The Fab Fifty
You won’t find a hint of C.J. Wilson. Or Lamar Odom. Or even Deron Williams, though he was thiiiiiiis close.
Gone from 2011 are fading folks like Tom Hicks and Mike Modano and Jason Kidd.
And, after the last week, I’m tempted to include Angela Bryant. After all, with a simple 911 she almost derailed a Cowboys’ season before it started.
It’s my 8thannual 50 Most Powerful People in Dallas-Fort Worth Sports and, I’ll be honest, this was probably the toughest year to find a clear-cut winner.
In the past atop this prestigious list have been Jerry Jones, Tom Hicks, Mark Cuban and — in 2011 — Dirk Nowitzki. This year, almost by default, it goes back to caretaker of America’s Team.
Because despite another non-playoff season, the Cowboys remain the NFL’s most valuable team. The NFL hand-picked Dallas to play in its Sept. 5 opener in prime time. When the Cowboys make a draft-night trade into the top 10, the other 31 teams pause and take notice. And when he mumbles something about the winduh closing, it gets regurgitated ad nauseum on ESPN’s SportsCenter. He is beloved as an owner, despised as a general manager and no matter what you think chances are you have a firm opinion of the Arkansas billionaire bumpkin who this year will turn 70.
Yep, it’s Jerral Wayne Jones.
Like it or not, Jones’ team is rarely atop the standings but he remains a newsmaker on the tip of your tongue.
50. Tom Landry – The day he falls off this list is the day we all catch a flight to Hades in a wicker carry-on.
49. Joe Nathan – If the Rangers finally win a World Series, he’ll likely get the 27th out.
48. Nancy Lieberman – The undisputed first lady of Dallas sports now key decision-maker for Mavericks’ D League team in Frisco.
47. Eric Nadel – He’s doing the impossible: Making Rangers’ radio fans forget Mark Holtz.
46. Marcus Grunewald – Even under its new name – The Dallas Marathon – he successfully runs the area’s biggest participant sporting event.
45. Pat Summerall – NFL’s former signature voice remains a marketable personality going strong in Southlake.
44. Don Hooton – When Major League Baseball launched its war on steroids, it started with a $1 million grant to his Taylor Hooton Foundation.
43. Jay Lombardo – If you see athletes wearing anything but their uniforms, they probably got it from Lombardo’s Custom Apparel in Addison.
42. Gordon Jago – Director of The Dallas Cup does more for local soccer than Schellas Hyndman and David Ferreira combined.
41. Dr. Mary Collings – Chiropractor to the Stars. And Dirk Nowitzki. And numerous Cowboys.
40. Steve Dennis – Big Ten blowhardness notwithstanding, he’s a TV guy who asks all the right questions of all the big names.
39. Matt Harrison – If Game 1 of the World Series was tonight, the Rangers would hand him the ball.
38. Deion Sanders – Ugly, public divorce from wife, Pilar, dented his once mighty reputation.
37. Charlotte Jones-Anderson – Don’t underestimate the power of Jerry’s only daughter.
36. Michael Johnson – Performance center in McKinney has sprinted him back to relevance.
35. Morris Claiborne – If the 1st-round pick isn’t a shutdown corner for years to come, the Cowboys may never recover.
34. Michael Young – Rain, sleet, snow nor age will keep him 200+ hits.
33. Tim Cowlishaw – Lead columnist at Dallas Morning News has also won a time or two on ESPN’s Around the Horn.
32. Terdema Ussery – Cozy with NBA commish David Stern and Nike founder Phil Knight, the Mavs’ president is often the eye of Mark Cuban’s hurricane.
31. Royce West – Unfortunately, the State Senator/Attorney has a lot of influence over area athletes like Dez Bryant.
30. June Jones – David Blaine-esque to lead SMU back to college football relevance.
29. Emmitt Smith – Still a mover-and-shaker and these days also a Hall of Famer.
28. Jordan Woy – Dallas-based agent represents 75 NFL players, including, for what it’s worth, Terrell Owens.
27. Gary Patterson – Fiery TCU coach leading Frogs into Big 12 and into a new Amon Carter Stadium.
26. Gerald Ford/Carl Sewell – SMU’s biggest athletic boosters okayed the hiring of Larry Brown and annually keep the program from slipping to NAIA quality.
25. Yu Darvish – The Rangers invested $110 million into him being their ace of the future.
24. Stephen Jones – Heir to the Cowboys’ throne has his fingerprints all over Cowboys Stadium.
23. Brad Sham – Still the most recognizable voice in Dallas.
22. Michael Irvin – When there’s Cowboys news, we still care what he thinks.
21. Tommy Bain – Starting in 2014, the Cotton Bowl chairman might just being hosting college football’s National Championship Game in Arlington.
20. Troy Aikman – Fox’s signature NFL analyst still packs a power and pizzazz. And these days he’s again single.
19. Tyron Smith – If the Cowboys’ 21-year-old left tackle fails at his job, Tony Romo lands on his back.
18. Roger Staubach – Captain America will always be in Top 20 just on reputation and respect.
17. Rick Carlisle – Not being a people person ain’t so appealing without a parade in the summer.
16. Eddie Gossage – The face of NASCAR in Texas has crafted year-round racin’ in Fort Worth.
15. DeMarcus Ware – The Cowboys’ best player and one of their best human beings.
14. Ron Washington – From cocaine user… to champion manager.
13. Jason Witten – Cowboys’ all-time best tight end is also a prominent positive role through his unyielding charity work.
12. Donnie Nelson – Mavs’ GM that discovered Dirk now charged with somehow landing next franchise hub in Dwight Howard.
11. Randy Galloway-Norm Hitzges-Dale Hansen – The Mount Rushmore of Metroplex media has been molding local opinions for 30-plus years.
10. Ray Davis/Bob Simpson – Local billionaires provide the bucks to fuel Jon Daniels’ baseball brain.
9. Jon Daniels – Pressure to engineer another 2010/ Cliff Lee trade to push Rangers back to World Series.
8. Jon Heidtke – Wouldn’t recognize him on the street, but the Fox Sports Net Southwest senior vice president makes the Mavs, Rangers and Stars decisions you recognize nightly on TV.
7. Jason Garrett – Discipline and accountability issues are impressive, but 8-8 won’t cut it under an irrationally impatient fan base.
6. Nolan Ryan – Stronger than ever, Big Tex is the Rangers’ most recognizable face.
5. Mark Cuban – Lost tons of luster after breaking up ’11 title roster, failing to land Williams and babbling endlessly about Shark Tank.
4. Tony Romo – Husband. Father. Leader. Area’s most scrutinized athlete. When he’s out of the news for too long it somehow becomes news.
3. Dirk Nowitzki – Underwhelming’11 season be damned, he’s a made man in Dallas.
2. Josh Hamilton – Slamilton has deteriorated into Slumpilton, but the free-agent-to-be remains one of baseball’s best. And he knows how to get forgiveness. Fast.
1. Jerry Jones – What other sports figure can land roles in both Entourage and Dallas?