Chet Flippo

chet3 Chet in the Navy, as illustrated in Rolling Stone.

The full, rich life of Chet Flippo, who passed away at the age of seventy in late June, was celebrated October 14 at the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville, where he had spent his last years as editorial director of CMT.com and writing the Nashville Skyline column.

Chet was something of a mentor and role model. He was eight years older, having grown up on the eastside of Fort Worth. He showed up on my radar as the Texas correspondent for Rolling Stone magazine, the music-oriented publication based in San Francisco that fostered a new kind of cultural journalism and launched the careers of many writers including Ed Ward, John Morthland, John Swenson, Cameron Crowe, Joe Klein, Jon Landau, Greil Marcus, Lester Bangs, Hunter S. Thompson, and Joe Ezterhas.

His first byline in Rolling Stone was a story on a Fort Worth band called Bloodrock, semi-famous for their teen car crash saga, “DOA.” Chet also took the photos accompanying the article.

Chet was a key figure in putting Austin and its music scene on the map. If producer Jerry Wexler hadn’t enlisted Chet to find Doug Sahm, Willie Nelson might not have happened. Chet was living in Austin with new wife, Martha Hume, attending graduate school at the University of Texas (his dissertation at UT was about the rise of rock journalism) while filing stories for Rolling Stone about people and sounds that the good people in San Francisco weren’t aware of. His byline was attached to the first national story about the Armadillo World Headquarters, his first feature on Doug Sahm returning to San Antonio from San Francisco made the cover. Without Chet there would have been no coverage of Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings or Fourth of July Picnics, where rock and country sensibilities converged.

I was running the record department at the Electric Fetus in Minneapolis in the snowy spring of 1973 when I read a story Chet had written about Doug Sahm at the Soap Creek Saloon that made me so homesick, my girlfriend and I moved back to Texas that summer. Only we didn’t go to Fort Worth; we went to Austin. The first night we went out, we went to hear Sir Doug at Soap Creek. The whole scene at the old roadhouse out in the cedar brakes west of Austin was everything Chet had written about: a cool hippie scene with a distinct cosmic cowboy flavor with the one musician who could play every indigenous musical style found in Texas holding forth on stage.

Within a year or so, Chet left Austin to open up the New York bureau of Rolling Stone. The magazine’s entire operations would eventually follow him there. We’d only met a few times, but I guess he’d seen my writing because when there was a shooting incident at a nightclub where a stray bullet almost nicked Asleep at the Wheel’s Ray Benson, who was in a video truck outside the club, Chet suggested to an editor that they contact me. I got my first Rolling Stone byline thanks to Chet, and thanks to Tim O’Connor, the shooter, who was working with Willie Nelson and later became Austin’s biggest concert promoter . (Tim later told me he had to leave the state for a year because he’d had a prior arrest).

I continued to file stories as a stringer for Rolling Stone, which prompted me to drop out of college, in spite of Rolling Stone’s meager pay. That led to lots of freelance, a pop music column in Texas Monthly, and ultimately a writer’s life. Martha Hume, Chet’s wife, assigned me several stories for Country Music magazine, where she worked, including a piece on Jimmie Rodgers’ home in Kerrville, where the Blue Yodeler and the first country music star spent his last years. I even got to share a byline with Chet on a story about a benefit-gone-wrong for imprisoned boxer Ruben “Hurricane” Carter featuring Bob Dylan and his Rolling Thunder Review. (Through that story and some unusual circumstances, I sold Bob Dylan two used record albums while minding the counter of a friend’s record shop).

I quit writing for a few years to manage a band called Joe “King” Carrasco and the Crowns, which included my then-girlfriend and now wife, Kris Cummings. The band’s first gigs at the Lone Star Café in New York were informed by Chet’s presence and by Martha Hume’s guidance how to work the New York media.

The passing of Martha last winter and my missing a remembrance of Martha hosted by Chet in June prompted a trip to Nashville for Chet’s remembrance.

chet1 Chet’s Chili recipe

It was a fine time.

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Before the proceedings, I had a chance to visit with Chet’s niece and with his younger brother Ernie, while Mickey Raphael, who was representing Willie Nelson and Family, pointed out all the folks who had showed up.

