Former Cowboys coach Jimmy Johnson was wrong regarding the titles that owner Jerry Jones had during Johnson’s time with the franchise. But Johnson was right regarding his own authority.
Rainier Sabin of the Dallas Morning News has tracked down a 1989 article from Bernie Miklasz, then of the Morning News, regarding Johnson’s job duties.
Instantly, Johnson became the most powerful coach in a league that included Don Shula in Miami, Chuck Noll in Pittsburgh, and Joe Gibbs in Washington. Described as an “emperor,” the then-45-year-old Johnson had final say on all football matters, along with freedom to “become involved in virtually every detail of club business, from the draft to player contracts to overseeing the production of the team’s two television shows.”
And Jones was happy to do it, calling the hiring of Johnson as the equivalent of “five No. 1 draft choices and five Heisman Trophy winners” — and giving Johnson a 10-year contract.
The relationship lasted only five years, but it produced two Super Bowl wins and laid the foundation for a third. A generation later, Jones and Johnson should be celebrating what they accomplished instead of trying to claim credit and cast blame.
Given what transpired and how it all ended, there’s plenty of both to go around.