The New York Times has a big profile today of Jerry Jones, owner of the Dallas Cowboys. The nut of it:

Business, as usual, continues to be better than ever for the Cowboys. They were recently valued at $2.3 billion by Forbes, putting them on equal footing with the Yankees as the most valuable American sports franchises.

But the football operation, which Jones also lords over, remains a largely unfulfilled promise. It is not just that the three Super Bowls won under Jones are so distant, the last coming after the 1995 season. It is that Dallas has not come close since then.

The article depicts Jones as a rambling, gambling businessman with a golden record. His initial investment of $140 million has grown spectacularly and a new endorsement deal with AT&T for his stadium apparently opens an avenue to profit from wireless data. Football? In 16 seasons since the last Super Bowl, the Cowboys are 128-128. “Spectacularly ordinary,” the article says.

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Not that Jones doesn’t try to break out, with big investments in players, for example.

“The Cowboys, it’s like going to Las Vegas,” Jones said. “We shove a lot out there when we throw the dice. I’d rather go down falling short on expectations and have done it not in an unorthodox way, but with some twist.

“In the vernacular of finance, we’re not buying bonds here. This isn’t a widow’s portfolio I’m managing. This is trying to break out of a system that’s designed for 50-50. When we don’t break out, it causes me to take more risks, causes me to try more things to try to break out.”