The memorial opened with a series of photographs laying out the life of the son of a fundamentalist preacher father and a tough, rifle-toting mother. Chet was an aspiring photographer and writer as a young boy who knew how to focus, how to operate a mimeograph machine, and how to publish an underground newspaper before he was thirteen. Until the image popped up on the screen, I did not know he, like me, was a high school cheerleader – high schools in Texas cities had boy and girl cheerleaders both. Photographs of Chet with Willie and President Jimmy Carter, with Dolly Parton, with his beloved Martha, and with a parade of other notables rolled out, one after another.

Then, the Sir Douglas Quintet’s “At the Crossroads” played on the sound system. Most of the gathering did not know the song, its composer, Douglas Wayne Sahm, or its significance. But they couldn’t missed the chorus: “You can teach me a lot of lessons, you can bring me a lot of gold, but you just can’t live in Texas, if you don’t have a lot of soul.”

The voice of Johnny Cash sang “I Shall Not Be Moved” before Cash’s daughter Rosanne Cash stepped to the podium. Noting that since the Armadillo World Headquarters no longer exists and that the Lone Star Café in New York is just a memory, she said there wasn’t a more appropriate place to celebrate Chet’s life than Nashville, in the building where the kind of country music greats that Chet respected most were honored upstairs in the Hall of Fame.

She was followed by Bill Carter, who ran security for the Rolling Stones in the mid seventies when Chet was covering them extensively for Rolling Stone. Carter opened by relating how the Stones feared Flippo and his investigative talent for unearthing details that lesser journalists never got. Carter went on to relate how Chet and him became and remained good friends over the years despite their initial adversarial relationship. No wonder. Mickey Raphael whispered that Carter was working for the Secret Service when John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas. Chet had been a cryptographer in the Navy with top-secret clearance. No wonder these one-time adversaries were friends for life. They were both former spooks.

“Chet set an high standard for journalism,” Carter said. “He led a big, bold life.” He also captured the craziness of the Rolling Stones on the road at their peak, Carter related, epitomized by the run-in the band experienced with San Antonio authorities, egged on by media czar Rupert Murdoch, who first planted his flag in the United States buying the San Antonio News, which was making a big deal about the inflatable twenty foot phallus that Jagger used as a stage prop. That prompted a line by Flippo about “no big dicks allowed in San Antonio.”

Flippo’s relentless pursuit of the story while covering the Stones tormented Mick Jagger, who complained, “He’s everywhere” to Carter. “In every city, he knew exactly where we were and what we were doing.”

Carter introduced the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, whose John McEuen told the story of how Chet wrote about their Will The Circle Unbroken project in which a band of hippies, as McEuen described the Dirt Band, collaborated with a bunch of country music old-timers including Mother Maybelle Carter and Doc Watson to make an album. Turns out, Chet even joined the chorus of recording. The three players, joined by songwriter Matraca Berg, then launched into a spirited rendition of “Keep On The Sunny Side.”

Peter Cooper, the music journalist for the Nashville Tennessean, read excerpts from the “Fishing With Bobby Bare” chapter of Chet’s book Everybody Was Kung Fu Dancing, which went a long way explaining Bare as the kind of country music iconoclast that appealed to Chet. Cooper was followed by Bobby Bare himself, who said,” I did take Chet fishing. We went bass fishing and wound up catching a lot of crappie.” Bare recalled his first meeting with Chet in New York and how he didn’t fit the Rolling Stone writer stereotype he expected, and of subsequent visits in New York and later in Nashville. He also credited Chet for making him a rich man. The photograph of Bare that accompanied the first article Chet had written about Bare showed the singer-songwriter putting a plug of Red Man chewing tobacco in his mouth, which got him a million-dollar endorsement from Red Man

Rosanne Cash returned to the stage, recalling that Bobby Bare sang harmony on her very first record, before singing “The World Unseen,” a song she wrote after her father, Johnny Cash, had passed, supported by John McEuen on mandolin.

CMT ran a brief video tribute reel that was better suited for television viewing, followed by music executive Paula Batson who spoke of her long friendship with Chet and Martha and of her understanding that no matter how tight they were, when Chet was on the job interviewing one of her clients, he was relentless in pursuit of his story. Paula spoke of the early eighties “when Texans owned New York,” specifically citing Chet, Rolling Stone publisher Joe Armstrong, and Texas Monthly/Newsweek writer Richard West, another mentor of mine, and of Chet and Martha as a couple (“You knew they were sweet enough for each other”), and their deep knowledge and understanding of high culture and low culture.

