Jimmy Johnson Dallas Cowboys & Miami Dolphins

“The realizations that there’s a very thin line between the top and the bottom of this league. The good part is that you don’t have far to go. The bad part is that every week a team can beat you.”

Jimmy Johnson arrived in the National Football League after a successful coaching career in the college ranks that included a national championship with the University of Miami. He was hired by the struggling Dallas Cowboys in 1989 to revive the once-proud franchise. He served five seasons with the Cowboys and guided the team to two Super Bowl championships. Johnson also coached the Miami Dolphins for four seasons and led the club to the playoffs in all but his first year on the job.

Johnson took charge of the Cowboys and improved the team from 1-15 in his first season, to 7-9 in 1990 and a return to the playoffs with an 11-5 record in 1991.  

The Cowboys reached the pinnacle of the NFL in 1992 and 1993 with similar paths to back-to-back Super Bowl titles. Both seasons, Dallas claimed NFC Eastern Division titles, defeated the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship game and defeated the Buffalo Bills in the Super Bowl.

In 1992, the Cowboys finished 13-3, the most wins in team history, to win the NFC Eastern Division. Dallas knocked off the Eagles in the divisonal playoff, followed by a win over the 49ers in the conference championship and claimed the Super Bowl title with a 52-17 drubbing of the Bills. The following season, the Cowboys entered the playoffs as the NFC’s top seed at 12-4, downed the Green Bay Packers and 49ers en route to a rematch in Super Bowl XXVIII where they once again downed the Bills, this time by a score of 30-13. Johnson then departed the Cowboys after he had compiled an overall record of 51-37 that included a impeccable 7-1 mark in the postseason. 

He returned to the NFL sidelines as the Dolphins coach in 1996. After Miami finished 8-8 in Johnson’s first year, the club registered three straight winning seasons and Wild Card berths. The Dolphins finest season under Johnson came in 1998 when Miami’s stingy defense led the league in fewest points allowed and finished 10-6.

In all, Johnson’s record as an NFL head coach was 80-64-0 in the regular season and 9-4 in the playoffs for an overall mark of 89-68-0.