Less than a year ago, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones made it sound as if the long-awaited induction of two-time Super Bowl champions head coach Jimmy Johnson in the Ring of Honor was just around the corner. Now, it seems that has been all but forgotten by Jones.
Jerry Jones on August 5th, 2021: “Jimmy Johnson will be in the Ring of Honor.“
Jerry Jones on June 16th, 2022: “Nothing determined out there at all. That’s something that I’ve never really decided upon almost until a week or two before I do it.”
Anyone who knows the history of the Cowboys knows the last real success on the field for Dallas came 30 years ago, when Johnson led the team to back-to-back Super Bowls in the 1990s. Even that third championship with Barry Switzer at the helm had Johnson’s fingerprints all over it. But the severed relationship of Cowboys’ brain trust could’ve been avoided or at least overlooked for a while longer had Jones not gone running his mouth to Dallas media.
At the NFL owners meeting in Orlando in March of 1994, Jones allegedly got a little tipsy one night and said some things he’d later regret. It was reported that Jerry told two Dallas Morning News writers, “There are 500 coaches that could’ve won the Super Bowl with our team.”
Even after that dismissive comment, Johnson was still going to return to Dallas for the ’94-95 season. That was until a Fort Worth Star-Telegram headline that read, “Jerry to Jimmy: Commit or Quit.” By this time Jerry had the local media in the palm of his hand so Jimmy saw the writing on the wall.
Fast forward to 2021 and it seemed like the ongoing beef between Jones and Johnson had finally been settled at Johnson’s Hall of Fame ceremony last August. Obviously, that looks to be far from the truth with Jones’ recent turnabout on the matter.
On behalf of Cowboys fans everywhere, and as one of Dallas’ biggest critics, Jerry, it’s time to let this one go. We know Johnson gets a lot of credit for those championship teams, along with Troy Aikman, Michael Irvin, and Emmitt Smith. But Jerry hired the guy who drafted the triplets. I don’t think it’s said enough, but Jones should get more credit than he does for that aspect.
Before Jones could hire Johnson, he had to get rid of the face of America’s Team, Tom Landry. Although anyone with an objective bone in their body can look back and say it was time for Landry to go, at the time, this decision meant the end of the world in Big D. That might as well have been armageddon in the city of Dallas.
Jones pulled off the firing of a Texas legend and didn’t get run out of town. Then Jones brought in his college buddy Johnson; they bamboozled Minnesota in the Herschel Walker trade and were off and running. Over the nearly 30 years since Jones and Johnson parted ways, it’s become about ego and who was more responsible for the winning. Jerry is as big a part of that success as anyone.
No matter how many HOF players Johnson drafted and developed, none of it is possible without Jones. Jerry set it up, and put things in place, but that doesn’t seem to be enough for whatever reason. Jones has been on a quest to show the world that he can put a winner on the field as general manager of the Dallas Cowboys.
It’s time to get over this petty grudge and give long-time Cowboys fans what they’ve wanted for decades. Johnson belongs in the Cowboys’ Ring of Honor. And he deserves to see it happen while he can still enjoy it. Both men accomplished something great together, bringing the Cowboys back to prominence after falling off in the mid-’80s.
And Jones has taken the Cowboys’ brand to even greater heights since winning those Super Bowls, with Johnson and making Dallas one of the country’s most valuable professional sports franchises. The last time I checked, that isn’t anything to sneeze at. Still, ego won’t allow Jones to move past what happened with Johnson and honor the man he used to call a friend.
It’s all very petty but not shocking. I’d be willing to bet money that if the Cowboys win a Super Bowl in the next handful of years (yes, I’m smirking at the thought), Jones would immediately green light Johnson’s induction into the Ring of Honor, alongside Aikman, Irvin, and Smith. Then and only then would Jones have proved his point. And that point is that he can assemble a Super Bowl-winning team without help from his coach.
One thing that can’t be denied is how after all these years of failing, Jones continues assembling this team year-after-year as the most under qualified GM in the NFL. Come on Jerry, give your fans what they want. Be the bigger man and give Jimmy his flowers while he can still smell ’em and you can still present ’em.