A video of Jann Wenner, the cofounder of Rolling Stone, affirmed Chet’s role in making country music and country musicians hip. Without him, the magazine would have never covered Willie, Waylon, or Dolly Parton, much less Gary Stewart, George Jones, and Charlie Daniels. But he was hardly just country. “He was the best music writer we had,” Wenner said. Period.

Dierks Bentley sang “50 Miles” (of elbow room) with the Dirts and Matracha Berg before Ernie Flippo spoke on behalf of the family, noting that “50 Miles” was a song we sang at church,” and spending a good chunk of his remembrance celebrating all the misspelling of Flippo’s name (Chet and Martha saved all the misspelled letters) and how one reader decided Chet Flippo was the best made-up name in Rolling Stone. Chet was the only Chet in the family. Chester W. Flippo, Sr., their holy roller preacher father with a prominent mane of tall hair, was Chester, or C.W., but never Chet.

Ernie represented the family well, maintaining his composure until the last line, when he said Chet departed this world too early.
The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, joined by Bentley, Bare, Cash, and Berg, closed with “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” with a recent photograph of Chet alone on a Florida beach on the big screen behind them.

Gone too soon, perhaps, but a well-spent life.

chet3 1

Afterwards, I visited with Chet’s older sister Shirley. Ernie had mentioned that Shirley was being chaperoned by her nine year old little brother on a car date (“a chartreuse Mercury”) when Chet first heard Hank Williams on the car radio. That initial exposure would eventually lead to writing Williams’ biography Your Cheatin’ Heart.

Hank Williams is not well-known in Nashville today, despite being the single most-influential voice in country music. Nashville’s changed, but so has Austin, New York, Fort Worth, as have music and music journalism. But the words of the chronicler remain, telling the stories of a very special time and some special places, inhabited by a parade of good people.

A remembrance card at the memorial quoted Chet from A Style Is Born: The Rock and Roll Way of Knowledge in the tenth anniversary issue of Rolling Stone, published in December 1977. Great writing, he observed, is “like a letter from home, a transitory home, a home for the soul, a storehouse of everything meaningful to me. Music was, and still is, the starting point (proving the old analogy that was you listen to forms the soundtrack to your life) but that encompasses one hell of a lot.”

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Ten Best Football Books of 2012

according to Kirkus Reviews
link here: www.kirkusreviews.com/lists/10-best-football-books-2

10 Best Football Books

We know what you’re thinking—why are those book nerds over at Kirkus pontificating about the best football books? Do they even watch football at Kirkus? Ahem—we’ll bypass that question to remind you that if it’s a book, we know whether it’s any good. This week, we highlight 10 gripping, insightful stories about the big egos, big money and big bruises at the heart of America’s national sport. You won’t get all 10 read before Sunday’s epic battle, but any of these titles will provide some nice perspective on why that little oval of pigskin—and the guys fighting and fumbling over it—capture our attention (even our attention).
Cover art for MUCK CITY
NONFICTION
Released: Oct. 23, 2012
MUCK CITY: WINNING AND LOSING IN FOOTBALL’S FORGOTTEN TOWN
by Bryan Mealer
“Mealer tries a little too hard to tug at the heartstrings; nonetheless, he offers a stirring tale of sports as a means of escape from dire circumstances.”
High school football players and other residents of hardscrabble Belle Glade, Fla., fight for their pride and their lives in this chronicle from veteran reporter Mealer (All Things Must Fight to Live: Stories of War and Deliverance in Congo, 2008, etc.). Read full review >
Cover art for THE DALLAS COWBOYS
NONFICTION
Released: Oct. 9, 2012
THE DALLAS COWBOYS: THE OUTRAGEOUS HISTORY OF THE BIGGEST, LOUDEST, MOST HATED, BEST LOVED FOOTBALL TEAM IN AMERICA
by Joe Nick Patoski
“A fittingly exhaustive history of a larger-than-life franchise.”
Texas journalist and author Patoski (Willie Nelson: An Epic Life, 2008, etc.) delivers an oversized history of one of sport’s greatest franchises. Read full review >
Cover art for WAR ROOM
NONFICTION
Released: Nov. 8, 2011
Kirkus Star WAR ROOM: THE LEGACY OF BILL BELICHICK AND THE ART OF BUILDING THE PERFECT TEAM
by Michael Holley
“A deeply reported, thoroughly engaging look at what it takes to succeed in the NFL–and a perfect complement to the NFL Network’s compelling miniseries Bill Belichick: A Football Life.”
A longtime Patriots chronicler goes inside the brain trust of the NFL’s most successful team. Read full review >
Cover art for OUR BOYS
NONFICTION
Released: Aug. 18, 2009
OUR BOYS: A PERFECT SEASON ON THE PLAINS WITH THE SMITH CENTER REDMEN
by Joe Drape
“A feel-good story of youthful drive, great coaching and the value of unflagging communal support.”
Turning his attention from horseracing (To the Swift: Classic Triple Crown Horses and Their Race for Glory, 2008, etc.), New York Times reporter Drape follows a high-school football dynasty. Read full review >
Cover art for THE GLORY GAME
NONFICTION
Released: Nov. 4, 2008
THE GLORY GAME: HOW THE 1958 NFL CHAMPANIONSHIP CHANGED FOOTBALL FOREVER
by Frank Gifford, Peter Richmond
“Touchdown, Gifford!”
NFL great Gifford (The Whole Ten Yards, with Harry Waters, 1993) reminisces about the legendary game between his New York Giants and the Baltimore Colts. Read full review >
Cover art for THE BEST GAME EVER
NONFICTION
Released: June 3, 2008
THE BEST GAME EVER: GIANTS VS. COLTS, 1958, AND THE BIRTH OF THE MODERN NFL
by Mark Bowden
“Not quite on par with Bringing the Heat (1994), among the best football books ever, but surely a delight for anyone interested in the history of the NFL.”
Bowden (Guests of the Ayatollah: The First Battle in America’s War with Militant Islam, 2006, etc.) takes a sharp look at the 1958 National Football League championship game, which featured “the greatest concentration of football talent ever assembled for a single game.” Read full review >

