Jerry Jones relents, announces Jimmy Johnson will be inducted into Cowboys Ring of Honor

Johnson: “While I’m still alive?”

Owner Jerry Jones of the Dallas Cowboys (L) hugs head coach Jimmy Johnson (R) as the Cowboys leads the Buffalo Bills late in the fourth quarter of Super Bowl XXVIII on January 30, 1994 at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Georgia. The Cowboys won the Super Bowl 30 -13. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)
Owner Jerry Jones of the Dallas Cowboys (L) hugs head coach Jimmy Johnson (R) as the Cowboys leads the Buffalo Bills late in the fourth quarter of Super Bowl XXVIII on January 30, 1994 at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Georgia. The Cowboys won the Super Bowl 30 -13. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images) (1994 Focus on Sport)

CANTON, Ohio – Decades after their messy divorce at the top of the Cowboys hierarchy, owner Jerry Jones appears to have officially buried the hatchet with former head coach Jimmy Johnson.

During FOX NFL’s pregame show prior to the annual Hall of Fame Game between Dallas and Pittsburgh, Jones revealed that Johnson will be inducted into the Cowboys’ Ring of Honor at AT&T Stadium. The announcement came on the same weekend that Johnson is set to be immortalized in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. Johnson enters as a member of the Class of 2020, but the ceremony was postponed until August 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic. Jones was inducted into the Hall of Fame as a member of the class of 2017.

“Tex Schramm, who started that Ring of Honor, said ‘Jerry, keep it kind of limited for people, but make sure it wasn’t just about the plays they made. Make sure they contributed to the story of the franchise.’ It’s kind of hard to not recognize [Jimmy’s] contributions to the Cowboys,” Jones said. “He will be in the Ring of Honor.”

Sitting right next to Jones, Johnson retorted, “While I’m alive?”

Flanked by Hall of Famers Troy Aikman (Class of 2006), Michael Strahan (’14), Howie Long (’00), and Terry Bradshaw (’89) at the desk, Johnson is finally being recognized by the Cowboys owner for his contributions to the franchise. Being a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame is undoubtedly a more impressive and exclusive honor than being inducted into the Cowboys’ vaunted Ring of Honor, but Jones’ personal announcement to Johnson might mean more to fans who have dealt with the strained, icy relationship between the two men over the last 25 years.

When inducted, Johnson would be the 23rd member of the Cowboys Ring of Honor, a list that already includes Aikman and contemporaries Michael Irvin and Emmitt Smith. Johnson would join Tom Landry as the second head coach to receive that honor.

Johnson took over head coaching duties in 1989 and promptly built a dynasty, with the benefit of some timely trades and a slew of great draft picks. He led Dallas to back-to-back Super Bowl victories in 1993 and 1994, but left the organization after a rift formed between himself and Jones. The Cowboys would win one more Super Bowl in 1996 largely thanks to the roster that Johnson had coached and constructed. They have not returned to the Super Bowl since.

Recently, Jones has admitted that he was responsible for messing up their relationship at the Cowboys’ training camp in Oxnard, California. Now, with Johnson’s legacy cemented in the Hall of Fame and Jones’ announcement, the two figures most responsible for bringing Dallas back to prominence in the ‘90s appear to be on good terms.

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Andrew has covered athletics of all levels for more than five years and is dedicated to shining a spotlight on local San Antonio athletes and their stories.