A champion in both college and professional football, Jimmy Johnson can now add to his resume this esteemed title: "Pro Football Hall of Famer."
"The only thing I can think of is all the assistant coaches that worked for me, all the great players that played for me, they're the reason I'm here," Johnson said during a live announcement on the FOX halftime show. "This is so special to me because when you put in the work that we put in, it's nice to know people appreciate it."
Johnson was surprised by David Baker, president of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, who made the announcement in person in the FOX studio. Johnson immediately began tearing up, while his fellow FOX analysts -- all of whom are Hall of Famers -- celebrated around him. In a touching moment, FOX cut to the press box at Lambeau Field where color commentator and Johnson's former QB Troy Aikman was welling up along with his former coach.
"Just think of all the great players that I've coached over the years," Johnson added. "So from me to them, thank you, thank you."
A special Blue-Ribbon Panel comprised of many members of the overall Pro Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee, Hall of Famers, coaches, football executives and several leading historians scrutinized the merits of nearly 300 candidates nominated for consideration as part of the Hall's special Centennial Class of 2020. The group of nominees was reduced to a list of 38 finalists in December that were debated in a meeting and voted on by the Blue-Ribbon Panel on Wednesday to elect the 15-member "Centennial Slate" to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
The full list of enshrinees, which will include 10 seniors, three contributors and the aforementioned two coaches, will be revealed on Jan. 15 during NFL Network's Good Morning Football. Those 15 will join the five modern-era enshrinees, who will announced on Super Bowl Weekend during NFL Honors.
Before entering the professional coaching ranks, Johnson spent 10 seasons as head coach of Oklahoma State and Miami (Fla.), during which he compiled an 81-34-3 record and led the Hurricanes to an undefeated season and national title in 1987.
Johnson won AP Coach of the Year for leading Dallas to a 7-9 mark in 1990. Dallas made the playoffs in 1991 and then secured back-to-back division titles in 1992 and 1993 en route to Super Bowl titles, as well. In Johnson's five seasons in Dallas, the Cowboys went 44-36 in the regular season and 7-1 in the postseason. Five of his Cowboys players are also in the Hall of Fame (Aikman, Irvin, Smith, Larry Allen, Charles Haley).
"And on behalf of the Cowboys, and our fans all over the world, I say congratulations Jimmy. We're proud of you."
Johnson resigned following the 1999 season and has spent the last two decades in television, most notably as an analyst on FOX NFL Sunday.