NFL legend Jimmy Johnson sheds light on Jerry Jones relationship: ‘When we started winning, things changed’


Jimmy Johnson touched on his relationship with Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones as he talked about his memoir, “Swagger: Super Bowls, Brass Balls, and Footballs.”

Johnson came from the University of Miami to coach the Cowboys in 1989 when Jones bought the team and fired icon Tom Landry. Johnson was 1-15 in his first season as an NFL head coach, but a handful of shrewd moves brought the team ample success, including back-to-back Super Bowls in 1992 and 1993.


Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and presenter Jimmy Johnson pose with Jones’ bust during the Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium on Aug. 5, 2017 in Canton, Ohio.
(Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

However, the struggle between Johnson and Jones became clearer before the start of the 1994 season, and it led to Johnson’s departure from the organization. Since then, Johnson has become a Hall of Famer and Jones would agree in 2021 to put Johnson in the Cowboys’ Ring of Honor. Ultimately, it has yet to happen.

Johnson appeared on “Fox & Friends” on Wednesday and was asked about his relationship with Jones.

“I said in the book, I started off the chapter on Jerry, I said, ‘people don’t really understand our relationship for the simple reason – I don’t understand our relationship.’ When we were together, everything was 100%, we were happy, we’re hugging each other, one thing or another. But there was a conflict and there was tension toward the end of my career with Dallas,” he told co-host Steve Doocy.

Johnson recalled the moment he met with Jones upon the billionaire buying the organization.

Jimmy Johnson, left, announces his resignation as head coach of the world champion Dallas Cowboys football team at a press conference at the team’s Valley Ranch headquarters in Irving, Texas.
(PAUL K. BUCK/AFP via Getty Images)


“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. I was proud of what we accomplished. Maybe I didn’t want to share it. I take fault in a lot of it. I should’ve shared it more.”

Johnson said his book talks about the sacrifices and struggles that came with winning with the Hurricanes, Cowboys and Miami Dolphins.

“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.”

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, left, hugs head coach Jimmy Johnson, right, as the Cowboys leads the Buffalo Bills late in the fourth quarter of Super Bowl XXVIII on Jan. 30, 1994 at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.
(Focus on Sport/Getty Images)

Doocy asked whether his children forgave him.


“You know, I’ve talked to my sons about it not too awful long ago and they said, ‘daddy, we wouldn’t have changed a thing,” he said. “Obviously, we would’ve loved for you to be at our games but we benefited from the success that you had and we’re benefiting now.’ Like my son Chad who struggled with alcoholism for a long time is super successful.”

“Swagger” was released on Tuesday.