Former Cowboys coach Jimmy Johnson ripped into his boss with the ‘Boys on Wednesday’s edition of The Dan Patrick Show, explaining that it was Jimmy Johnson not Jerry Jones who had the control of the team in the early 1990s.
But Johnson apparently went a little too far in making his point.
“That is completely a bunch of crock,” Johnson said. “Jerry started putting all those titles on himself after I left. He didn’t call himself general manager and president and all that stuff when I was there. He was just the owner.”
As Todd Archer of ESPNDallas.com points out, Johnson’s claim is erroneous. Archer explains that the team’s media guides for the five years Johnson served as coach show that Jones was indeed the owner, president, and General Manager.
Johnson’s broader point was that his contract gave him the kind of control over player personnel that Jones now exercises. But the owner always has the absolute final say, doesn’t he? Regardless of what the contract says, the owner hires the coach — and if the owner doesn’t like the decisions the coach makes with whatever authority the coach has, the owner can fire the coach.
The unspoken message from Johnson, who was both highly competitive and extremely effective in Dallas, perhaps was that the team wouldn’t have won those championships without him picking the players and then coaching them up. As Archer points out, however, Johnson had that same authority in Miami — and he was 36-28 in the regular season, 2-3 in the playoffs, and he exited coaching with a 62-7 loss to the Jaguars.
So maybe Jones had more to do with the success of the Cowboys than Johnson or anyone else would admit. Indeed, in the latest episode of A Football Life, which focuses on Jimmy Johnson and debuts tonight at 8:00 p.m. ET on NFL Network, Jones admits that finding players wasn’t his strength.
“I was the General Manager, and Jimmy was the coach,” Jones says. “Certainly, he had spent all that time in football and understood what a football player looked like better than I did. At the same time, I was a good trader. That’s what I did for a living and that’s how I bought the Cowboys.”
Bottom line? Together, Johnson and Jones were football’s version of Lennon and McCarthy. Alone, the two men haven’t come close to that level of success. (Yeah, Jones won a Super Bowl with Barry Switzer as the coach — but with the team Johnson built.)
Maybe, some day, they’ll both admit that each man played a significant part in their mutual NFL success.