Jimmy Johnson and I were in Houston last week for the Bear Bryant Awards. Gary Patterson was named coach of the year at an event that I emceed, and Jimmy got the lifetime achievement award. It was great to see him again and talk about the glory days.
Once he had the infamous falling out with Jerry, Jimmy left his home state of Texas and never looked back. But did you know that Jimmy spends a little time in Texas every week? You knew he spent time in LA at the Fox Studios and he famously spends most of his days in the Florida Keys on or near his boat Three Rings. But you may not have known that once a week during the football season, Jimmy has been in Texas. Before last season Jimmy purchased an airplane and now he spends his Fridays flying from Florida to Texas where he picks up Terry Bradshaw and they continue to LA for the Sunday studio show. I wonder if there is any Heineken on the plane?
Jimmy was a gracious recipient of the Bryant Lifetime Achievement Award. The video tribute that helped introduce him started with the most famous phrase he ever uttered, “How bout them Cowboys!?” It was the crowning moment in an unbelievable career. Was it a NFL Hall of Fame career? So far the Hall has said no. But this year there is a chance. Jimmy is one of eighteen finalists who will be considered for enshrinement when the Hall of Fame committee meets Super Bowl weekend in Phoenix.
Rick “Goose” Gosselin will plead Jimmy’s case to the Hall of Fame committee. Jimmy tried to put into words what this would mean to him, “When it’s this big a part of your life, to be recognized by people in the business as being a Hall-of-Famer, that would be something not only special but extremely rewarding.” Johnson even used the “H” word with Goose when discussing making it this far in the selection process. “I’ve never been much of a humble person,” Johnson, said. “But, yeah, this is humbling. I guess it’s the right thing to say that I’m humbled.”
Jimmy is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame, but so are 200 other coaches. This one would be special because he would be just the 23rd coach enshrined in Canton. The good news for Jimmy is that over 80% of those who make the finals, eventually make it to the Hall. The better news is that if he doesn’t make it, he can just jump on his personal plane, fly to his private paradise and live out the rest of his days with a cold beer in one hand and a fishing rod in the other. Still I would love to see him stand on that stage in Canton this summer, take a long look at the crowd and shout “How bout that career!?”