Cowboys’ Jerry Jones will not induct Jimmy Johnson into team’s Ring of Honor in 2020: ‘It’s not on my mind’

Jimmy Johnson is finally a Hall of Famer. The legendary former head coach of the Dallas Cowboys has waited a long time to land a bust in Canton, Ohio, and his dream will finally come true when he’s inducted into immortality in August. The Pro Football Hall of Fame announced Johnson’s induction on live television, and the 76-year-old couldn’t hold back the tears. And with that, many began to wonder just when owner Jerry Jones would finally see fit to put Johnson in the team’s coveted Ring of Honor.

After all, Johnson is at least half of the brainchild that spawned a Cowboys dynasty in the 1990s — joining with Jones to help push the team to three of their five Super Bowl victories. The mutual parting of ways thereafter was as publicized as it was toxic, however, and it’s only now — decades later — that the two have come to some sort of semblance of civility. Johnson congratulated Jones on his Hall of Fame induction in 2017, and Jones subsequently thanked/praised Johnson in his induction speech. 

But while reconciliation feels more probable than ever, Johnson remains absent from the Ring of Honor, and that will last at least one more year. Speaking from the 2020 NFL combine in Indianapolis, Jones explained why.

“Right now, it’s not on my mind at all — it is not,” he said. “Regarding Jimmy, we have such a big year ahead of us with Jimmy, and his celebration. I want that to be the focus, period.”

There are many who aren’t buying that reasoning, considering Jones could’ve inducted Johnson into the Ring of Honor any year before now, which would’ve prevented any possible thunder-stealing as it relates to his gold jacket ceremony. Well, Jones has an answer for that as well, and it involves another legendary Cowboys head coach he once had a rift with: 

Tom Landry.

“If everybody says ‘Is that the right order of things?,’ well, coach Landry was in the Hall of Fame before the Ring of Honor,” Jones pointed out. “Here we’ve got the two greatest coaches in the history of the Cowboys. So they can go in the same order.”

To be fair though, although it took a while for Jones to warm up to the idea of immortalizing Landry — to the point there’s now a statue of him outside of AT&T Stadium — it’s not an apples-to-apples comparison. The rift between the two stemmed from Jones purchasing the team in 1989 and firing the longest-tenured coach in Cowboys history to bring in Johnson, and Jones being the one to drop the hammer on Landry wasn’t the original plan. Landry was also on coming off of his third consecutive losing season, while Johnson had just won a Super Bowl when they parted.

Parting ways with Landry was one-sided and unpleasant. Parting ways with Johnson was mutual and devastating.

Nonetheless, a door once welded shut for Johnson now opened, but it’s to-be-determined when or if Jones will actually ever allow him to walk through it. The two made beautiful music together in Dallas, and the club hasn’t sniffed a Super Bowl appearance since the record stopped spinning in the mid-1990s — with many also attributing the championship Barry Switzer earned in 1996 as nothing more than him keeping Johnson’s Ferrari away from the guard rail. 

Johnson will always be a deity to Cowboys fans, even if he never makes it into the Ring of Honor, but Jones’ legacy will continue to be tainted until he makes it happen and provides all involved a sense of closure.

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