How 'bout them Cowboys?

Jones had to make several tough choices in 2010, including firing coach Wade Phillips midseason. Scott Boehm/Getty Images

This story appears in the October 3 issue of ESPN The Magazine.

THERE ARE RARE AND PIVOTAL MOMENTS in a public man's life when everything he represents reaches a confluence of circumstances. How he reacts when everybody's looking provides the world with a summary of who he is.

For Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, an excessive man in an excessive league, one of those moments occurred last November. His team had just been embarrassed by the Packers 45-7 for its fifth straight loss, giving it a 1-7 record. Although Jones had vowed not to fire coach Wade Phillips during the season, he felt he had no choice. He was beyond frustrated -- he was furious. After all, he had repeatedly discussed the possibility of the Cowboys becoming the first team to play a Super Bowl on its home turf. And what a showcase that would have been: America's Team playing America's Game on America's Field, Cowboys Stadium, Jones' $1.2 billion monument to the religion of sport.