Now to talk about Jimmy Johnson: (from Port Arthur, Tx)
Btw, Jimmy Johnson went to high school with Janis Joplin!
Jimmy Johnson was/is one of the most colorful, humorous, tough, temperamental, and smartest football coaches I have ever seen. And those adjectives barely "scratch the surface" He was also one of the WINNINGEST (is that a word?) coaches I've ever seen. Having played at the University of Arkansas (with Jerry Jones...the Cowboys owner) he knew what winning was all about. Arkansas won the National Championship in I believe 1964. So you might say he already had the "championship pedigree" Once when interviewed by the Miami Dolphins owner (Wayne Huizenga) he was asked to express his feelings....the "how's" and "whys" he would have success. His answer was simple. He said: " I NEED TO WIN" After that it was easy putting the contract together. Unfortunately....it is not all about coaches. The Dolphins did reach the playoffs...but Jimmy would never contend for a Super Bowl again. While at Dallas....(when he and Jones WERE getting along) they were building and trading to make the Dallas Cowboys a football team again. He said in his book...that that first season with us in 88 was long and hard. He did not see HOW the Cowboys would win ANY of their 16 games (they won one)...with an older....slower team. Many of the older players fought hard....like Ed Jones and Randy White...but "Father Time" caught up with them...and Jimmy made them expendable or "allowed" them to leave with pride. But he and Jones "drew all aces" when it came time for the draft....and then pulled the "coup d gras" with the Minnesota Vikings...getting several players and 1st round picks for our star running back Herschel Walker. This was called the "Great Train Robbery" Jimmy later remarked about Hershel's style not being conducive to the offensive attack he envisioned. Hershel (to Jimmy anyway was a GREAT north/south runner...but could not "cut" well like the likes of Emmitt Smith) He was able to build the team around his quarterback Troy Aikman....and in doing so....came up with some GREAT players to ever play offensive line for the Cowboys. They then acquired Emmitt and traded for several more....and many of these players would win 3 Super Bowl rings....along with receiving ALL-Pro honors. He had built a dynasty!
Jimmy though...would not tolerate inconsistency and would cut/fire a player if he wasn't giving his best. He ruled by intimidation....primarily. Many would disagree with this coaching style...but I think he also had the luxury of starting great players.
Once when a kicker complained of asthma...Jimmy told him, "Then go stand over there with the other asthma players!" Given to TIRADES during games...Johnson was almost comical to watch. Sometimes his face looked like he was going to "vapor lock" when an official made a questionable call. One time we were playing the Chicago Bears...and seemingly had the game "at hand" A young running back named Curvin Richards...fumbled several times and the Bears nearly "climbed back into the game" Afterwards....instead of being elated Jimmy was "mad as a nest full of hornets"! They asked him "what's up Coach?" He said, "I'm glad we won....but the LAST thing I want to see is a player "flopping around" out there. I won't tolerate it" He didn't. Richards was cut the next day. (Oops!)
Another time...an official COST us a game when he didn't call a New York running back for fumbling (this was before instant replay was official) Our defender CLEARLY stripped him of the ball...but it was in a "maze" of players...and apparently they didn't see. The ball stayed with the Giants and they scored or ran the clock out. Jimmy was as livid as I've ever seen him! His face went from red to white to red again! He was also trying to get the ref Gordon McCarter to look at the play on the big screen...by pointing several times. He was pacing up and down the sidelines like a fighter ready to go back in action!
Then after the game he said something about the officials ( a HUGE NO,NO in the NFL) which cost him a great deal. He said, "Not since I was an itsy bitsy kid.....and my Daddy said, "Son, this is a football" have I EVER seen such poor officiating as what we saw today!"
Sometimes he could be honest and criticize himself. One time we...lost a close game....and it was in a large part due to not having ANY timeouts left. (you may have witnessed this with the Bengals Sunday when they were out of timeouts at the beginning of the 4th quarter)
At his press conference 2 days later (usually took a day for him to calm down and start thinking of the next opponent) He said, "We just HAVE to do some things better....me included...since I won the TIME MANAGEMENT of the year award the other day!" All the sportwriters were dying laughing!
These are just a few things I remember about Jimmy. Frankly since his heart attack and surgery....i think he is much more subdued than he used to be...but still remains a good balance to the crew on the NFL pre-game show.
Sadly, EGOS are a big part of football....and he and Jerry Jones had a huge FIGHT over control of the team (basically) and they parted ways and friends. My feeling is....if Jimmy Johnson had stayed on....instead of us hiring Barry Switzer to coach the team when Jimmy was fired....I believe we would have won 4 Super Bowls in a row! Instead we dropped a lop-sided championship game to the 49ers and they won the third time and the Super Bowl. Then we came back and won the 3rd of 4 Super Bowls against the Pittsburg Steelers.
While I disagreed with much of his coaching philosophy....I RESPECTED him as a coach. But again....Jimmy had a GREAT football team to work with.
Oddly enough....since Jerry Jones "runs" the football team as owner and GM....he has never been able to CHALLENGE for the Lombardi Trophy.
(Bill Parcells was the last strong personality we had...and you see where he is!) It is very sad to see that (the Cowboys) have been in a 17 year drought!
More could be printed on Jimmy...but for those who are interested....his book....."Turning the Thing Around" is a good commentary on him and his short legacy with the Dallas Cowboys