ProFootball Hall of Fame Class of 2020: Jimmy Johnson

Lisa Johnson
AFC South AFC East Reporter

By Lisa Johnson // @LJ1303

What more could one write that hasn’t already been written about Coach Jimmy Johnson?

Besides building arguably one of the greatest football teams in the history of the NFL, with the players like Hall of Fame quarterback Troy Aikman and all-time NFL rushing leader Emmitt Smith, Coach Johnson led the Cowboys to two Super Bowls, winning back to back titles in 1992-1993.

Those that have known Coach Johnson personally will tell you straight away, that everything Jimmy Johnson does, he does 110%. Failure isn’t an option for this coach. This goes as far back as Johnson’s playing days at the University of Arkansas where he won a National Championship with the team in 1964.

Staying with the college theme, Coach Johnson started his coaching career for the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs. Becoming an assistant coach in 1965, Johnson would then climb the ranks through several college programs.

Johnson’s big break came in 1979. He was hired to become the head football coach of the University of Oklahoma. After five seasons with the Sooners, Johnson was hired by the University of Miami, which many believing is where the magic began.

If you want to be noticed by the NFL, no better way than to follow in footprints of a coach named Howard Shellenberger, who brought this Miami program to National attention. While at the University of Miami, Coach Johnson compiled a 52–9 record while winning a National Championship in 1987. Johnson not only delivered the town of Miami a National Championship, but he also created a name for himself and as expected, had the NFL in his sights.

In 1989 Coach Johnson was asked by former teammate and new owner of the Dallas Cowboys Jerry Jones to coach his Cowboys. It didn’t take Coach Johnson long to work his magic. Taking the Cowboys from a 1-15 team his first year, to a decade of dominating football.

Following his second Super Bowl win with the Cowboys, it was reported that Jones and Johnson had a falling out, apparently over some words that Jones had said. Jones and Johnson would mutually agree that a split was needed, controversially ending Jimmy Johnson’s coaching career in Dallas.

Following his exit from the Cowboys, Johnson would then move on to Fox Sports, where he stayed for two years…until the Miami Dolphins came calling. Johnson said at the time he was considering returning to the NFL sidelines and had an offer on the table from the Philadelphia Eagles. But South Florida is where he calls home.

So in 1996, he replaced legendary Dolphins Head Coach Don Shula. He would end up coaching the Miami Dolphins for four years. While with the Dolphins he had a 36-28 record and a winning percentage of .563.  Shortly after the 1999 season, Johnson resigned as head coach of the Miami Dolphins.

Shortly after resigning, Johnson went back to Fox Sports and returned as a studio analyst, where you can find him to this day.

On January 12, 2020, it was announced that he would be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Johnson and fellow coach-turned-analyst Bill Cowher are the only two coaches to be inducted for what is called the “Centennial Class”, commemorating the NFL’s 100th anniversary.

Congratulations Coach Jimmy Johnson.

Follow Lisa on Twitter // @LJ1303

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