Jimmy Johnson Addresses Reason Behind Infamous Fallout With Jerry Jones

By Jason Hall

November 16, 2022

Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony
Photo: Getty Images

Hall of Fame former Dallas Cowboys coach Jimmy Johnson said his relationship with team owner Jerry Jones suddenly "changed a little bit" once "we started winning."

"You see, when Jerry was buying the Cowboys, I can remember like it was yesterday," Johnson said during an appearance on FOX & Friends promoting his new book, Swagger: Super Bowls, Brass Balls, and Footballs--A Memoir. "We were in his automobile and he said, ‘Jimmy, you’re in charge of the football, I’m in charge of the money and we’ll make sports history.’ Well, we made sports history. And everything worked fine for a long time and then all of a sudden we started winning and then when we started winning, things changed a little bit. There started to be a little bit of a tension.

"People say, ‘he meddled too much.’ No he didn’t meddle. It’s just that when we started winning, he wanted to be more in the spotlight. I was proud of what we accomplished. Maybe I didn’t want to share it. I take fault in a lot of it. I should’ve shared it more."

Johnson, who was Jones' former teammate with the Arkansas Razorbacks during their college football playing careers, was hired by the Cowboys in 1989, the same year Jones purchased the franchise.

The Port Arthur, Texas native led Dallas to a successful rebuild before having mutually agreed to split with Jones amid their growing inability to work together in March 1994, just months after winning their second Super Bowl together and days after Jones had publicly stated that any coach could have led the Cowboys to a successful championship run.

Johnson has also been excluded from the Cowboys' "Ring of Honor" for many years amid his tumultuous relationship with Jones, who announced that the coach would finally be inducted during FOX's Hall of Fame Game in August 2021 -- the same weekend Johnson was enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame -- although the ceremony has yet to take place.

“Obviously, I’d be honored to be in the Ring of Honor, but that’s Jerry’s decision,” Johnson said during an appearance on the AP Pro Football Podcast (h/t SI.com). “It’s not something I think about. It’s something when and if he decides to do it, because he’s told me half a dozen times he’s going to do it. When and if he does it, then I’ll be honored and be very proud."

The Cowboys won one Super Bowl with Johnson's replacement, longtime Oklahoma Sooners coach Barry Switzer -- who resigned two seasons later -- following the 1996 NFL season, but have yet to make an appearance since.

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