Jerry & George

by - March 10, 2009 - Posted in On Jerry

Let’s talk about Jerry and the George, the original bromance (and I’m not talking about Seinfeld).

It has been mentioned that Jerry is only a velour jumpsuit away from becoming Al Davis.  And while the comparison has some merit, I put to your approval another comparison:  George Steinbrenner.

Many years ago, a young brash businessman took over a storied franchise and made immediate personnel changes.  He brought in his guy to lead the locker room, even though they were both one as stubborn as the other and fought constantly.   His team suffered a couple of poor seasons, followed by a return to the team’s glorious history as a title machine.

Unfortunately, success inflated the owner’s ego to the point that all decisions had to go through him.  He fired his coach/manager, brought in talented yet selfish free agents, and for many years was not able to duplicate his original success.

Who am I talking about?  Jerry or George?  You can’t tell these two apart!

I plotted out some successful indicators of a pro-sports season in the chart below, using for year 1 the first year of Steinbrenner’s (1974*) and Jones’ (1989) ownership.  For example, 2008 is year 35 for the Yankees and year 20 for the Cowboys.

Jerry & George

The results are uncanny.  JJ/GS each had 8 years of incredible success followed by 12 years of failure.  These years were characterized by poor drafts, high priced free agents, and an overall lack of team chemistry.  The question is what did George and the Yankees do to pull themselves up and bring home championships 4 out of the 5 years following the trough?

It is no coincidence the Yankees started to drastically improve after Steinbrenner was banned from baseball in 1990.  While he was reinstated in 1993, he was less interfering in day-to-day baseball operations when he returned.  He relied more heavily on his executives, and let them institute a plan to rebuild by utilizing young talent acquired while he was suspended; instead of trading it away for veterans on the decline.  This young nucleus, including Derek Jeter, Bernie Williams, Jorge Posada, and Mariano Rivera, formed the foundation for the next Yankee Dynasty.

The Yankees are threatening to return to their old ways lately, but love them or hate them there is no doubt that the teams of the late 90’s will go down as some of the greatest in modern baseball history.

Hopefully the remarkable correlation between the Cowboys and Yankees continues, and Owner Jones follows the Boss’ example by letting his executives draft and build a true team like the Yankees of the late 90’s, not an assembly of individuals.  Events of the last week are a great start down this path.  And there is a new hope coming to football’s version of the Evil Empire.

*George Steinbrenner purchased the Yankees in January, 1973 as part of a group of businessman. He did not have principal control until 1974, after he bought many of his partners out.

9 Responses to Jerry & George

Luis

March 10th, 2009 at 1:44 pm

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One thing missing here is one of the major factors in why the Yankees were so dysfunctional under Steinbrenner. The Yankees organization was split into two groups: the New York office and the Tampa office. Both factions tended to have differing opinions as to what direction to take the club in. For instance, when Vladimir Guerrero and Gary Sheffield were available, the Tampa group was of the opinion that Gary Sheffield would be the better option of the two. The New York group, however, wanted Guerrero because he was younger and would be a better long-term investment. The Tampa group won out because they had the backing of ol' Georgie. Several years later, Guerrero has been a terror in the American League, while Sheffield is no longer with the Yankees and has been declining for years.

This will not happen with the Cowboys on such a grand scale. But there does appear to be a rift beginning to show form within the Cowboys organization. The TO situation created such dissension within the ranks. And it all could have been avoided if Jones had either: a) not signed TO in the first place, or b) not allowed the situation to fester to the point of lines being drawn in the sand within the locker room and within the front office. That is evidence of poor leadership. And it all starts at the top.

Mike

March 10th, 2009 at 1:53 pm

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i'm reading joe torre's book now, and it's eerie the similarities in some cases between jerry and george. after the teams had some success, george raised his expectations to unreasonable levels causing him to make poor decisions in an attempt to get back to the top. sound familiar? additionally, EVERYTHING had to be run by george. again, very familiar sounding… also, the yankees' dangling carrot was a new stadium – every poor decision was in part made because the front office (george, mostly) wanted attention and notoriety for the yanks in order to get nyc to build a new stadium. hmmm….

Luis

March 10th, 2009 at 2:51 pm

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I suppose we should consider ourselves lucky that Stephen Jones will likely not be following in dad's footsteps the way Hank and Hal Steinbrenner are doing. Believe it or not, Hank is actually WORSE than George. But Hal is the one running the show.

Now, I know very little about Jerry Jr. But Stephen looks like he has a good head on his shoulders. His management of the cap over the last few years is evidence of that.

Mike

March 11th, 2009 at 1:14 pm

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galloway had a good column about stephen yesterday. apparently even jimmy approves of stephen as a football guy, so that's a good sign.

Ryan

March 11th, 2009 at 1:50 pm

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I'm willing to pay some money to anyone who can Photoshop a pic of Jerry in a velour jumpsuit.

Luis

March 11th, 2009 at 4:00 pm

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He's had my vote for a while. Ask Ryan.

That said, I'll make sure to read that Galloway piece.

Foodies welcome at new stadium - Fire Jerry Jones!

March 31st, 2009 at 7:32 am

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