Cover art for CARLISLE VS. ARMY
NONFICTION
Released: Sept. 4, 2007
CARLISLE VS. ARMY: JIM THORPE, DWIGHT EISENHOWER, POP WARNER, AND THE FORGOTTEN STORY OF FOOTBALL’S GREATEST BATTLE
by Lars Anderson
“Gripping, inspiring coverage of three powerful forces’ unforgettable convergence: the sports version of The Perfect Storm.”
Sports Illustrated staffer Anderson (The All Americans, 2004, etc.) chronicles a 1912 game that proved a turning point not just for college football, but for the sport as a whole. Read full review >
Cover art for NAMATH
NONFICTION
Released: Aug. 23, 2004
NAMATH: A BIOGRAPHY
by Mark Kriegel
“Namath was no angel, thank goodness, but this evocative portrait shows him at play in the fields of magic. ”
Meaty biography of Broadway Joe from sports-columnist-turned-novelist Kriegel (Bless Me, Father, 1995). Read full review >
Cover art for BACKYARD BRAWL
NONFICTION
Released: Sept. 3, 2002
BACKYARD BRAWL: INSIDE THE BLOOD FEUD BETWEEN TEXAS AND TEXAS A&M
by W.K. Stratton
“Good-natured, intelligent, funny, and less bombastic than the title suggests.”
A savvy sportswriter uses the football rivalry between the University of Texas and Texas A&M to paint a lively, partial portrait of the Lone Star State. Read full review >
Cover art for MY GREATEST DAY IN FOOTBALL
NONFICTION
Released: Oct. 8, 2001
Kirkus Star MY GREATEST DAY IN FOOTBALL: THE LEGENDS OF FOOTBALL RECOUNT THEIR GREATEST MOMENTS
edited by Bob McCullough
“Simply not to be missed: Meat and potatoes for the football fan.”
Fun memories from football greats, and some fascinating insights into the politics of the Hall of Fame and football’s evolution over the past 50 years, as compiled by McCullough (My Greatest Day in Golf, not reviewed). Read full review >

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Cowboys first Bling Ring 4 Sale

Dallas Cowboys’ first team publicist is auctioning off a rare keepsake: his ring from team’s first Super Bowl win in ’72

The link is here direct from the Scoop blog at the Dallas Morning News.

And here’s the Scoop:

By Robert Wilonsky
rwilonsky@dallasnews.com
9:51 am on January 24, 2013 | Permalink

Curt Mosher’s held on to this Super Bowl ring for more than 40 years. Selling it now, he says, is “the thing to do.”(Courtesy Heritage Auctions)

Curt Mosher, a sportswriter who got comfortable in some front offices around the National Football League, officially became the Dallas Cowboys’ public relations director on April 1, 1967. He wasn’t the first to hold the position: “Tex Schramm’s official title was general manager and chief public relations executive,” says Joe Nick Patoski, author of The Dallas Cowboys: The Outrageous History of the Biggest, Loudest, Most Hated, Best Loved Football Team in America. “But Curt was the first I read about who was ID’d as team publicist.”

