Feb. 8, 2005, 5:28 p.m. (CST)
At the funeral services for Tex Schramm's wife Marty, I nodded toward a frail, ailing Tex and whispered to a club official who probably wouldn't want his name used, "Make sure Jerry (Jones) understands this scene."
The response: "Jerry knows."
And Jerry did. He'd already begun making plans for Schramm's Ring of Honor induction. He just hadn't told the rest of us. It actually happens sometimes.
That's said to say this: If and when Jerry reads this, he may break into a broad grin. Knowing him, he's probably already made plans to do something along these very lines. But just in case.
Aikman will be almost a cinch first-ballot inductee in the Hall of Fame at next year's Super Bowl. Everyone who follows it knows Jones will put Aikman, Irvin and Smith in the Ring of Honor at some point. By doing it next year, before Aikman and (hopefully) Irvin are voted to the Hall of Fame, the club looks pro-active instead of reactive. There's no downside.
And for those of you who believe that once any "Jones era" Cowboys go into the Ring, that's it for the "old-timers," I believe you don't know Jerry.
In interviewing Jones for a Ring of Honor chapter in the 2003 book Stadium Stories: The Dallas Cowboys, I heard Jones say emphatically one era had nothing to do with the other. I came away with the conviction that he would do it that way just to prove a point.
One can envision a scenario that would see Aikman, Irvin and Smith in the Ring this year, then maybe a year or two with no induction, then a ceremony for, say, Drew Pearson and Charlie Waters. Or Ed Jones. That's a different debate.
Nothing can be done about the sting of Irvin being snubbed by the Hall this time. But imagine the tears of joy should The Triplets go into the Ring of Honor together next fall.
Jerry, over to you.