Last spring, Jerry Jones talked about a dream he was hoping to make a reality.
He spent more than $700 million of his fortune to build Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Among the many goals of this massive venture, which ended up costing $1.2 billion, was to bring big events to Cowboys Stadium.
Jones wanted soccer matches, boxing matches, Final Fours, college football games, NBA All-Star Games and even hinted he wouldn't mind seeing an Olympic-type swim meet in Cowboys Stadium.
But the premier event Jones sought was awarded in May of 2007. In a little over a week, approximately 100,000 people will file into what has affectionately become known around here as "Jerry World" for Super Bowl XLV.
As excited as Jones must be to show off Cowboys Stadium, there is no doubt he still imagines the ultimate "what if?" scenario.
And even though Jones seems to have come to grips with the fact that the Dallas Cowboys won't be the first team to play in a Super Bowl in their home stadium -- at least this year -- you can't help but wonder what will be going through his mind as Terrible Towel-waving and Cheesehead-wearing fans cheer the Pittsburgh Steelers and Green Bay Packers in Cowboys Stadium.
"I'm real excited," Jones said this week from the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala. "We had dreamed of maybe being the first team to ever play in our own Super Bowl. We sure stunk that up. So now we're going to try to put on the best Super Bowl."
The dream quickly turned into a nightmare. The Cowboys started the season 0-2. And after a 1-7 start, Jones was forced to fire head coach Wade Phillips.
"I feel bad for Jerry that he's not there," Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said. "We talked a couple of times during the season ... and we can both relate to each other, the joys and misery -- and it's tough."
The Cowboys finished 6-10 and despite a 5-3 finish with Jason Garrett as the coach, didn't get close to achieving Jones' dream of making the postseason, let alone hosting a Super Bowl game.
"I knew the odds on that one," Jones said. "But I saw the other day where it had been 15 years since the Packers had been, so I'm glad they're doing it at Cowboys Stadium. I'm proud of that."
Jones said he's not hiding. He will be front and center at numerous events around North Texas and will attend Super Bowl XLV.
Instead, he will see a couple of players drafted by the Cowboys realize their dreams with other teams.
Flozell Adams, a mainstay on the Cowboys' offensive line for a decade, will talk about achieving his ultimate goal just months after being released by the Cowboys. And Erik Walden, a 2008 sixth-round pick of the Cowboys, is now a starter for the NFC champion Packers.
The earliest Jones and the Cowboys can hope to realize the dream of playing in and hosting the same Super Bowl is five years from now. But that game hasn't been awarded yet.
For that to become a reality, Jones has to do two things: Make sure next week's festivities and the game equate to a show to remember and use that time to make the necessary changes to bring his Cowboys from this season's disappointment back to elite status.
"I'm here, but I really don't want anybody to forget about it," Jones said of 2010. "I'd like for our fans to have a little respite, but I don't want anybody in our organization to forget about it, and we haven't. We're here with resolve."
Calvin Watkins covers the Cowboys for ESPNDallas.com.