Jerry Jones finds ways to smile about Super Bowl

His team in shambles, his big Super Bowl week kicking off with roads shellacked by ice, Jerry Jones still found plenty of reasons to smile Tuesday.

No matter the negatives thrown his way at a news conference, the owner of the Dallas Cowboys found the sunny side.

Start with the weather, which he considered a good thing.

"In sales, you set expectations at one point, then you stop and you close with a big pot you bang at the end," Jones said. "So I'll start with these icy streets and end with beautiful days at the end of the week."

He was even happy winds were whipping so hard that they ripped apart tents set up around his $1.2 billion Cowboys Stadium for Sunday's game.

"I'm glad it was blowing that hard because I want it to blow through," he said. "I'm dead serious. ... I just said, 'C'mon baby, keep blowing.'"

Jones also said he was thrilled with the Super Bowl matchup being the Green Bay Packers against the Pittsburgh Steelers, saying, "you couldn't have drawn it up, for me, any better."

Really? Having the Cowboys in it wouldn't have been the ultimate thrill?

"I think I crossed that bridge after about six or seven games," he said, smiling again. "We had a league meeting with all the owners and I told them early in the fall, I said, 'Boy, I hope each and every one of you can be here and be a part of it. The way we're stinking it up ... the idea of being the first team that ever played in its own Super Bowl has passed me by.'"

Jones spent all summer hyping the idea of the Cowboys becoming the first Super Bowl host to actually play in the big game. His optimism dimmed only when he discussed their miserable season — a 1-7 start that prompted him to fire coach Wade Phillips. He blamed himself for letting the hype cloud his view.

"I've done my worst work when I thought I had a pretty good hand," he said. "We certainly didn't play, didn't coach, didn't general manage, didn't own up to expectations."

Some Dallas fans are disappointed to have the Packers and Steelers in this game because they still hold a grudge for those teams being stumbling blocks to the Cowboys in the 1960s and '70s. Jones can be a gracious host because Dallas beat Pittsburgh in a Super Bowl during his ownership. The Cowboys also did well against the Brett Favre-led Packers in the 1990s.

"It's been 15 years since Green Bay's been here, so why not?" Jones said.

Since his club flopped, Jones began to focus on having one heck of a Super Bowl.

"That makes it a little easier," he said.

He said this game will challenge the Super Bowl attendance record of 103,985 at the Rose Bowl in January 1980. It might even approach the crowd of 108,71 that filled Cowboys Stadium for the NBA All-Star game last February; it helped, of course, that the configuration for basketball allowed seating on the field.

For this game, the count will be boosted by the addition of 15,000-plus temporary seats, plus several thousand tickets sold for folks to watch in a plaza outside the stadium.

"I think we can get to the NFL record without having to count that outside," Jones said. "If you count that outside, then you might get to the 108 (thousand)."

A big crowd — and a smooth week, weather included — could go a long way toward determining whether Jones' palace makes it into the rotation of Super Bowl sites. Local organizers already are working on their next bid.

"This is done by vote and by secret ballot vote, so you can't assume anything," Jones said. "I'm hopeful that our success here, some of the key things here — economics, logistics, what kind of Super Bowl we present and obviously the probably surest thing of all is the hospitality we give all people. I've never seen an area mobilize for an event like I'm seeing, both financially as well as from the numbers of people involved."