Jimmy Johnson spoke on his relationship with Jerry Jones as he made rounds to several media outlets promoting his newly released memoir, “Swagger: Super Bowls, Brass Balls, and Footballs.” Johnson made multiple remote and in-person appearances on Wednesday during which he revealed various details about his friendship with Jones, how and why his tenure as Cowboys head coach came to an end, and his thoughts on the recent on-field performances of the Cowboys.
When speaking with WFAA's Joe Trahan, Johnson recounted a time when Jerry Jones said that any of 500 coaches could have won Super Bowls with the rosters the Dallas Cowboys had in the 1990s. To Trahan, Johnson said, “Joe, that hurt. I was very, very proud of what we accomplished. And for him not to respect that, that hurt me, and I don't know that I'll ever get over that hurt… and he apologized the next day but that cut pretty deep.” He later added, “I know there's some things in the book that [Jerry is] not going to like, but they're truth. I mean, they're facts.”
During Johnson's appearance on Fox & Friends, Steve Doocy also asked about his relationship with Jerry Jones. With his response, Johnson described the deterioration of their friendship from another angle. He characterized his relationship with Jerry Jones as being “hot and cold” and said that tension started to develop between them once the team started winning.
“You see, when Jerry was buying the Cowboys, I can remember like it was yesterday. We were in his automobile and he said, ‘Jimmy, you’re in charge of the football, I’m in charge of the money and we’ll make sports history.’ Well, we made sports history. And everything worked fine for a long time and then all of a sudden we started winning and then when we started winning, things changed a little bit. There started to be a little bit of a tension.
“People say, ‘he meddled too much.’ No he didn’t meddle. It’s just that when we started winning, he wanted to be more in the spotlight.”
Johnson provided even more insight on the rift between himself and his former college roommate when he appeared on First Take and told host Stephen A. Smith that by the time he left Dallas he “wasn't having fun anymore.” Johnson said that winning the first Super Bowl with the Cowboys was fun, because taking the Cowboys from being one of the worst teams in the league to ultimately winning a championship was a great source of pride. En route to the second Super Bowl win, however, Johnson had to navigate demands from players and personnel within the organization as well as the Cowboys having a “target on [their] backs.” The former coach recalled, “And then of course, Jerry and I were starting to clash over the contract,” in describing the final straws that led him to leave the organization.
Johnson on the Current State of the Cowboys
While talking with Stephen A. Smith, Jimmy Johnson spoke his piece about the current iteration of the Dallas Cowboys and their performance so far this season. According to him, these Cowboys will only have earned the right to have “swagger” once they have won a Super Bowl. “Swagger is winning,” he said, “They've won a little, but they haven't won great. Until you win and put a ring on your finger, I don't know that you can have swagger.”
Earlier in his segment on First Take, Johnson also took time to express that he didn't believe any one player would be responsible for a drastic improvement in wins or stats. While he believes starting quarterback Dak Prescott will play a big role in impacting the team's results, he also believes that the “supporting cast,” as he described other offensive teammates, would also have to perform well in order for the team to see post-season success.
Jimmy Johnson Apologizes
In addition to detailing his experience as a 2x Super Bowl winning head coach, Jimmy Johnson said that this memoir will also serve as an apology to his family who he says he neglected in his pursuit of NFL success. “In some ways, this book is an apology to my family as far as not being there,” he said. “Both of my sons played football and I never saw either one of them play a game.”
“Swagger” was released on Tuesday as an ebook, audiobook, and hardcover book. It is available wherever books are sold.