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In Sunday Ticket testimony, Jerry Jones takes a shot at Bengals

Although more people are paying attention to the Sunday Ticket trial, the coverage is still lacking. And what we’re getting only makes us want more.

Consider this. Yesterday, Cowboys owner and G.M. Jerry Jones testified in the ongoing Sunday Ticket trial. Jerry Freaking Jones. One of the most influential figures in league history and one of the most powerful owners in all of sport took the witness stand, and it’s virtually impossible to find anything more than one quote from his testimony.

But the quote is a doozy.

Quick background note. From time to time, I’ll explain the consequences of the NFL losing its broadcast antitrust exemption. If that ever happens, the teams would sell the rights to their home games individually, like Notre Dame does. In discussing that scenario, I’ll explain that the Cowboys would get multiple billions per year for its games. In lieu of naming the teams at the other end of the spectrum, I’ll typically say, “They know who they are.”

Jerry has an opinion regarding who one of them is. In defending the broadcast model despite the fact that he would profit handsomely from it, Jones sent a stray in the direction of Cincinnati.

“I am convinced I would make a lot more money than the Bengals,” Jones said, via the Associated Press. “I’m completely against each team doing TV deals. It is flawed.”

While Jones is accurate, given the immense value of a Cowboys-only package, it was unnecessary to single out the Bengals. He could have just said, “Any other team.”

His selection of the Bengals wasn’t random or accidental. Jones and Bengals owner Mike Brown have a longstanding feud regarding revenue sharing. As NFL legend has it, Jones and Brown once got into a heated argument during an ownership meeting over Brown’s refusal to sell naming rights to Paul Brown Stadium.

Of course, times have changed since then. The Bengals have become a borderline powerhouse, appearing in two of the last three conference championship games while the Cowboys have appeared in exactly none of the last 28.

Jones also might have been motivated by a desire to seem magnanimous, picking the team owned by the man with whom he has battled over sharing cash to make the point that there is a limit to Jones’s greed.

But that underscores a bigger point. The sharing of TV revenue has always relied on the owners of the Globtrettor-level clubs willingly handing TV money to the Washington Generals of the league. As the values of franchises skyrocket and as it becomes harder and harder to find people with the money to buy teams, the next generation of owners might not want to share TV revenue. Likewise, the private-equity firms that could soon be buying chunks of NFL clubs might start pressing for a different model, if they believe they would get a better return on their investment if the rights were sold not by the league but by the teams.

Jones is due to return to the stand on Tuesday. We’ll continue to look for anything/everything of interest that he might say. Hopefully, he’ll avoid using certain phrases in the presence of the jury.

Let me revise that. Hopefully, he will.