Dallas Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones did not say when it would happen, but he made an announcement Thursday night that many hoped would come sooner rather than later: Jimmy Johnson will be inducted into the Cowboys’ Ring of Honor.
Johnson will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame this weekend, and Jones has said in the past that he did not want to take away from that moment when discussing when or if Johnson would be put into his team’s Ring of Honor.
“I think we’ve got some great days ahead of us,” Jones said on the FOX pregame show before the Cowboys faced the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Hall of Fame Game. “We are going to certainly be recognizing what’s happening here with the Hall of Fame, but Tex Schramm, who started that Ring of Honor, he said, ‘Jerry, keep it kind of limited with people, but make sure it wasn’t just about the plays they made. Make sure they contributed to the story of the franchise.’ Now, it’s kind of hard not to recognize [Johnson’s] contribution to the story of the franchise.”
After Jones’ announcement, Johnson, his former Arkansas teammate, joked about when the induction would happen, saying, “While I’m alive?”
After a 1-15 record in 1989, his first year after taking over for Tom Landry, Johnson led the Cowboys back to prominence, with wins in Super Bowls XXVII and XXVIII. He and Jones had a falling out after the second championship, but Johnson is given a large amount of credit for the Cowboys’ win in Super Bowl XXX under coach Barry Switzer, a victory that made Dallas the first franchise to win three Super Bowls in four years.
In five seasons with the Cowboys, Johnson had a 44-36 record and went 7-1 in the postseason.
At the start of training camp, Jones expressed regret about the breakup with Johnson.
“Ridiculous. My role here was, my job was to keep it together,” Jones said, later choking up. “It was my job. Should have had deference to something that was working good. Those are the things that come to my mind. We had a great run of it. He’s a great coach, and I’m proud to have him as a friend, and proud to have had the times that we had. We just had a great experience.”
Last month, Johnson was asked about the Ring of Honor during an interview in Key Largo, Florida.
“I think other people think about the Ring of Honor a lot more than I do,” Johnson said. “Jerry’s told me numerous times he’s going to put me in the Ring of Honor, and I think that day will come whenever Jerry feels like it, which is fine with me. I know what we were able to accomplish, and I’m very proud of that.”
At the end of the interview Thursday, Johnson embraced Jones.
“Our successes wouldn’t have happened and every player that was on those teams knows that — Michael [Irvin] and Emmitt [Smith] and everyone else. It took both of these guys in order for us to achieve,” Hall of Fame quarterback Troy Aikman said on the pregame show. “Jimmy couldn’t have been the coach he was had it not been for Jerry and his ownership, and Jerry wouldn’t have been the owner he was had it not been for Jimmy as the head coach. And we were the beneficiaries of that. I’m just glad to see these two together. It’s what we’ve all been hoping for.”