Mosher held that title till 1976, when he left to run the day-to-day operations of the expansion Tampa Bay Buccaneers; a year later, he was assistant general manager for the Atlanta Falcons. But he left Dallas with one heck of a parting gift: a diamond-studded “World Champions” ring, the result of Dallas’ 24-3 whipping of the Miami Dolphins in Super Bowl VI at Tulane Stadium down in New Orleans.

And now it could be yours: Mosher and wife Mary are selling the ring in Heritage Auctions’ February 23-24 Platinum Night Sports Auction, which will take place in New York City. As far as Heritage can tell, this is the first 1971 season title ring to be offered at auction.

“It’s hard to part with it,” says the 80-year-old Mosher. “And it’s a gorgeous thing. Tex was the one who OK’d the design. Tex was appreciative of a lot of things, including jewelry. It’s gorgeous.”

But Curt hasn’t worn it “for quite a while,” says Mary. The reason: “He’s been ill, and it just fell off his fingers. It’s been laying around for years …”

“Not years,” interrupts Curt.

“Well, you haven’t worn it for years,” Mary says.

“I wore it when my fingers and hands worked,” Curt says. “I’m very arthritic. And I’ve had health issues. But you don’t want to hear all that.”

In an emailed statement Chris Ivy, director of sports auctions at Heritage, reminds this is far from the first Super Bowl ring Heritage has sold; it was news back in 2011 when long-ago Green Bay Packer Fuzzy Thurston sold his Super Bowl II jewelry to cover some back-tax issues, for instance.

“But we can’t find another instance of a single 1971 Cowboys Super Bowl ring ever coming up a public auction,” says Ivy. “For fans of America’s Team this may well be the ultimate artifact, and there’s certainly no telling when, or if, another one will surface.” He guesstimates the bidding will open around $10,000 and go up from there.

For Curt, parting with the ring won’t be easy. His connection to the Cowboys of old goes way back and runs deep. “I loved Tex Schramm,” Curt says. He and Mary were at his house just days before the team’s first president and general manager died on July 15, 2004.

And “he was the messenger who informed Roger Staubach that Don Meredith had retired, sealing the Dodger’s future with Dallas,” says Patoski. “Until that point, Staubach was thinking his future was probably with another team. And he was in the inner circle of the front office that got to party with Clint Murchison at Spanish Cay, back when owners were beloved rather than reviled.”

The Moshers say, yes, it’ll be nice to make some money off the ring. Of course. Absolutely. “That’d be great,” Mary says.

“But I’d like to see it in the hands of someone who loves it as much as I do,” says Curt. He says he used to wear the ring all the time — even in New York, when he worked for the National Football League’s Management Council, though he would wear it backwards as not to attract undue attention. But those days are long over. Time to pass it on to the highest bidder who’ll really appreciate such a rare keepsake from the team’s very first Super Bowl win.

“I always love to hear good things about the Cowboys,” says Mosher. “It’s just been very pleasant. Mary’s taken on the task of selling it, and that’s the deal. Yes, it’s hard to give it up, but that the thing to do.”

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Book of the Week on TheFinancialist.com

Very fine review from the Finalialist, link here http://www.thefinancialist.com/book-of-the-week-the-dallas-cowboys/

Book of the Week: The Dallas Cowboys

The Dallas Cowboys haven’t won a Super Bowl in nearly two decades. They haven’t been to the playoffs since 2009. They finished this season with an 8-8 record and a gut-wrenching loss to the Washington Redskins that ended their hopes for a playoff berth.

Despite their lackluster performance in recent years, the Cowboys still have a swagger that delights their fans and enrages their many detractors. “America’s Team,” as the Cowboys have dubbed themselves, plays in a $1 billion stadium that includes displays of high-end art alongside the team’s five Lombardi trophies. The stadium and its gigantic high-definition screen (the fourth largest in the world) is a reminder that, win or lose, the Cowboys always seem to be in the spotlight.

