General Manager Jerry Jones has, in his 20 years in the position with the Cowboys, made some significantly poor decisions. In a series we’re calling Jerry’s Injuries & Usurpations we’ll be providing specific examples of bad personnel management dating back to his ascension to the role of General Manager in 1989. This list hardly exhausts the mistakes made by GM Jerry over the years and merely provides the lowlights – decisions so questionable or wrong that even the biggest Jerry apologists can’t argue against them. Without further ado…
#1. February 1994 – Jerry so infuriates Jimmy Johnson that Johnson resigns as head coach of the Cowboys following consecutive Super Bowl championships
Perhaps the seminal moment in recent Cowboys history, Jerry’s decision to part ways with Jimmy Johnson has sent the Cowboys down a path of destruction from which they have yet to recover. A solid coach and a proven winner at every level, Jimmy Johnson was the perfect fit for the Dallas Cowboys when hired in 1989. His no-nonsense, take-no-prisoners coaching style guided the ‘Boys from NFL doormats to the pinnacle in a mere 4 year span, culminating in the Cowboys Super Bowl wins in 1992 and 1993 – their first titles since 1977.
But perhaps more importantly, Jimmy Johnson was not only a great motivator. His eye for talent was second to none. In his 5 years in the draft room the Cowboys drafted an astonishing 9 Pro Bowl players, including Hall-of-Famer Troy Aikman, NFL all-time leading rusher Emmitt Smith, Darryl Johnston, Mark Stepnoski, and Darren Woodson. By comparison, in the 15 drafts since Jimmy’s last with the team Jerry Jones and the Cowboys have drafted a mere 11 Pro Bowlers, with Larry Allen being the only consensus “great” player among that group.
In Jerry’s defense, Jimmy Johnson was no saint to work with. His huge ego often ruled the day, and his moodiness and penchant for publicly mocking Jerry was legendary. Jerry’s own ego proved even larger, however, and his claim that “any one of 500 coaches” could have done Jimmy’s job proved his ego beyond a doubt. No general manager worth his salt in the NFL would let a coach go with the success Jimmy Johnson had in his years with the Cowboys, and Jerry’s doing so only further illustrates that General Manager Jerry must go.