FRISCO, Texas -- Thirty years ago today, Jerry Jones purchased the Dallas Cowboys and Texas Stadium for $140 million.
On numerous occasions, Jones has said the Cowboys were losing $1 million a month when he took over. Now the Cowboys are the highest-valued sports franchise in the world at $4.8 billion, according to Forbes.
So much has transpired in the 30 years, as Jones has gone from one of the NFL's outsiders to the most powerful owner in the league.
"I really can say this genuinely, I haven't worked a day in 30 years," Jones said last week. "It's been that kind of experience. Every day has been a growing experience. The NFL and the Dallas Cowboys made me something I wouldn't have been just internally. It's like a walk-on. Before I knew it, we would do some things, it would work and I'd say, 'Man, that worked. I think we'll try this and then try that.' So my lesson here, if there is one, is if you can get in something that just piques your imagination every day, you will grow with it. And consequently I am not the same person that I was 30 years ago as far as just enthusiasm, ideas. I'm more enthusiastic [as I] sit here today than I was 30 years ago."
To note Jones' anniversary, here are 30 prominent moments from his tenure:
1. Out with the old, in with the new: On the day he bought the team, Jones fired Tom Landry and hired Jimmy Johnson. Some have still not forgiven Jones for firing Landry, the only coach the Cowboys had ever known. The previous regime offered to deliver the bad news to Landry, but Jones thought it was something he needed to do.
2. Future Hall of Famer: Troy Aikman became the first draft pick of the Jones era when he was taken No. 1 overall in 1989. The pick seemed to work out OK, with Aikman quarterbacking three Super Bowl champions and earning induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
3. Win No. 1: On Nov. 5, 1989, the Cowboys beat the Washington Redskins 13-3. It was the only win in Jones' first year as owner and general manager. The 1-15 record was the worst mark for the Cowboys since the franchise's first year, in 1960, when they went 0-11-1.
4. The trade: On Oct. 12, 1989, the Cowboys traded Herschel Walker to the Minnesota Vikings for five players, six conditional draft picks and a first-round pick in 1992, which began the team's transformation into a Super Bowl winner. Who gets credit for the trade? Depends on whom you want to believe, Jones or Johnson.
5. Picking the all-time leading rusher: Truth be told, the Cowboys wanted to draft linebacker James Francis in 1990. They ended up with Emmitt Smith with the 17th pick of the first round. Smith eventually ran for more yards than any other running back in NFL history.
6. Committee man: On May 1, 1992, NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue named Jones to the prestigious Competition Committee. He became the first owner named to the committee since Hall of Famer Paul Brown of Cincinnati.
7. The trade, part II: Jones likes to say the Cowboys could not spell "Super Bowl" before the trade for Charles Haley from rival San Francisco in August 1992. For second- and third-round picks, the Cowboys got Haley, who helped transform their defense and pass rush.
8. The first Super Bowl: On Jan. 31, 1993, the Cowboys beat the Buffalo Bills 52-17 in Super Bowl XXVII, four seasons into Jones' tenure as owner and general manager. Before the game, Jones had somebody hand him a football on the sideline before he walked the length of the Rose Bowl field, carrying it across the goal line for what he called a touchdown.
9. The second Super Bowl: The Cowboys didn't wait long to win their second Super Bowl. On Jan. 30, 1994, they repeated as champion by beating the Bills again, 30-13, with Smith being named the game's Most Valuable Player.
10. Saying goodbye: Depending on the perspective, it was either late at night or early in the morning when Jones told the Dallas Morning News, "There are 500 coaches who could have won the Super Bowl with our team," in Orlando at the owners meetings in March 1994. With the Jones-Johnson relationship already frayed, that comment spelled its end, with Johnson walking away with a $2 million check. Jones hired Barry Switzer, his onetime college coach at Arkansas.
11. The TV deal: Owners were ready to give back more than $300 million in revenue for a two-year extension with the television networks in 1994. Having forked over so much money to buy the Cowboys, Jones was vehemently against the idea. He was added to the negotiations, Fox outbid CBS by more than $100 million a season and the league's television contract reached $1.1 billion.
12. The third Super Bowl: Among the most disappointing losses of the Jones era was the 1994 NFC title game in San Francisco, but the following year, the Cowboys became the first team to win three Super Bowls in a four-year span when they beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 27-17 in Super Bowl XXX.
13. Primetime: In order to get that title, the Cowboys thought they needed to be bold, and being bold meant signing Deion Sanders as a free agent away from the 49ers with a five-year, $30 million deal that included a $12 million signing bonus.
14. Bring on the courts: Jones thumbed his nose at the NFL's way of doing business, signing sponsorship agreements with Nike, Pepsi, Dr Pepper and American Express for Texas Stadium. The NFL saw that as a runaround of their shared revenue between the teams and sued Jones for $300 million. Jones filed an antitrust lawsuit against the league and NFL Properties for $750 million. The suit was eventually settled, and teams were allowed to make their own sponsorship agreements.
