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NFL Media pitches in to help Jerry Jones sell his “all-in” nonsense

In late January, Cowboys owner and G.M. Jerry Jones made “all-in” the phrase that pays for 2024.

Or, as the case may be, the phrase that doesn’t pay.

As recently explained, Jones used the term in its usual sense. Since then, the Cowboys have been trying to change that definition, with Jones himself on Tuesday trying to suggest that he used it as a way to express enthusiasm.

NFL Media, owned and operated by the NFL’s teams, is now trying to help Jerry’s effort to warp reality. From an item on NFL.com: “Jones’ original all-in musing was never free-agent specific. He spoke about ‘key contracts we’d like to address,’ along with the team not building ‘for the future,’ and authoring a time-is-now narrative in the aftermath of a disappointing defeat on Super Wild Card Weekend against the Green Bay Packers.”

Baloney. Here’s the question Jones was asked on January 30 at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama: “Is there any change of, ‘Hey, we need to go all-in this year’? Is there any focus or thought process on putting all the chips in to put a winner on the field, including what you do with free agency?”

Said Jones: “I would anticipate with looking ahead at our key contracts we’d like to address, we’ll be all-in. I would anticipate we’ll be all-in at the end of the year. . . . It will be going all-in on different people than you’ve done in the past. We’ll be going all-in. We’ve seen some things out of some of the players that we want to be all-in on. And that, yes, I would say that you would see us this coming year not building for the future, is the best way I know to say it. That ought to answer a lot of questions.”

It’s highly unlikely that Jones — who has significant influence within NFL Media — specifically asked for NFL.com to carry his water on the alternate-facts meaning of “all-in.” The more likely reality is that the folks at NFL.com know from experience that if they write or say something that makes Jerry look bad, they will hear about it. At a time when NFL Media is slashing and burning salaries whenever and wherever it can, there’s no reason to risk making Jerry upset by peddling in, you know, the truth as to what he said when he first said it.

That continues to be the biggest problem with league- or team-owned media. There are lines that can’t be crossed. Since I don’t work for the league, I’ve got the freedom to say, for example, that Jones is gaslighting his fan base into keeping their wallets open and eyes engaged to Dallas games on TV. Or to repeatedly opine that, when it comes to dealing with their star players, the Cowboys are: (1) cheap; (2) short-sighted; and (3) not as smart as they think they are.

Between his decision to keep coach Mike McCarthy after the team’s latest playoff debacle and to make the hollow claim that he’s “all-in” in the chips-in-middle-of-table sense, I’ve been pushing the idea that Jones really isn’t trying to win a Super Bowl. He’s trying to keep his team prominent and profitable.

That’s something Jones would never admit. In this context, however, inaction speaks far louder than words.

So, yes, I believe the annual quest for Super Bowl gloryhole is hogwash.

Look at it this way. If Jones is as serious as he claims to be about winning a Super Bowl, the past 29 years of his life have been riddled with constant torment. That’s no way to spend the three decades from 52 to 82, especially when you have amassed enough cash to buy anything you want — including a floating luxury hotel that is literally longer than a football field.