Per usual, there's controversy surrounding Jerry Jones. On Wednesday, Jones announced that DeMarcus Ware would be the 20th former player inducted into the team's Ring of Honor this season. While Ware's induction was the fun part, the press conference also included Jones responding to questions regarding his ongoing decision to exclude Jimmy Johnson from the Ring of Honor.
Jones stated that he wanted to induct a player this year, and that's why Johnson is not getting his proper due this year three decades after leading Jones' Cowboys to back-to-back titles. Two years ago, upon Johnson's induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the Cowboys' owner said Johnson would be inducted into the team's Ring of Honor. Johnson famously responded with the question, "While I'm alive?"
At the time, Jones said he wanted to wait on inducting Johnson because he didn't want to take away from the hoopla of Johnson's Hall of Fame induction. The irony is that that's exactly what he's doing now with Ware, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame earlier this month.
Jones smiled when asked if he plans to give Johnson the chance to enjoy the honor while he's still able to get his flowers.
"He's the youngest 80-year-old you'll ever meet," Jones said, via Sports Illustrated. "I'm right behind him. This thing doesn't run on an age meter."
Jones and Johnson have a complicated relationship. They met as college teammates on an Arkansas team that won a national championship. They stayed in relative contact over the years, with Johnson moving up the coaching ranks and Jones developing an oil and gas exploration business that eventually put him in position to purchase the Cowboys in 1989.
Jones hired Johnson to be his first coach and, with Jones handling the business matters and Johnson focusing on football, the duo made sports history. The Cowboys enjoyed the quickest turnaround in NFL history; they won Super Bowl XXVII three years after winning just one game.
Things started to unravel shortly after that, however. Egos got in the way, and Johnson left the Cowboys shortly after leading them to a successful defense of their Super Bowl title in January of 1994. Dallas won a third Super Bowl two years later with a roster that was largely built by Johnson and his staff. The Cowboys have had success since then but haven't won another Super Bowl and have yet to return to a conference title game.
The relationship appears to have gotten better in recent years. Jones praised Johnson's contributions to the Cowboys during his 2017 Hall of Fame induction speech. Johnson returned the favor during his 2021 Hall of Fame induction speech.
While the relationship may have improved, the fact remains that Johnson is still not in the Cowboys' Ring of Honor.
"He's told me half a dozen times that he was going to put me in," Johnson told "The Dan LeBatard Show with Stugotz" in 2022. "You never can tell, that's his decision. The only thing is, if he does it, everyone will stop talking about it."
Johnson would certainly like the honor, but he's not terribly worried about it.
"I think I'm in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Is that the ultimate?" he said. "I'm happy where I am. I don't have any deep feelings, like, 'Oh, I've got to do this, I've got to do that.'"
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Unfortunately, Johnson's snub took some of the shine off of Ware's upcoming induction into the Cowboys' Ring of Honor. The franchise's all-time career sack leader, Ware is the first former Cowboys player since Darren Woodson in 2015 to receive the honor. Ware, Seahawks on Nov. 30., is expected to receive the honor during the team's home game against the
"You guys understand how seriously I take this Ring of Honor," Jones said, via the team's website. "It's not cavalier thing for me, at all. I recognize the fact it's a committee of one that makes this happen. As a player, for him to have distinguished himself, I'd like to think when you go into the Ring of Honor, that's not where it stops for the Dallas Cowboys organization. It goes forward for there. He's absolutely what I had in mind when I talk about the Ring of Honor."
"They are both going in," Jones said, via the Star-Telegram. "Write that."