It was the early 1980’s and I was a 20 year-old disc jockey playing the hits on 55 KTSA when I got wind that “America’s Team” the Dallas Cowboys was going up for sale.
The team’s owner, Clint Murchison needed some money to pay off debts, so it was decided that the team would be sold.
At that time the Cowboys were the most beloved team in all of football. All the greats played there, and they were led by the greatest coach, Tom Landry. Their winning record and clean-living ways made the Cowboys “America’s Team.”
As I signed on the air that evening I playfully asked my listeners if anyone would like to join me in an effort to buy the team. I said, “I just can’t imagine someone from a foreign country like New York owning our Dallas Cowboys.”
I reminded my audience of the community ownership arrangement of the Green Bay Packers and said “We will do the same here.”
I would be the chairman – my listeners the investors.
BOOM! The phones lit up! Everyone wanted a piece of the action. I was receiving calls of encouragement and pledges of money (like a telethon).
“I want to pledge $500.”
“Put me down for $750.”
“I pledge $33 for Tony Dorsett,” – the great running back who wore 33.
“You can have my $18,000 Porsche”
The calls came in all night, and I told my audience that if they were serious – then I was too!
When I came to work the next day I had messages waiting from both San Antonio daily newspapers, (yes at that time San Antonio had two daily papers), wanting to interview me about my desire to get into NFL ownership.
Jeanne Jakle did her usual bang-up job in the Express as did the San Antonio Light. Both featured lengthy articles with front-page exposure.
“Are you serious?” they asked.
“As a heart attack,” was my answer.
The next thing I knew the television sports guys were at the door with camera crews and lights.
“Will you be taking more calls to buy the Cowboys tonight?” they asked.
Back then there was no “viral” as we have come to know it in the age of social media, but this took off like wildfire.
The next few days were a blur as I did interviews for media outlets across the U.S., and the story flew around the world in newspapers, television, and radio.
A local business person sent an article from the Mexico City newspaper about this young San Antonio DJ who was attempting to buy the Dallas Cowboys, and my mouth dropped open when a friend reported seeing the story on German television.
I gave my audience a day and time when I would call the Cowboy’s General Manager and point-man who was handling the sale to make an offer on the team – and I was going to do it LIVE ON THE AIR!
I called Tex Schramm at the appointed time.
“I got wind of what you’re doing down there,” he said.
“So, can we make a deal?” I asked
Tex was far too busy to mess around so he got right to it.
“How much ya got?”
“How much is the team worth?” I said with a smile that I hoped could be heard in my voice.
The team made a $600,000 profit that year.
His silence made me realize I better move this forward.
“I figure we have enough committed investors to make a bid close to $33 million,” was my reply.
He kindly chuckled and said, “We really appreciate the love San Antonio has for the Cowboys, but we have already made another commitment.”
“Is it a Texan?” I asked.
And with that we chatted about the upcoming season and closed out the call.
On March 19, 1984 the team was sold to Bum Bright for $84.5 million.
“Well San Antonio – we tried.” I said as I signed off.
I still think the people of San Antonio would have made a great ownership team.
Hmmmm – I wonder if Jerry will take my call….