Former Dallas Cowboys coach Jimmy Johnson, who guided the NFL club to a pair of Super Bowl victories, was named Sunday into the American Football Hall of Fame Centennial Class.
Johnson was told of his upcoming enshrinement Sunday while working as a television commentator the same way former Pittsburgh coach Bill Cowher learned of the same honor a day earlier.
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Cowher and Johnson were the only coaches selected to the special group of inductees being made in tribute to the NFL’s nearly completed 100th season.
The remainder of the 15-person group will be revealed Wednesday while the usual five inductees for 2020 will be announced next month at the Super Bowl.
“The only thing I can think of is all the assistant coaches that worked for me, all the great players that played for me, they’re the reason I’m here,” Johnson said.
“This is so special to me because when you put in the work that we put in, it’s nice to know people appreciate it.”
Johnson spent a decade as a college coach, guiding the University of Miami to an undefeated national championship season in 1987.
In 1989, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones hired Johnson to replace legend Tom Landry and become only the second coach in club history.
Dallas went 1-15 in Johnson’s first season but asembled a core of talent that included receiver Michael Irvin, quarterback Troy Aikman and rusher Emmitt Smith — future Hall of Famers who would spark Cowboys’ Super Bowl wins in 1993 and 1994.
The Cowboys went 44-36 in five seasons under Johnson and 7-1 in the playoffs. Johnson departed Dallas in 1994 but took over as coach of the Miami Dolphins in 1996, replacing iconic coach Don Shula and going 36-28 in four seasons before retiring and becoming a TV analyst.