In his 800-page book, “The Dallas Cowboys: The Outrageous History of the Biggest, Loudest, Most Hated, Best Loved Football Team in America,” former Texas Monthly journalist Joe Nick Patoski explains how the team cultivated its larger-than-life persona over the last four decades. He argues that the Cowboys’ brash attitude is part of the Lone Star State’s own unique football culture, where high school and college football often approach the status of religion. In fact, when Clint Murchison Jr., the son of an oil baron, invested $600,000 to launch the Cowboys in 1960, he had to rely on a healthy dose of spectacle to convince fans who passionately followed high school and college play on Friday and Saturday to also cheer for professional football on Sunday.

While Murchison used marketing to build a fan base, by the 1970s, the team was drawing crowds with its winning ways. Head coach Tom Landry, always wearing his trademark fedora, led Dallas to five Super Bowl appearances, winning in 1971 and again in 1977.

Much of Patoski’s best material comes from this era, including his descriptions of quarterback Roger Staubach, who asked for a station wagon instead of a sports car after being named M.V.P. of Super Bowl VI, and running back Duane Thomas, who refused to speak for an entire season as part of a contract dispute.

Patoski also dedicates a great deal of ink to the Cowboys’ current owner Jerry Jones, whose over-the-top sense of style personifies today’s team. The author portrays Jones as a passionate, hands-on owner who signed some of the league’s biggest contracts and built one of the its most ambitious stadiums.

In his own way, even though the Cowboys are no longer winning, Jones has helped solidify the brand established by Landry and Staubach back in the 1970s. Dallas remains big and bold, and whether you love ‘em or hate ‘em, they are still America’s team.

Photo courtesy of Ken Durden / Shutterstock.com

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My latest Cowboys screed, courtesy of the TM Daily Post

link here www.tmdailypost.com/sports

Why the Cowboys Should Go Socialist
by Joe Nick Patoski
Nov 29 2012, 11:30 AM

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Editor’s Note:

Another week, another Cowboys loss, and another round of fan unrest with Jerry Jones. This time, no doubt inspired by all of the secession talk in Texas, a desperate and disgruntled fan took to the White House “We the People” website, asking President Barack Obama to faciliate the “removal” of Jones as Cowboys owner and GM: “We, the Citizens of the Great State of Texas, and Dallas Cowboys fans worldwide, have been oppressed by an over controlling, delusional, oppressive dictator for way too long,” it read, as Dan Graziano of ESPNDallas reported. Unfortunately, the petition violated the site’s terms of participation, no doubt because it failed to “address the current or potential actions or policies of the federal government.” Fear not. Longtime Texas Monthly contributor Joe Nick Patoski has another solution:

If Jerry Jones wants to make a really big move before the 2013 season rolls around, he’s got to go beyond bringing in another formerly successful coach/GM like Bill Parcells or Mike Holmgren.

Last week, ESPN’s Ed Werder reported that Holmgren (above, left, with Jones) would be interested in coaching the Cowboys should the job come open, even as Holmgren publicly denied it.

Holmgren may have been a winner at Green Bay and Seattle, but his most recent record running the Browns leaves something to be desired. If Jerry really craves the Packer legacy and record, he should go much further than simply hiring its Super Bowl coach. He also needs to embrace Green Bay’s socialism.

Jones the owner has been fantastically successful, monetizing the value of the franchise as the NFL has monetized itself into America’s biggest entertainment. Jones the general manager is a failure, despite his “socks and jocks” declaration when he bought the team in 1989. And the owner won’t fire the GM.

So Jerry, go ahead and hire Holmgren. Give him the authority to make trades and run the football end of the franchise. But then double down and emulate the Green Bay model of ownership.

The Packers are the only community-owned team in the NFL, with over 300,000 shareholders owning a piece of the franchise. And yet, despite that—or more accurately, because of that—the Pack remain a dynastic team that consistently competes among the league’s elites.

Why would the NFL’s most ruthless capitalist embrace that model? Because then Jerry Jones could finally get what he really wants most—another Super Bowl win.

Think of it: 300,000 Cowboys fans, in Texas and around the world, willing to pony up $10,000 apiece (a pittance compared to the personal seat licenses fans pay to dib a prime viewing seat at Cowboys Stadium, much less a luxury box) to call themselves part-owners. That’s $3 billion more for Jerry. He also gets to keep the stadium receipts (like all that pizza money).

Meanwhile, a real GM is hired, and, finally, a better football team takes shape, and brings back the Lombardi Trophy. That earns Jerry absolute forgiveness, both from everyone who’s suffered the past decade-plus, and from older fans who haven’t forgotten Jones’s classless firing of Tom Landry.

