The Jerry-Jimmy feud just won’t die. Not even after the Cowboys owner’s 2021 proclamation on live television that the former coach would, in fact, be immortalized in the home stadium’s Ring of Honor after a 27-year game of will-he-or-won’t-he.
When asked about it in June, Jerry Jones claimed, “I don’t have that timeframe on that,” referring to Jimmy Johnson’s name being placed on the facade encircling the upper deck of AT&T Stadium alongside the franchise’s 22 biggest legends.
On Sunday, Jones appeared to double down- and even got testy- when the subject was broached again by NBCDFW’s Newy Scruggs.
“Jerry, I like you. I respect you,” Scruggs began in an interview in Oxnard on an off-day for the team during training camp. “But I’m going to say this. It seems very petty, what is going on between you and Jimmy, from the standpoint that he’s not in that Ring of Honor.”
The 79-year-old was quick to remind Scruggs- and all of Cowboys Nation- that the decision on if and when to so honor his ex-teammate, longtime friend, and decorated coach is his and his alone.
“It’s BS for anybody to be making anything [of that]Jones said. “I’ve said I’m going to put him in. Now, when I put him in and the circumstances and what I do with that: there’s a lot more than Jimmy to think about here, and I’ve got a lot of other lives out here that have laid a lot on the line on the field that needs to be in that Ring of Honor as well. And so how I do that, what I do it with, I get to make that decision, and it isn’t- at the end of the day- all tailored around whether Jimmy is sniveling or not.”
Oof. There’s a lot to unpack in that one quote.
For one, Johnson isn’t “sniveling.” He’s not even the one bringing it up. It’s Cowboys fans and media who are rightfully trying to hold Jones to his word to make good on a situation that, respectfully, should have been corrected years and years ago.
Jones himself made the promise almost a year ago. No other Ring of Honor inductee has had to wait anywhere close to that long after being told they’d be honored.
Even Johnson jokingly acknowledged that the promise is empty until it happens when he responded to Jones’s announcement last August by asking, “While I’m alive?”
The owner is clearly in no hurry to schedule a Ring of Honor ceremony. He claimed in June, “That’s something that I’ve never really decided upon almost until a week or two before I do it.”
That doesn’t appear to actually have been the case in recent memory, but Jones’s latest comments, particularly the bit about there’s a lot more than Jimmy to think about here, and I’ve got a lot of other lives out here that have laid a lot on the line on the field that needs to be in that Ring of Honor as well suggest that he’s even considering adding names to the docket and planning for a group ceremony.
Given the acrimonious history between Jones and Johnson, it could well be that the owner is unwilling – even after admitting he was too rash in forcing Johnson’s 1994 exit – to create a Ring of Honor moment just for him. Making Johnson share the spotlight with another Cowboys player (or even multiple players) would be one last twist of the knife, delivered simply because Jones owns the spotlight. And the knife.
And he always wants to make sure everyone remembers that.
“I’ll be very sensitive and be very appreciative of what Jimmy is,” Jones continued to Scruggs on Sunday, “but it’s too much to say, ‘Well, that is the thing that gets up and goes to bed at night when we think about the Ring of Honor’ as to Jerry and Jimmy’s relationship,” Jones said.
Right now, though, after what now appears to have been a short-lived reconciliation last summer on the occasion of Johnson’s induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, it seems- once again- that there is no Jerry-and-Jimmy relationship.
Jones officially putting Johnson in the Ring of Honor would be the professional and permanent consummation of that storied relationship, the ultimate honor that Jones could bestow upon Johnson.
For reasons that are known only to Jones, he chooses to keep holding that honor back. And when asked to name those reasons, he always uses different words, but Jones’s answer is always fundamentally the same: Because I can.
That is, by definition, petty.
And, contrary to Jones’s opinion, it’s not BS to say so.
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Story originally appeared on Cowboys Wire