15. Team of the decade: The Cowboys closed the 1990s with eight playoff appearances, six division titles and three Super Bowl wins with three different head coaches: Johnson, Switzer and Chan Gailey. Gailey was fired after the 1999 season, despite back-to-back playoff appearances, and replaced by Dave Campo.
16. Move over, Sweetness: In a 17-14 loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Oct. 27, 2002, Smith became the NFL's all-time leading rusher, surpassing Walter Payton. Smith finished his Cowboys career with 17,162 yards, 436 more than Payton's 16,726. After two seasons with the Arizona Cardinals, Smith finished with a career total of 18,355 yards.
17. The big catch: After suffering through three straight 5-11 finishes, Jones stunned most football observers by naming Bill Parcells as head coach in 2003. Parcells had been out of coaching since 1998, and many assumed the partnership between the two would never work. Though they did not achieve playoff success, Parcells led the Cowboys to the playoffs twice in his four years and stocked the roster with numerous Pro Bowlers -- most importantly, a quarterback named Tony Romo.
18. The crown jewel: One of the reasons Parcells was hired was to help gain votes to build a stadium in Arlington, Texas. The vote was successful, and on April 10, 2006, ground was broken on what would be called AT&T Stadium. The Cowboys moved into the $1.2 billion stadium in 2009, and Jones has estimated he has poured in another $200 million into the building since it opened.
19. Record crowd: The Cowboys' first regular-season game at AT&T Stadium was a 33-31 loss to the New York Giants on Sept. 20, 2009, but the announced crowd was 105,121, the largest attendance for a regular-season game in NFL history.
20. Record crowd, part II: On Feb. 14, 2010, AT&T Stadium hosted the NBA All-Star Game with 108,713 fans in attendance. It was the largest crowd to attend a basketball game at any level.
21. A North Texas Super Bowl: By building the stadium, the Cowboys were granted the right to host Super Bowl XLV on Feb. 6, 2011. The Green Bay Packers beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-25, but the week was marred by snow and ice and a seating issue that led to multiple lawsuits against the NFL and the Cowboys. Jones wanted to set a Super Bowl record for attendance, but the game checked in at No. 4 at 103,219. The Cowboys have not hosted a Super Bowl since or put in a bid for one. A sticking point: They would have to give up a home game in order to host the Super Bowl, and Jones does not want to take a game away from Cowboys fans.
22. More big games: AT&T Stadium hosted the Final Four in 2014, capped by Connecticut's win against Kentucky. The games set records for attendance with 79,444 for the semifinals and 79,238 for the final. In 2015, the stadium hosted the first College Football Playoff National Championship, with more than 85,000 seeing Ohio State beat Oregon 42-20.
23. Hall of Fame presenter: Jones' relationship with players has been well-documented over the years. Sometimes he has been too close to players, but he has served as the presenter to three Hall of Famers -- Michael Irvin, Smith and Larry Allen.
24. Missed chances: In 2007, Jones tabbed Wade Phillips to replace Parcells. The Cowboys went 13-3 and had the best record in the NFC but lost to the New York Giants in the divisional round of the playoffs. The team featured 13 Pro Bowlers. In 2016, the Cowboys finished with the NFC's best record with Jason Garrett as coach and lost to the Green Bay Packers in the divisional round. That team featured six Pro Bowlers.
25. Time for a change: Off a 1-7 start in the 2010 season, Jones made the first -- and so far only -- midseason head-coaching change of his ownership, replacing Phillips with Garrett. The Cowboys, with an injured Romo, went 5-3 in the second half of the season, and Garrett was named the full-time coach after the season. He remains in the position today but enters 2019 in the final year of his contract.
26. The crown jewel, part II: The Cowboys moved into The Star, their practice home in Frisco, Texas, in 2016. The city and Frisco school district committed $90 million to the project. Jones put more money into the facility and surrounding businesses than he spent purchasing the team. Ford Center at The Star seats 12,000 for high school games and serves as the Cowboys' indoor practice facility.
27. Hall of Famer himself: On Aug. 5, 2017, Jones was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He was the 15th owner in NFL history to earn enshrinement, and it was as much for the three Vince Lombardi Trophies as it was for changing how the NFL does business.
28. Another fight: Upset over the six-game suspension received by Ezekiel Elliott for violating the league's personal-conduct policy, Jones threatened legal action and became a thorn in the NFL's side -- particularly when it came to an extension for Roger Goodell. Jones had to pay the NFL $2 million in legal fees.
29. Location, location, location: Jones longed for years to get the NFL back in Los Angeles, and he played a key part in the Rams' return there in 2016 following their move from St. Louis. He also helped steer the Raiders to Las Vegas, where they will play in 2020. Of course, that angered fans in St. Louis and Oakland. But he was more than OK with an expansion franchise being awarded to Houston as well.
30. Another playoff win: On Jan. 5, 2019, the Cowboys beat the Seattle Seahawks 24-22 in the wild-card round of the playoffs behind a gutty performance from Dak Prescott. A week later, their season ended on the road against the Los Angeles Rams. As 2019 begins, Jones will look for the Cowboys to make their first appearance in a conference title game since 1995.