Award-Winning Journalist Don Van Natta Jr. to Publish a Major New Unauthorized Biography of Legendary Dallas Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones

NEW YORK, March 7, 2024―Jerry Jones, the owner, president, and general manager of the Dallas Cowboys, will be the subject of a new biography by acclaimed journalist Don Van Natta Jr., it was announced today by Avid Reader Press, an imprint of Simon & Schuster.

Van Natta Jr., a senior writer for ESPN and winner of three Pulitzer Prizes for his work as a journalist, has built an extensive network of sources among National Football League owners, executives, and lawyers who work closely with the league. With the working title of The Star, the book will be a comprehensive account of Jones’s life and outsized influence on the NFL’s rise, based on hundreds of interviews, including dozens of hours of interviews with Jones, and will be published in 2026.

As owner, Jones has transformed the Cowboys from a franchise that was losing $1 million per month in 1989, the year he bought the team on a whim for a then-record $150 million, into the world’s most valuable sports franchise with $1.1 billion in annual revenues that Forbes estimates is worth $9 billion. Through the telling of Jones’ life story, the book will show how the Hall of Famer helped build the NFL into the world’s most popular, powerful, and profitable sports league, a near invincible cultural and commercial phenomenon.

Van Natta’s biography will usher readers into the board rooms, executive suites, and the Park Avenue headquarters of the NFL, which is among America’s most secretive and powerful organizations. When Jones became an NFL owner in 1989 at the age of 45, the NFL was a $850-million-a-year industry whose clubs were worth a combined $3 billion. In 2024, the NFL’s 32 teams are worth a combined total of $164 billion, a greater market cap than Nike. League revenues now exceed $20 billion and will likely eclipse $25 billion by 2027, the goal that Roger Goodell quietly set after he became commissioner in 2006. Nearly as long, Jones has served as the NFL’s “shadow commissioner.”

The author of the acclaimed ESPN profile entitled “Jerry Football,” Van Natta will weigh Jones’ indisputable business and marketing prowess against Dallas fans’ frustration with GM Jones’ nearly 30-year failure to lead the Cowboys to another Super Bowl title. “The one thing he wants most is the only thing he can’t buy,” Van Natta writes.

“In my 35-year journalism career, Jerry Jones stands alone as the most fascinating person I’ve met and covered,” Van Natta says. “The son of a North Little Rock grocer, Jones rose from being a risk-happy, nearly-broke oil wildcatter to become one of the most influential and powerful people in American sports while inventing—and playing by—his own set of rules. I’m thrilled to be writing this book for the folks at Avid Reader Press, who recognize that the best way to tell the story of the National Football League’s astonishing popularity is through the remarkable life story of Jerry Jones.”

“This feels like the book that Don Van Natta Jr. was born to write,” says Jofie Ferrari-Adler, vice president and co-publisher of Avid Reader Press, an imprint of Simon & Schuster. “They just aren’t making guys like Jerry Jones anymore, and journalists with Don’s pedigree are almost as rare. This is a special pairing.”

Van Natta is the New York Times bestselling author of three books: First Off the Tee, about presidential golf; Her Way (with Jeff Gerth), an investigative biography of Hillary Clinton; and Wonder Girl, a biography of Babe Didrikson Zaharias that won the United States Golf Association’s Herbert Warren Wind Award.

World, Audio, and First Serial rights to The Star were acquired at auction by Ferrari-Adler from Christy Fletcher of UTA. The book will be published simultaneously in hardcover, ebook, and audiobook editions.


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David Kass
Avid Reader Press | Simon & Schuster
(212) 698-7433