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With 27 years of NFL experience, Stephen Jones has established himself as one of the brightest and most versatile executives in professional sports. Recognized as Owner Jerry Jones’ right-hand man, Stephen is the Cowboys Chief Operating Officer/Executive Vice President, as well as Player Personnel Director and President of AT&T Stadium.
He oversees the management operations for all aspects of the Dallas Cowboys and AT&T Stadium, while also supervising the team’s scouting and player personnel department. His work involves managing the organization’s 400-plus employees, while also handling all of the club’s salary cap and all major player contract concerns. He is also active in the recruitment - and management - of all major events that come to AT&T Stadium and The Star in Frisco. Jones’ experience as a major college football player, and his years as one of the NFL’s top executives, were instrumental in his appointment to the League’s prestigious Competition Committee. His active involvement in stadium management, design and development has also landed him a spot on the NFL’s New Stadium Committee.
Following the Cowboys 12-4 regular season finish and 2014 NFC Eastern Division title, Stephen and Jerry Jones were named the co-recipients of the NFL Executive of the Year Award as presented by Sports Illustrated’s Monday Morning Quarterback.
Beginning in 1989, Jones has played an integral role in the team’s dramatic rise from a 1-15 record to being the NFL’s “Team of the Decade” with three Super Bowl titles in the 1990s. As he enters his 28th NFL season, Jones is a driving force behind the Cowboys push to return to the NFL’s elite level of teams. His recent work has seen the club restock its roster with some of the game’s top talent and the recent results have produced winning records in seven of the last 13 seasons - and division titles in 2007, 2009 and 2014.
Since 2010, Jones has helped establish one of the more impressive drafting records in the NFL. In those six years, Dallas has selected 14 players who have become starters, with five of those becoming All-Rookie Team selections. Those same five players have become Pro Bowlers who have already made a collective total of 11 trips to the annual all-star game: Dez Bryant (selected in 2010), Tyron Smith (2011), DeMarco Murray (2011), Travis Frederick (2013) and Zack Martin (2014).
Over the course of the last 14 years, Dallas draft classes have produced 32 players who have gone on to start for the Cowboys while 14 of those choices became All-Rookie Team selections. Those same drafts also produced 17 Pro Bowl players who collectively combined for 50 all-star game appearances in Roy Williams (2002 draft), Andre Gurode (2002), Terence Newman (2003), Jason Witten (2003), DeMarcus Ware (2005), Marion Barber (2005), Jay Ratliff (2005), Jason Hatcher (2006), Nick Folk (2007), Anthony Spencer (2007), Mike Jenkins (2008), Bryant (2010), Sean Lee (2010), Smith (2011), Murray (2011), Frederick (2013) and Martin (2014).
In the ever-evolving strategy that dictates a team’s competitiveness in the current collective bargaining agreement, Jones’ performance in managing the Cowboys salary cap, and the club’s activity in free agency, has played a prominent role in the team’s ability to compete at the NFL’s highest level. Jones’ involvement in shaping the Dallas roster under the salary cap was critical in allowing the Cowboys to maintain one of the NFL’s most talented core group of players throughout the decade of the 1990s. His creativity and care taking of the Cowboys cap played a key role in the team’s six division titles and four conference championship games.
During a historic two-year period of time, Jones was involved in signing five Cowboys stars who were considered the best players in the game at their respective positions. Between September of 1993 and September of 1995, Jones helped orchestrate contract agreements with running back Emmitt Smith, quarterback Troy Aikman, fullback Daryl Johnston, wide receiver Michael Irvin and cornerback Deion Sanders.
Shortly after the turn of the century, Jones began spearheading the club’s new stadium efforts, overseeing every element of the development and construction of the venue while also working closely with local government, community and business leaders. He was directly responsible for the club’s successful referendum campaign in the fall of 2004 that saw the City of Arlington agree to join forces with the Cowboys in building a new state-of-the-art stadium.
Opened to the public in May of 2009, the stadium’s dramatic first season of operation resulted in the venue being named the Sports Facility of the Year by the Sports Business Journal in May of 2010.
