Jerry Jones makes surprise announcement: Jimmy Johnson to Cowboys Ring of Honor

CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA - NOVEMBER 19: Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones speaks with Jimmy Johnson before the game against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium on November 19, 2023 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Eakin Howard/Getty Images)

Thirty years after Jimmy Johnson coached the Dallas Cowboys to consecutive Super Bowl titles, the former head coach will at last be inducted into the the team’s Ring of Honor.

Cowboys team owner and general manager Jerry Jones announced the news during a surprise news conference on Fox’s NFL pregame show before the Cowboys kicked off Sunday afternoon at the Carolina Panthers, a game Dallas cruised to a 33-10 victory.

Jones praised Johnson’s work ethic, inspiration and football acumen before telling him: “On December the 30th of 1923, you’re going into the Dallas Cowboy Ring of Honor.”

Johnson ribbed Jones on his misspeak: “I hope it’s 2023.”

Jones confirmed he meant that.

This recognition is one that Cowboys fans — and, after so much back-and-forth, NFL fans — have long awaited. Jones infamously fired Johnson after his second Cowboys Super Bowl ring to bring in head coach Barry Switzer, who led the Cowboys to another championship two years later.

Jones said Sunday that Bill Walsh once told them they’d gotten “careless with their relationship.”

“We’re talking and we’re friendly now,” Johnson said.

The Lombardi trophies marked Johnson’s peak coaching the Cowboys but don’t fully capture his impact. When Johnson was hired to coach the Cowboys in 1989, the team finished last at 1-15.

Two years later, they had a winning record. And then two Super Bowls.

Quarterback Troy Aikman, receiver Michael Irvin and running back Emmitt Smith anchored those championship teams. All three were enshrined in the Ring of Honor in 2005.

Johnson, who was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2021, will become the 24th member of the Cowboys’ Ring of Honor and second coach.

Tom Landry, the Cowboys’ head coach from 1960 through 1988, was enshrined in 1993. Landry led the Cowboys to two Super Bowls and seven more conference championship berths in his tenure.

The Cowboys have not returned to the Super Bowl, or even a conference championship, since the 1995 season.