Jimmy Johnson: “I had complete and total responsibility” over Cowboys

Recently Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said that he would continue to operate as the general manager of the team. Jones went on to say  that he had been the team’s general manager since he bought it.

“When I bought the team, the night I bought it, I said I would be doing what I’m doing and that’s GM the team and making the final decisions on personnel,” Jones said late Sunday night. “That’s the way it’s always been done. We’ve won three Super Bowls doing it that way, so I’m going to do it again.”

At least one person disagrees with Jones’ view of the Cowboys early success under him. Jimmy Johnson was the head coach for two of the Cowboys Super Bowl victories and said that the responsibility of the Cowboys operation fell on him.

“The time I was with the team, I had complete and total responsibility over the football operation,” Johnson said in a telephone interview with the Dallas Morning News. “That meant personnel, the draft, coaches, including the strength coach. Everything.”

Jones has trumpeted himself as the “final decision-maker” saying that there was no way he would be involved with the Cowboys and not act in that capacity.

Despite the words of Jones, most credit the Cowboys success in the early-mid 90’s to the eye for talent possessed by Johnson. The Cowboys defeated Buffalo in back-to-back Super Bowl’s under Johnson before him and Jones split up. The Cowboys would win a third Super Bowl against Pittsburgh under Barry Switzer.

“When we signed that first contract Jerry said, ‘I’ll be in charge of the finances, you’ll be in charge of the football,’ we’ll make history,” Johnson said.

Jones responded in a statement Wednesday night.

“I came into the NFL as the owner and general manager of this team, and one of the first decisions I made in the role of GM was to hire Jimmy as head coach,” Jones said.

“Jimmy and I worked well together. We had great communication, and I have always appreciated what he has done for the organization. I wanted all the input in the world from Jimmy on personnel.

“During Jimmy’s tenure, the authority to hire the players was with the GM. But it was agreed that we wouldn’t bring a player into the organization that he didn’t approve of. We were a team and it worked very well. In our unique circumstances, where the owner and the GM were the same person, in the case of a disagreement — which we never had — the owner had the ultimate authority.”

Both Jones and Johnson arrived in Dallas in 1989. Since 1996 the Cowboys have won two playoff games.