Johnson, Jimmy

Cards: Proset 1989, Proset 1990, Proset 1991, Proset 1991 AP, Proset 1992
Acquired: In Person 1991,1992,1993, Dallas Cowboys Training Camp

Coach Johnson would be one of the first autographs that I’d get at training camp at St. Edwards in Austin, Tx. With his trademark hair, Jimmy has an alpha personality, loves the limelight, and signing autographs, sometimes by the dozens in his golf cart before and after practice. Jimmy has been a winner at every level he has played at. First as a player for Arkansas 1964 National Championship team as an All American Defensive Lineman (where he was a teammate of future Dallas Cowboys owner, Jerry Jones), then at the University of Miami as coach where he guided the college to its highest level of elite dominance from 1984-1989. The Miami Hurricanes were not without controversy. Dominating the college ranks, the Hurricanes were considered highly undisciplined off the field because Johnson encouraged the players to have a lot of swagger openly embracing the moniker of being the “Bad Boys of Football”. After his tenure with the Hurricanes ended with one national championship in 1987, Johnson would then move on to the professional ranks, hired by Jerry Jones to coach the Cowboys in 1989. (He’d finish his college coaching record at 81-34-3 firstly at Oklahoma State and then with the University of Miami.)

This timing was tough for Jimmy as he was taking over for coaching legend Tom Landry, and arrogantly proclaimed with Jones at their initial press conference that he’d have the franchise turned around in 3 seasons time- ostracizing many loyal fans who preferred the quiet, professional demeanor of Landry. After an initial extremely rough 1-15 start in 1989, Johnson would begin to right the fortunes of the Cowboys, and winning melts most resentment. By season 3 the Cowboys were back in the playoffs, and won consecutive Superbowls in 1992 and 1993. Johnson would orchestrate the most lopsided trade of all time, trading runningback Herschel Walker to the Minnesota Vikings for a bevvy of draft choices and players. Jimmy had an eye for talent, and while not having the final say on all draft choices, played a large part in locating talent and underrated free agents, signing often Miami Hurricanes that he was familiar with as situational players. After leaving the Cowboys over personal differences with once friend Jerry Jones, Jimmy would briefly retire from coaching, turning to the broadcast booth. He was offered the head coaching  job for the Eagles in 1994, but declined, instead taking over for legendary Don Shula and the Dolphins in 1996 where he’d coach through the 1999 season. Although he’d guide the team to 3 playoff appearances, he’d not move beyond the divisional round and cited burn-out as his reason for retirement.

Since re-retiring Johnson has remained front and center on Fox’s NFL pregame show and the College Championship Series and owns a restaurant in Miami. An extensive coaching tree has formed from Jimmy, including Dave Wannstedt, Butch Davis, and Norv Turner. Jimmy Johnson is also the only coach to win a National Championship and the Superbowl. He’s also done a bit of bit acting, on “The Shield”, “Coach”, and “The Waterboy” and in commercials. In 2006, Johnson was linked briefly to the Houston Texans as a darkhorse candidate for the open coaching job, but declined the reports as pure speculation.  Jimmy is a huge fan of the series “Survivor” and was cast in the 2010 season that premiered earlier this month. Oddly despite his accolades Jimmy has not been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame for his coaching accomplishments with the Cowboys.

W  80   L 64  T 0    Pct .555