IRVING, Texas – Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones touched on a variety of topics during his conference call with season ticket holders Wednesday – too many to keep within one story.
Here are some notes from the conversation, highlighted by Jones' discussion of the team's annual training camp moving back to Texas in the future, as well as Greg Hardy's upcoming appeal and the potential for expanding the NFL postseason.
Training Camp In Texas
The Cowboys have a long history of holding training camp outside of Dallas – including long stretches in Thousand Oaks, Calif., and Oxnard, Calif. The franchise has also spent time in San Antonio and Wichita Falls, Texas.
With construction on the team's new headquarters, The Star, in Frisco, Texas, expect to finish next summer, Jones said fans can expect the Cowboys to spend at least part of training camp in the Metroplex in coming years. He's said it's still likely the club will travel for part of training camp, but it will be able to hold part of its preseason preparations at its home headquarters.
"Going forward in the future, that's part of our arrangement with the city of Frisco, is to have two to three weeks of training camp every year at The Star," Jones said. "It'll be coming back to Texas starting next year. We may still spend a couple of weeks out in Oxnard or someplace else. That's certainly probably not going to stop, but we're going to probably do a split camp, and half of that camp will be at The Star in Frisco."
Considering Hardy's Appeal
One caller asked Jones if he thought Greg Hardy would wind up serving all 10 games of the suspension given to him by the NFL office, or if he thought the defensive end's appeal would lessen the sentence.
Essentially, Jones said he'll be waiting for updates along with the rest of the league community – though he was sure to add that he'll be supportive of whatever determination the NFL comes to in the matter of Hardy's discipline.
On Hardy's appeal, Jones said: "I think that's a great question – it's one that I wish I had a better feel for. We certainly knew that there was going to be a suspension involved, we structured the contract in a way that, regardless of how long his suspension was, it would work for us from a contractual standpoint and a cap standpoint. Where the appeal ultimately ends up would be conjecture on my part. I wouldn't be able to guess as to what they ultimately do. We certainly have all the respect in the world and support the league and what they've done in terms of trying to get their hands around a very, very tough situation, a very sensitive situation. Certainly, I know Greg understands his accountability here and we support what the NFL did. At the same time, I know he's with his reps and he has the right to appeal and ultimately take his case to whoever [NFL commissioner] Roger [Goodell] so chooses. Of course, there's things after that. Unfortunately on this one, we knew this would be a part of it and we'll certainly live with however it turns out."
Playoff Expansion On The Way?
During the course of the conference call, Jones was also asked about the future of the NFL playoffs. The league has yet to successfully vote for the expansion of the current 12-team field, but it's widely regarded as a likelihood in coming years.
Jones threw his voice into the conversation by saying that he thinks fans can expect to see the league increase its postseason field to 14 teams – one additional team from each conference – in the near future.
"I will say this: at the end of the day, I believe most owners feel like, and I would say most people in general feel like adding a team per conference is probably a good thing," he said. "Obviously, when a team goes to the playoffs in a market, it's a huge boost for that particular team and their market."
The most common idea for an expanded format would see seven teams from each conference make the playoffs. Rather than giving bye weeks to the top two teams in each conference, the new format would only give a bye week to the No. 1 seed, while creating first-round games between No. 2 and No. 7, No. 3 and No. 6 and No. 4 and No. 5.
"It's been well thought out in terms of when we would play those games. You're probably looking at three games on a Saturday and three games on a Sunday," Jones said. "For competitive reasons, I think everybody feels good about that, and I just think it's a matter of time in terms of when we ultimately pull that trigger. We obviously didn't do it this year, but I think it's ultimately coming."