The 100,000-plus seat stadium established the attendance record for an NFL regular season game as 105,121 witnessed the September 20, 2009 home opener, while the 108,713 who attended the NBA All-Star Game on February 14, 2010 became the largest crowd to witness a game in the history of the sport.
In just over seven years of operation, more than nine million fans have attended events that included high school and collegiate football, major college basketball, international soccer, professional bull riding, Motocross, world championship boxing and a handful of concerts that featured world renowned recording artists. More than three million other visitors passed through the twelve-story high doors of the stadium for daily public tours of the venue.
With its architectural versatility and cutting edge media capabilities, AT&T Stadium has become a visible beacon that has established North Texas as a major focal point on the sports and entertainment canvas of North America.
The brilliant home of the Cowboys has become a powerful catalyst in attracting a wide range of national and international events that will define the future of the region for generations to come. The stadium has already played host to Super Bowl XLV (February of 2011), the NCAA Final Four in men’s basketball (April of 2014) and the inaugural College Football Playoff Championship Game (January of 2015). Other top flight sporting events for the future include, the annual Goodyear Cotton Bowl, the Texas A&M-Arkansas football Southwest Classic and the annual “AdvoCare Classic” collegiate football series just to name a few.
In the summer of 2013, Jones was the organization’s point person in the negotiations that established the multi-year naming rights agreement for the Cowboys home in Arlington with AT&T.
Shortly after the new name for AT&T Stadium was announced, Jones took on the responsibilities of spearheading a partnership with the City of Frisco (TX) and The Frisco Independent School District to develop a new home for the Cowboys World Headquarters in Frisco. The Star in Frisco opened its doors for operation in the summer of 2016. Located in a rapidly growing community of more than 150,000 residents, The Star is a partnership with the City of Frisco and the Frisco ISD that places a strong focus on inspiring a strong future for high school football, youth sports and the next generation of players and fans by uniquely engaging them at the place where the Dallas Cowboys live, work and practice.
The Star is the only NFL training facility in the U.S. that is shared with a public high school athletic program. All eight Frisco ISD high schools will play home games within the Ford Center at The Star, a state-of-the-art, 510,000-square-foot indoor athletic facility. With a capacity of 12,000 seats, the Ford Center will host a variety of events in addition to football games.
The Star includes a 91-acre mixed-use development located on the Dallas Tollway. In addition to the team’s headquarters, the project will be a destination featuring shopping, dining, nightlife, athletic, fitness, event and hotel options.
Prior to focusing much of his energy on the innovative projects in Arlington and Frisco, Jones’ stewardship of historic Texas Stadium in Irving left behind a legacy of facility management that maximized the use and visibility of the venue into a year-round destination for sporting, entertainment, community and corporate events on an unprecedented level.
Jones has enjoyed a life-long association with the game of football. A four-year letterman as a linebacker and special teams standout at the University of Arkansas, Jones was a starter for the Razorbacks in the Orange Bowl Classic Game that followed the 1986 season. Prior to attending the University of Arkansas, Jones was an all-state quarterback and a three-year starter at Catholic High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. In February of 2015, Jones was inducted into the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame, where he joined his father who was a 1999 inductee.
He earned his degree in chemical engineering from Arkansas in 1998, and immediately went to work in the oil and gas business for JMC Exploration as an engineer.
On Feb. 25, 1989, Jerry Jones purchased the Dallas Cowboys and installed Stephen into a key front office position as one-of-three vice presidents with the club.
Jones is a past president of the Dallas Chapter of the Young Presidents’ Organization. He serves on the board of directors for the Cotton Bowl Athletic Association. He also serves on the board for the Dallas Citizens Council and the Baylor Health Care System Foundation. He is a former member of the NFL’s Business Ventures Committee, and he is also a member of the board of directors for Legends Hospitality - the joint stadium catering venture involving the Dallas Cowboys and the New York Yankees organizations that Jones was instrumental in creating. In the spring of 2015, Jones was inducted into the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame.
Jones (6/21/64) was born in Fayetteville, Arkansas and raised in Little Rock. He is married to the former Karen Hickman of El Dorado, Arkansas, and the couple has three daughters and a son: Jessica, Jordan, Caroline and John Stephen.