CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Timing is everything, and the Dallas Cowboys believe there is/was no better time to immortalize Jimmy Johnson than in 2023. Speaking just ahead of his team's matchup with the Carolina Panthers, owner and general manager Jerry Jones announced Johnson will be inducted into the organization’s Ring of Honor.
The ceremony is scheduled to take place at halftime on Dec. 30, when the Cowboys host the Detroit Lions in Week 16, just two months after DeMarcus Ware watched his name etched in permanence.
For his part, Johnson couldn't stop smiling whilst describing what the honor means to him.
"Well, let me just say how appreciative I am of Jerry, and of this. I'm appreciative of the Ring of Honor, but more appreciative of him bringing me to the Cowboys in 1989," he said as he stood next to an equally-joyful Jones.
There's a lot to be said of the relationship formed in the late 1980s, one that took the two NFL legends to the peak of the sport via three Super Bowl victories before a very public split in the mid-1990s.
Johnson readily dispelled a lot of the rumors surrounding his view on Jones, though.
"The two of us were working around the clock, together," he said. "People don't realize the relationship [we have]. Back then, Jerry and I talked every day. Every single day I'd be in his office. And we never really had a disagreement, and that's surprising to a lot of people, but we were always on the same page.
"And probably some of the tension happened there at the end of my career, as far as with the Cowboys, we were so busy going in different directions that we didn't talk as much. My feelings for Jerry have never changed. I love the guy.
"He's a big part, maybe the biggest part, of my entire career."
Jones mirrored the sentiment on several occasions during the announcement, and went on to explain why the induction hasn't occurred prior to now.
"I really thought it was time and I'm willing to do it this year," said the Hall of Fame owner of his Hall of Fame former coach. "As you know, we don't have a set timeframe of when to do the Ring of Honor [inductions]. Frankly, it just felt right.
"… When you're in, you're in and [Jimmy] has always been in."
In one of the most tongue-in-cheek moments you'll see between the two — evidence to the foundation of their long standing relationship — Johnson offered up his own view of he won't have to wait any longer for immortality at AT&T Stadium.
"I think one reason for [it being] this year is I'm alive," he said amongst laughter from Jones and the entire room. " Because he's always told me I was going in."
And, now, he will.