There is no love lost between Jimmy Johnson and Jerry Jones. The two were teammates at Arkansas, where the won a national championship together in 1964, before rekindling their winning ways with back-to-back Dallas Cowboys Super Bowl championships in 1992 and 1993. It was all downhill from there.
As Jones reminded us in a lengthy feature that was written by ESPN’s Don Van Natta Jr., his relationship with Johnson soured 20 years ago. Despite Johnson’s success with the team, Jones said he has no plans of inducting him into the Cowboys Ring of Honor.
“Disloyalty … I couldn’t handle the disloyalty,” Jones told Van Natta Jr. “Whether it was right or not, by every measurement you can go, I had paid so many times a higher price to get to be there than he had paid, it was unbelievable.
“There was just an undermining that went on. It’s subtle. It’s smart. I lost my tolerance of having an associate, a friend, not be loyal. I’ve been told, ‘That’s trite. You should be bigger than that.’ I mean, really, am I so dumb that I don’t know you don’t fire a coach after y’all just won two straight Super Bowls?”
Johnson remembers it quite differently. The legendary coach says Jones brought him in with an understanding that Jerruh would handle the business side of things and Jimmy would handle football. When rumblings of the Cowboys being a dynasty started, Jones wanted more credit.
“When I went to the Cowboys, Jerry told me he’d handle the marketing and money and I’d handle the football and we’d make history,” Johnson said in a statement included in the feature. “That changed after the first Super Bowl. I appreciate the opportunity he gave me and I’m proud of what we were able to accomplish.”
After reading all the things Jones said about him in the piece, Johnson sounded a bit less appreciative.
“(The feature was) about like I expected,” Johnson told Bob West of the Port Arthur News in an email. “Jerry comes across like a rich a–hole.”
Both men are getting old. Johnson and Jones are 71. Give the success they enjoyed together, you would think one or both of them might express a willingness to bury the hatchet now that they have entered the twilight years of life. Jerruh’s recent comments make it seem like there is little to no chance of that ever happening.