This is one of the most talked about situations in the history both of the NFL and Dallas Cowboys. After winning back-to back Super Bowl titles in 1992 and 1993, why did Jerry Jones, the team owner, and Jimmy Johnson, the former Head Coach, decide to part ways?
Although the Cowboys won another Super Bowl with Barry Switzer as their coach in 1995, the end of Jones and Johnson was seen as the turning point for the quarter-century of failed Super Bowl dreams in Dallas. Jones spoke out about the things he would have done differently with Johnson at the Cowboys’ opening press conference in Oxnard California, where they will hold their first leg of training camp.
“My role was to keep it together. I should have respected something that was doing well. Those are the things that come to mind. It was a wonderful run. He is a great coach and I am proud to call him a friend. Jones was emotional and said that it was a wonderful experience.
When you look at the details of their relationship, it is easy to see why Jones would cry when Johnson mentions him. It began in 1960s, when they were roommates at Arkansas University football and shared the 1964 National Championship.
Jones hired his college coach as the Cowboys’ head coach when he bought them in 1989. This lasted for five years.
The Cowboys’ first season was not a good one. The team finished 1-15 despite Troy Aikman being a future Hall of Fame quarterback. The Cowboys made the most significant trade in NFL history, sending Running Back Hershel to the Minnesota Vikings on October 12, 1989. The deal also included a transaction that involved the San Diego Chargers at the time. It included 18 players as well as draft picks.
These picks were used by the Cowboys to sign Emmitt Smith, Darren Woodson and Alvin Harper, as well as Russell Maryland and Leon Lett to create the foundation for their dynasty of 1990s, which saw them win four consecutive NFC Championship Games and three Super Bowls.
Jones spoke on Wednesday about Switzer, as well as the other topics mentioned during the press conference. Jones appointed Switzer the Cowboys’ head coach less than 24 hours after Johnson retired as head coach in 1994. Switzer was curious to find out where Johnson was when he arrived at the office.
According to Jones, Switzer stated that Jimmy was missing.
It’s unusual for a coach to ask the man who is taking over his job whereabouts. But it makes sense once you look at the details. Switzer was a Arkansas coach when Jones and Johnson played. The relationship between them runs deep.
Jones replied with “Jimmy is gone”
Switzer didn’t like this and wanted to find Johnson’s location again.
“Well, that’s wrong. Get him. Get him in here. Jimmy, where are you?
Jones continued to speak about his perplexity at Switzer’s request and the blunt response that Switzer gave him when he mentioned it.
“I said, “Barry, Jimmy’s gone.” “I said, “Barry, Jimmy’s gone.”
Jones was asked if he could answer Switzer’s question today. He admitted that he couldn’t.
Jones stated, “I have never been able t know why I f—ed it up.” Jones replied, “No, those are not my questions.”
Johnson felt Jones wanted too much credit during his five-year tenure with the Cowboys. Jones believed Johnson was being disloyal because he refused to give credit. Despite their extraordinary success, the animosity between them lasted over twenty years.
Over the past few years, it seems that their relationship has changed. Jones spoke out about his good relationship with Johnson during Cowboy’s 25th Anniversary celebration of their Super Bowl XXVII win over the Buffalo Bills at Gilley’s Dallas in February 2017.
Jones stated, “Yes, it’s good with Jimmy Johnson.” It’s very nice. Jimmy and I truly understand the situation. We have a mutual respect and a common bond. His foils have always been a problem for me. He’s also had to overlook mine.”
Johnson also spoke highly of Jones.
Johnson stated, “I spoke to Jerry at Super Bowl and congratulated his induction into the Hall of Fame.” Johnson said, “I spoke to the media before that and I stated without doubt that he should be in there. Look at his impact on the NFL over the years he’s been there; every franchise has a lot to do with Jerry Jones. He deserves to be there for his passion and work ethic. I am happy for him.
Many people still wonder, nearly 30 years later, what would have happened if Johnson had not resigned. This is a question that will remain unanswered. However, one thing is certain: Jones and Johnson made history together, and will always be connected when it comes to Cowboys.