the Dolphins.
    • He and his wife and two children live in the Dallas area.

FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS — With the Dallas Cowboys ready to face the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on Sunday (4:25 p.m. ET, CBS), there are plenty of stories to choose from.

Jerry Jones, the owner of the Dallas Cowboys, and Robert Kraft, the owner of the New England Patriots, set the tone for their respective teams.

They have a total of nine Super Bowl titles between them, three for Jones and six for Kraft.

Forbes lists their clubs as the wealthiest in the NFL, with the Cowboys valued at $6.5 billion and the Patriots at $5 billion.

Jones is renowned for his innovations in marketing, corporate sponsorships, and stadium construction, whereas Kraft is known for his role in the league’s huge broadcast agreements and for helping to resolve the 2011 lockout, among other things.

Both addressed questions from about their relationship, their clubs, and how they see the NFL ahead of their teams’ matchup on Sunday.

The demands for interviews with Kraft and Jones were just on their relationship, not about other league problems like Jon Gruden’s departure as coach of the Las Vegas Raiders.

You and your teammate joined the league five years apart (Jones in 1989, Kraft in 1994). What was the nature of your connection when you first met?

Team Value
Cowboys $6.5B
Patriots $5.0B
Giants $4.85B
Rams $4.8B
Washington $4.2B
Note: Valuations are based on Forbes estimates.

‘Jones,’ I say “I invited him to the Atlanta Super Bowl [XXVIII], and he sat in the same box as me. I was full of hope. Bob had come in after a string of owners who had been tested, and I knew he had really stepped up. He paid $175 million for the Cowboys, which was more than I spent for them [$140 million]. I was excited to see him come in and make that type of commitment because I was really hopeful about the NFL’s future. I had the impression that we were in comparable situations. I noticed a lot of parallels to when I first joined the Cowboys, so I wanted him to benefit from what I had learned in my first four or five years in the league. He also has a wonderful personality. He’s really simple to get along with and speak to. We had a lot in common in terms of how we were driven and how we saw the NFL and our franchise’s future. As a result, having that connection was simple.”

“One of the first owners to welcome me to the NFL was Jerry,” Kraft said. When the Cowboys defeated the Buffalo Bills in the Super Bowl that year in Atlanta, he invited me to sit in his suite with him. The event had left me speechless. I’d been a season-ticket holder for the Patriots for 23 years, and during that time, the team had only hosted one playoff game, which we lost to the Houston Oilers in 1978. I was seated in the owners room at the Super Bowl with Jerry Jones and his friends only days after purchasing the Patriots. My eyes were filled with stardust. It was an unforgettable event that undoubtedly aided in the identification of an organizational objective. The thrill of watching the Cowboys win the Super Bowl was one I wanted to share with the rest of New England.

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“I was taking over a club that had just come off of 1-15 and 2-14 seasons. When Jerry purchased the Cowboys, he had a similar experience, finishing 1-15 in his first season in the league. Nonetheless, the Cowboys won back-to-back Super Bowls in less than five years. I was in a similar situation, having to purchase a franchise that had previously failed. I wanted to turn around the Patriots club, and spending time with Jerry in my first few weeks as a league owner gave me reason to believe it could be done, and done fast. Jerry will always have my gratitude for how he treated me when I initially joined the league. It meant a great deal to me.”

How much do you provide information about the league’s operations?

Mr. Kraft: “I paid the greatest price for a sports team at the time when I purchased the Patriots. Jerry established a fresh and aggressive approach to promote his club and maximize income in his area when he purchased the Cowboys five years ago. He upended the status quo and altered the way NFL owners do business. When I purchased the Patriots, they were in last place in the league in terms of revenue. I felt inspired to make a difference. And Jerry was paving the way for future owners like myself. Jerry has always been a pleasure to converse with. He is devoted to his Cowboys and has a strong sense of how to develop a brand. Over the past three decades, I’ve served on a number of league committees with him, giving us plenty of chances to talk about league business and the NFL’s future.”


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Mr. Kraft: “The National Football League is a hysterical organization. Off the field, I consider him a friend. We’re business partners who compete against one other in one of the world’s most cutthroat sectors, and we both have devoted followings. As a business partner, he has shown to be a valuable asset. He’s one of the best salespeople I’ve ever met, and he’s done a lot of good things with the money he’s made, which he’s put back into the Cowboys’ facilities and brand. He is devoted to his staff, which is the kind of business partner you desire. Someone who is dedicated to developing a brand with which we can all be proud.”

What is it about each other that you admire the most?

Mr. Kraft: “Jerry’s excitement for the Cowboys and for everything he does is contagious. As I have said, he is simply one of the best salesmen God has ever created. I don’t always understand what he’s saying, but he’s so passionate and talks with such conviction that you fall for whatever he’s selling. He has the ability to captivate people and persuade them to give him what he wants. These are qualities that have served him and the Cowboys well throughout his career.”

‘Jones,’ I say “Bob has a rare ability to communicate. Communication abilities that are very effective. He’s unflappable in his demeanor. I had a man tell me that he was voted most likely to succeed at Columbia. In that regard, he is very gifted. He’s also a highly intense guy with an enticing exterior. Such a combination is very effective.”

What are some of the ways you function that are similar?


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‘Jones,’ I say “The game is one of our favorites. At the end of the day, we all like football. And he does as well. That, I believe, is where it all began. Second, we’re very enthusiastic. We are very dedicated and want to do all we can to support the Patriots, Cowboys, and NFL. We recognize that it is the NFL that allows the Cowboys and Patriots to achieve their full potential. It couldn’t happen without the competition, the other teams, and the viability of the other teams. As a result, he has a keen sense of it and takes choices and attempts to educate them appropriately.”

Mr. Kraft: “I consider myself very lucky to be able to engage my boys in my family’s companies, especially the Patriots. Every day, I get to visit them and spend time with them. And they’ve all put in a lot of effort. I’m sure Jerry feels the same way about the Cowboys’ chances to engage Charlotte, Stephen, and Jerry Jr. It is a true gift that none of us takes lightly. It’s just one of the many things Jerry and I have in common. Each of these instances contributes to the strengthening of our bond.”

What are your views on the current state of the NFL business?

Mr. Kraft: “The NFL is as powerful as it has ever been, and it has a bright future ahead of it. The previous collective bargaining agreement laid the groundwork for us to negotiate long-term, record-breaking media deals with conventional broadcasting rights as well as streaming possibilities that we know will expand our audiences both nationally and globally. This is advantageous to everyone. We can now reach out to fans in fresh and innovative ways that we could never have imagined before thanks to technology. It’s an exciting moment to be a member of the NFL and to look forward to the league’s future development.”

‘Jones,’ I say “With where we’re at now, you could argue that we’re in our best hour since I’ve been in the NFL. And it has to do with how we’ve dealt with COVID, to be honest, and you can start there because it’s front of mind. I believe that people’s interest in our game is reflected in the number of people who watch us on TV, digital, and other forms of media available today. When I think back on the years and the stadiums we’ve had, beginning with the most recent ones in Los Angeles and Las Vegas; when I think about where we are today with the caliber of the players and the game itself; I haven’t seen a finer moment than now.”

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