Jones and his son Stephen might even be retained as business managers, so they can continue to wheel and deal. And if Jerry needs to get his football ya-yas out, he can always donate more dough to his alma mater the University of Arkansas, which, in its current state, can probably use him as a bench jockey and armchair general manager (it’s been suggested Jones was at least partially responsible for the Razorbacks’ overture to LSU head coach Les Miles this week).

The NFL is a very complicated game and business, one that requires specialized expertise at every level. The owner of the Jones-era Cowboys has tried to do it all for the past 15 years. He’s succeeded wildly at revenue and branding, but ultimately failed by not delivering on his business’s core-product: the football team.

So go socialist, Jerry! Make yourself a hero to the fans, and make the Dallas Cowboys worthy of their global fan base once again.

Joe Nick Patoski is the author of THE DALLAS COWBOYS: The Outrageous History of the Biggest, Loudest, Most Hated, Best Loved Football Team in America (Little, Brown). Read an excerpt from it here.
Tags:
Sports, America’s Team, cowboys, Dallas Cowboys, Green Bay Packers, Jerry Jones, Joe Nick Patoski, Mike Holmgren, NFL, Dallas

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Hector Saldana’s profile in the San Antonio-Express News

Story link here:

by Hector Saldana

Author Joe Nick Patoski was looking for a Texas story bigger than Willie Nelson, the subject of his last book.

He found it in the Dallas Cowboys, a team whose history and mystique not only transcends the game but reflects the elevation and coming-of-age in pop culture status of professional sports. The team’s star logo is second only in recognizability to that of Coca-Cola.

“The light bulb went off,” said Patoski. “The only thing bigger in Texas than Willie Nelson is the Dallas Cowboys.”

Patoski’s latest book is titled “The Dallas Cowboys: The Outrageous History of the Biggest, Loudest, Most Hated, Best Loved Football Team in America.”

Best known for his musical biographies “Willie Nelson: An Epic Life,” “Selena: Como La Flor” and “Stevie Ray Vaughan: Caught in the Crossfire,” his love of secret swimming holes and for his many years at Texas Monthly, Patoski says his outsider status uniquely qualifies him to write the Cowboys story.

“I really am a music guy,” said Patoski. “My history has been using music as a way to understand culture. It’s an easy way to understand and identify culture.”

Patoski admits he longed for something different.

His books on Nelson, Selena and Vaughan are definitive and covered areas that he loved — country, blues and Mexican music.

“I really felt I’d completed this triumvirate of what Texas is all about, African American, Mexican American and Anglo American. That’s our ethnic foundation,” Patoski said.

Patoski, who grew up in Fort Worth, says the task of telling the Cowboys history in a state known for football was daunting, but piqued his curiosity.

“We didn’t invent the game, but we own it,” he said. “This is all larger-than-life (stuff). The Cowboys are the story of Dallas. The story of the NFL since 1960 is best told through the Dallas Cowboys, the premier franchise. It’s why we even care.”

hsaldana@express-news.net

Read more: http://www.mysanantonio.com/entertainment/books/article/Tall-Cowboy-tales-3899864.php#ixzz27yoiqitf

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Joe Nick Patoski Slam-Dunks Dallas Cowboys Tome (Houston Press)

William Michael Smith, Houston Press writer and Odessa Permian grad, weighs in on the book here:

Football
Joe Nick Patoski Slam-Dunks Dallas Cowboys Tome
By William Michael Smith Fri., Sep. 21 2012 at 12:30 PM
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Categories: Football

cowboys2.jpg
The dust jacket from Joe Nick Patoski’s new tome on America’s Team
If there is one reason Joe Nick Patoski’s books — biographies of Selena, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Willie Nelson — are so good, it is his ability as a storyteller. Any decent reporter can sift news clippings and videos or interview the participants, but Patoski’s style and organization turn what could have been dry, pedantic history into a page-turner. You can actually picture him whittling on a piece of pecan while, with a knowing huckster twinkle in his eye, he wheedles you into something you didn’t bargain for. It’s the Texas way.

It doesn’t hurt that his subject matter in the thorough-to-a-fault 816 page tome Dallas Cowboys: The Outrageous History of the Biggest, Loudest, Most Hated, Best Loved Football Team in America is the self-proclaimed America’s Team, that garish, gauche agglomeration of rich nut jobs, rigid Christian automatons, true-believer underpaid players like Lee Roy Jordan, Bob Lilly, Dave Manders, and Don Perkins, and too-highly-paid thugs like Pac-Man Jones and Michael Irvin known as the Dallas Cowboys.

