Dallas Cowboys and their billionaire owner Jerry Jones have endured a rough 2020 on the field but Jones says that he does have one thing to smile about: the record of having the most fans in stadiums during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Cowboys sleepwalked their way through the NFL season, finishing the year with a 6-10 record after losing to NFC East rivals the New York Giants in their final game on Sunday – but as ever in Dallas, factors off the field have threatened to outshine the action on it.
The franchise nicknamed ‘America’s team’ saw more than their fair share of bad luck under new head coach Mike McCarthy, including losing franchise quarterback Dak Prescott to an eye-watering leg injury early in the season as well as star running back Ezekiel Elliott appearing to regress drastically the moment he signed his six-year, $90 million contract to remain in Texas.
But if they floundered on the field, Jones is more than happy with what happened inside his state-of-the-art, $1.3 billion Cowboys Stadium during the course of the Covid-19 pandemic.
That’s not something to be bragging about right now. pic.twitter.com/1Pt9LVG0HU
Bragging about percentages of likely infected fans.
Amid the global shutdown of sport which saw fans limited or barred altogether from attending, Jones has taken a victory lap for hosting – as he puts it – the most supporters this year out of any professional sports outfit in the world.
“I’m gonna arm wave,” Jones boasted to US radio station 105.3 The Fan. “I think we set the world record for attendance for a venue this year at our stadium, in the world of a pandemic.“
It is thought that the Cowboys hosted around 30,000 fans on four occasions inside the 80,000 capacity stadium – a figure far outstripping various other NFL teams, as well as figures from European sports leagues who have trialed allowing small sections of attendees into games.
On his radio show Jerry Jones said he’s disappointed in the season, but he’s proud that the Cowboys “set the world record for attendance during a pandemic.” Is that the Fauci Trophy?
Jones says that he believes the games progressed without risk and he wasn’t made aware of any potential ‘super-spreader’ events to have taken place.
His bragging, as well as the concept of allowing fans into their stadium in the first place, hasn’t sat well with some – particularly given how Texas has struggled to contain the spread of the virus, reporting some 28,000 deaths from more than 1.8 million cases.
Covid-19 still remains a wrench in the cogs of the ongoing NFL season. Early on Tuesday it was reported that Kevin Stefanski, head coach of the Cleveland Browns, has contracted Covid and will now miss Sunday’s playoff game against the Pittsburgh Steelers – the team’s first postseason game in 18 years.