The last night of our Combine experience, Kevin Acee (the U-T’s Chargers beat writer) and myself decided to get dinner at the hotel bar. He still had work to do, so he brought his laptop and finished a story while I watched the NBA All-Star game, trying like hell to not fall asleep in my salad. (I’m worse than an old lady, believe me. By 9 p.m. I’m yawning.)
A Texas drawl caught our attention a few seats down.
“Miss, I’d like to buy a bottle of Ketel One, please.”
“Oh, no, you don’t want to do that,” our waitress proclaimed. “Our bottles of alcohol are really expensive because we’re a hotel. It’s $272 for a bottle.”
“Really?” said the man. “Well, that is expensive.”
The waitress nodded apologetically and started walking away, thinking the conversation was finished.
“I’ll take it!” the man exclaimed, grinning.
Our poor waitress. Her jaw dropped to the ground. Nowhere in her mind could she fathom that someone would spend a few hundred bucks on a bottle of $20 vodka.
Kevin and I were laughing, quite aware — though clearly our waitress wasn’t — that the man who was playing along with her attempt to talk him out of an overpriced bottle of bad alcohol had enough money to buy the whole damn hotel.
The man was Jerry Jones. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. You know the guy — outspoken, loved and hated by many, iconic and filthy, filthy rich.
Seems that Jerry was going out that night and wanted to get started a little early. (Note the irony here … I can barely make it past 9 p.m. and good ol’ Jerry was just beginning to make it rain.)
Anyways, as the waitress retrieved the bottle, Jerry saw us laughing and came over to say hello. We introduced ourselves and as soon as he found out we covered the Chargers, he immediately noted his fondness and love for Norv, who was the offensive coordinator for the Cowboys when the team won back-to-back Super Bowls in 1992 and ’93.
The man is a PLAYA! Smooth!
Later, we found out from an agent that he dropped $80,000 at an Indy restaurant the night before. Kinda puts that $272 bottle into perspective, huh?
Honestly, no NFL owners are probably more recognizable than Jerry Jones and maybe Robert Kraft. But Jerry has this undeniable spirit, a Texas charm, that sets him apart. Love him or hate him, his personality is bigger than most … (Cue the cliche, “Everything is bigger in Texas” in 3 … 2 … 1). Seriously, it was pretty cool to meet him and I must say: I’d love to be a fly on the wall at one of his parties or nights on the town. The man has major swag.