Ever since the ultra-kooky Dallas zillionaire Clint Murchison founded the franchise with his twisted brain trust of carnival barker Tex Schramm and rigid Jesus-nut coach Tom Landry, the Cowboys have been a three-ring larger-than-life circus.

Federico Fellini couldn’t make this shit up.

For people of a certain age — those of us who still remember the team in its infancy, when Sunday NFL football was changing Sunday viewing habits forever and who have been sucked in by the Cowboys media juggernaut for the past fifty years — the book is the key to forgotten personalities and events, a history closely paralleling our own lives.

“If there is a goal to this book, it’s to trigger memories in readers,” Patoski told me recently. We were discussing short term head coach Chan Gailey, whom I had completely forgotten. “Chan the Man was not that bad a coach, he just had a very tough act to follow, the Cowboys still being in thrall of Jimmy Johnson’s aura.”

While Patoski has gathered a smattering of information firsthand via interviews — mostly from innocent bystanders like center Dave Manders’ wife Betty who add color and validity — he did not interview any of the major principals in the story, although he did request an interview with current owner Jerry Jones three times.

According to Patoski, seeking an interview with Jones was something any good journalist would do, but Jones ignoring his requests didn’t really alter the book in any way.

“The security guy told me he wouldn’t respond, there wasn’t anything he’d gain from that,” says Patoski. “Listen, the written record on this subject is so huge, I didn’t need to talk to him or anyone, really. My goal was figuring out the bigger story.”

And figure out the bigger story he did. Not only does Patoski leave no stone unturned in relation to the Cowboys on- and off-the-field actions, he also masterfully ties in the history, politics, business environment, and culture of Dallas and the DFW area. He even draws a subtle comparison with Houston, using Molly Ivins’ insightful line, “Houston is degenerate, Dallas is perverse.”

The overarching highlight is Patoski’s cinematic Technicolor evocation of the circus the Cowboys are and have always been. Sex, drugs, rock and roll have never looked so salacious, except in Pete Gent’s great fictionalization of the Cowboys, North Dallas Forty.

“That’s the outrageous part,” Patoski explains. “It wasn’t anything I said, it’s what the written record said.”

Perhaps the biggest surprise of the book is how well the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders come off. In spite of their hyper sexed-up public image, up beside all the macho crazoid stuff going down with the team and its management the cheerleaders come off as one of the few true positives, mainly due to the careful management and civic foresight of the various managers of the organization over its history. Few realize the economic impact the cheerleaders have made; they frequently add more than a $1,000,000 in profits to the Cowboys’ bottom line annually.

Patoski paints dynamic, carefully researched portraits of all the main players in the drama, neither diminishing the accomplishments nor exaggerating the freak-show events. But it is his timely, unblinking portrait of current owner Jerry Jones that stands out.

A megalomaniac of epic proportions, Jones is rightfully portrayed as a marketing genius who took both the Cowboys and the NFL to almost unimaginable financial heights, yet for all his financial success and a brief return to glory during the Jimmy Johnson regime, Jones’s football club has been barely above mediocre on the field over the long haul. Patoski lays the blame for Dallas’s .500 record over the past decade squarely at Jones’s feet.

Patoski makes the case — as have others — that the problem is Jones’ insistence on functioning not only as owner but as general manager, the only owner in the league to do so. For every stroke of genius comes another incident where Jones comes off like a spoiled, redneck brat who puts his celebrity above winning by continually meddling with coaches and football decisions.

Patoski labels the fact that Jones and the Cowboys continue to be thought of by the public — and by ticket buyers — as a great football team in spite of their lackluster record over the past decade as “Jerry’s con.” Never in the history of the NFL has such a mediocre team demanded so much rabid loyalty or had such astronomical television ratings.

The author also makes plain that in spite of all the smoke and mirrors, Jones and his revolving cast of head coaches haven’t come close to matching the success of the original owner and coach. Patoski does offer hope to the faithful that the Cowboys may right themselves when Jones steps down in favor of his son Steve Jones, who has been in the family business since day one and is apparently less of an egomaniac than his flamboyant father.

Don’t be intimidated by this five-pound monster. Because of Patoski’s feel for Texanspeak and Texanthink plus his highly trained reporter’s instincts, the book can be cruised through in a week. Well written, informative, and entertaining, it stands every chance of being a true blockbuster, just like its subject.

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