DALLAS -- Jerry Jones hired a Super Bowl-winning coach this week. It's now time for him to add a Super Bowl-winning coach to the Cowboys' Ring of Honor.
Two-time winner Jimmy Johnson was taken by surprise at halftime of the Green Bay-Seattle game Sunday night, learning alongside his Fox comrades that he was the second coach added to the Pro Football Hall of Fame as part of the special 100-year celebration of the league. Steelers Super Bowl winner Bill Cowher, a part of the CBS crew, found out he was set to be enshrined in a similar ceremony on that network Saturday.
Johnson smiled and laughed with his colleagues but was clearly caught off guard when the Hall's president, Dave Baker, entered the stage through a back door and gave him the news. Johnson was as close to speechless as you are likely to find him.
"The only thing I can think of is all the assistant coaches that have worked for me, all the great players that have played for me, they're the reason I'm here. I can't talk," said Johnson, sounding as if he was having trouble catching his breath. "This is so special to me. When you put in the work that we put in, it's nice to know people appreciate it."
Tears filled his eyes and the Fox cameras cut away to analyst Troy Aikman, watching and tearing up himself from the press box at Lambeau Field.
Tom Landry is the only coach currently in the Cowboys' Ring of Honor, and some have thought Johnson would never make it because of the friction between the coach and the owner that ended their relationship in spring 1994.
But with Jones already having earned a Hall of Fame jacket three years ago, there's no reason for the owner not to acknowledge the coach who turned the Cowboys from a 1-15 disaster in 1989 to a three-time champ -- even if the last title was captured with Barry Switzer at the helm and Johnson getting ready to take the Miami Dolphins' job after Don Shula's departure.
Jones and Johnson shared laughs at a 25-year reunion of the 1992 Super Bowl champs here in Dallas two years ago. And Johnson was nothing but complimentary when Jones earned induction ahead of him in 2017.
When Baker entered the studio, he greeted Terry Bradshaw, Michael Strahan and Tony Gonzalez first.
"Hall of Famer, Hall of Famer, Hall of Famer ... Coach, on behalf of the Pro Football Hall of Fame and all those fans watching, and all of us who love this game, thank you for all you've done for the game. Thank you for the history you've made and the lives you've impacted," Baker said. "It's my great honor to tell you you're going to be the 328th Hall of Famer, and your legacy is going to be in Canton, Ohio, forever."
Johnson was holding it together until Baker mentioned "the lives you've impacted." The coach has been a finalist for the Hall several times, but some thought he would never make it because his time in the league was so short. He only coached nine seasons and was able to produce just a 2-3 playoff record during his four years with Miami before retiring permanently.
The other coaching finalists included another two-time Super Bowl champ, the Raiders' Tom Flores; Dick Vermeil, who won one for St. Louis and lost one for Philadelphia; and Don Coryell, who is frequently given credit for inventing the modern vertical passing game.
Johnson had a 7-1 playoff record in Dallas, losing only to Detroit after the 1991 season before guiding the Cowboys to their most one-sided Super Bowl victory and their only back-to-back titles.
That was a little more than a quarter of a century ago. If Jones hopes that Mike McCarthy will return the Cowboys to Super Bowl glory, it's not a bad time to remember the No. 1 reason Jones ever hoisted the Lombardi Trophy in the first place.
Sports on 01/14/2020
Print Headline: Time for Jerry to add Jimmy to Ring