South Lewis falls in eight-man semifinal

Football

Former two-time Super Bowl champion Dallas Cowboys coach Jimmy Johnson has finally been elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a member of the Centennial Slate for the Class of 2020.

Johnson, now an NFL analyst with FOX, was surprised by Pro Football Hall of Fame President David Baker Sunday in studio live on FOX’s NFL halftime show during the network’s broadcast of the Seattle Seahawks divisional matchup against the Green Bay Packers.

“The only thing I can think of is all the assistant coaches who worked for me, all the great players who played for me are the reason,” said a teary-eyed Johnson, 76. “I can’t talk.

“This is so special to me because when you put in the work that we put in, it is nice for those people to appreciate it.”

He grew emotional and so did former Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman, who won two titles with Johnson and was broadcasting the game during the announcement.

Johnson was one of eight coaching finalists to make the short list and one of only two to be selected for enshrinement. Former Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Bill Cowher was notified in a similar fashion Saturday on the set of “THE NFL TODAY” pregame show on CBS.

A special Blue-Ribbon Panel met at the Hall of Fame in Canton this past Wednesday to elect the Centennial Slate. This is the first time any members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame were elected during a selection meeting held at the Hall in Canton.

The Centennial Slate includes 10 Seniors (players who last played more than 25 seasons ago), three Contributors (an individual other than a player or coach), and two Coaches (who last coached more than five seasons ago) and were voted on from a list of 38 Finalists.

The remainder of the 15-person Centennial Slate for the Class of 2020 will be revealed Wednesday morning and there is a good chance former Cowboys receiver Drew Pearson or former safety Cliff Harris will Johnson as newly-enshrined Hall of Famers.

Johnson served as the head coach for the Dallas Cowboys for five seasons (1989-1993) and the Miami Dolphins for four seasons (1996-99) and posted an 89-68-0 overall record.

Johnson led the Dolphins to three postseason appearances.

But this enshrinement was about what he did with the Cowboys turning a proud franchise that had lost its way in the 1980s into champions again after being hired from the Miami Hurricanes when owner Jerry Jones bought the team in 1989.

Tribune Wire

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