Former Cowboys head coach Jimmy Johnson might be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but the Cowboys’ own Ring of Honor remains elusive. Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones said Sunday in an interview with Channel 5’s Newy Scruggs, that Johnson would be put in the Ring of Honor. It just wasn’t the right circumstances yet.
Johnson went on The Dan LeBatard Show with Stugotz to briefly discuss his ongoing feud with Jones, and Jones’ recent comment from Sunday saying, ‘it isn’t, at the end of the day, tailored around whether Jimmy is sniveling or not.’
Here’s what Johnson had to say.
Answers have been edited for length and brevity.
Johnson: “I had to look that word up in the dictionary. I don’t know that I’ve ever sniveled. Do you ever remember me sniveling?”
No, it’s not ever a word I would associate with you. And also, you’d like to be in the Ring of Honor, but as I said, Jimmy kind of likes it in the Keys. It’d be a bit of a pain in the (expletive) to get up and go there. It would be emotional like the Hall of Fame was, because he doesn’t actually need your accolades, but it does seem like he could put down the pettiness here and put your name in the Ring of Honor. Do you think he will do that before you have passed away?
Johnson: “Well, that’s what I said on the show. He said he was going to do it because he told me half a dozen times that he’d put me in. That’s when I said ‘while I’m alive.’ You never can tell. That’s his decision.
“The only thing is, if he does it, everybody will stop talking about it.”
I don’t think I’m speaking for you here, Jimmy, buy you’re more bemused by it than anything, right?
Johnson: “Let’s see. I think I’m in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Is that the ultimate, ya know? I’m happy where I am. I don’t have any deep feelings like, ‘Oh, I’ve got to do this. I’ve got to do that.’”
What regrets do you have from how all of that ended? Because it was possible for you to never end up back with the Miami Dolphins. What would have happened if you had stayed in the relationship?
Johnson: “You know, Dan, and I think this is the good part about the book Swagger. I’m in the best relationship that I’ve ever had with my family right now. My sons are super successful, super happy. I’ve got a great marriage now. I used to say the most fun time I ever had in my life was the last four years I had at the University of Miami. It was a great, great time. Of course, we were independent and had a schedule as such that we were playing the top teams in the country every other week and we were kicking their rear end. I mean, it was a ball. But I’ve changed. The most fun time of my life wasn’t those years at the University of Miami. The most fun time of my life is right now.”
There’s real learning in that. Jimmy, you’ve done profound, life-living wisdom stuff because you found your way to happy. I’ve see you. You make a throw up sound when you think of the man you were, or had to be. The (expletive) you had to be.
Johnson: “Bill Belichick, in one of the years he came down after his first Super Bowl, and he says, ‘Jimmy, what’s the hardest thing I have to overcome after this first one?’ And I said, ‘Well, obviously, complacency. They aren’t going to work as hard.’ I’ll give you a perfect example. Joe Brodsky, who I love to death, he was my running back coach, and he’s no longer with us. But he did a great job with our running backs. Well, after our first Super Bowl Emmitt Smith held out the first couple weeks because that’s what happens. Everybody in the organization. The secretary wants a raise. The video guy wants a raise. All the players want new contracts. All the coaches want to do this. People are writing books and TV shows. Anyway, Emmitt held out for a couple of weeks. Well, Emmitt comes back in and then Joe, he was just wearing the rookie Derrick Lassic out at running back. But Emmitt was standing over on the side, not getting any work.
“I said, ‘Joe. Hey, Lassic is fine, but get Emmitt in there and get him ready to play.’ Joe looked over at me and said ‘coach, he’s a veteran. He’s going to be fine on Sunday. I said ‘fine, on Sunday my rear end. Get him in there and get him ready to play.’ That’s what happens. Even the assistant coaches get soft on those players. They become friends that don’t drive them as hard. I told Bill, ‘You’re the only guy that’s got the hammer. The hammer on the players. The hammer on the coaches. You’ve got to demand that they get better. Because everybody is going to have a target on your back. Everybody is going to be after you. They are going to be better prepared this year than they were last year. So you’ve got to be better than you were a year ago if you are going to win again.”
Jimmy, what do you say to a Dolphins fan that is OK with Stephen Ross going after Tom Brady? Around the league, there’s a lot of little conversations happening, tampering here and there. I’m a Dolphins fan and I was like, ‘hey, Stephen Ross is going for it. I wasn’t that angry with him.
Johnson: “Well, it’s one thing to be passionate and want to get better, buy you also have rules. I made the mistake of my very first job when I went to the Dallas Cowboys. I didn’t know anything about tampering. I called Don Capers, who I knew, and talked to him about being on my defensive staff. Well, he was under contract with the New Orleans Saints and so I got turned into the league for tampering. I didn’t know the rules. You can be passionate, work hard and try to improve, but you’ve got to follow the rules.”
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