Thirty years after coaching his final game for the team, the Dallas Cowboys are adding Jimmy Johnson to their esteemed Ring of Honor.
On Sunday, team owner Jerry Jones joined his former Arkansas teammate and coach-turned-broadcast analyst on Fox’s pregame show to deliver the news in person.
“It was magical the time we had together,” Jones told Johnson. “And I want you to know something. On December 30 of 1923 , you’re going in the Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor.”
Johnson was the first coach Jones hired when he bought the team in 1989, prying him from the University of Miami (FL) after 23 years at the collegiate level. The coach went on to lead the team for five seasons, winning two Super Bowls before parting ways over alleged disagreements with Jones.
“I’m amazed at how some of the personal nuances of this thing has become a little bit of the story,” Jones told Dallas’ 105.3 The Fan on Tuesday morning. “…We were operating at a fever pitch. Feelings were on edge but not hard. We worked together closely every day about every football decision relative to personnel and the structure required back then because you didn’t have a salary cap.”
Johnson had a 51-37 record and only lost one of his eight playoff games as Dallas’ head coach. He also had a brief stint with the Miami Dolphins before joining Fox in 1999 and being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2020.
“He’s always motivated me,” Jones added. “He motivated me when we got together to be here, and he certainly deserves to be recognized.”
The Hall of Fame head coach will become the 24th member of the Dallas Cowboy Ring of Honor and the fourth non-player to receive the honor when the Cowboys host the Detroit Lions in a game televised nationally on ESPN.
“Tex Schramm told me, ‘Make the Ring of Honor about someone who really impacted the direction of the franchise,'” Jones reflected. “Not just the best player, or in his case, the best coach, but someone that impacted the direction of the franchise. He (Johnson) fit the bill in my mind. …He fit the bill immediately after his five years.”
Johnson is the second honoree to join the prestigious group this season. The club inducted former standout pass-rusher Demarcus Ware during a win over the Los Angeles Rams on October 29, leading Jones to the decision to honor Johnson as well.
“I saw a little bit of the edge that was there by not putting him in when we put Demarcus Ware in, and I thought, ‘Well, I didn’t intend for this,'” Jones explained. “That motivated me.”