(Photo courtesy of Dallas Cowboys)
Talk of Fame Network
Winning one Super Bowl is tough. But former Dallas coach Jimmy Johnson says winning two straight is the bigger challenge — and not because of the hazards outside your building … but because of the hazards within.
Speaking on this week’s Talk of Fame Network’s weekly radio program, Johnson said he passed that message on to New England’s Bill Belichick after he won Super Bowl XXXVI. Belichick didn’t win a second straight league championship in 2002, but he did two years later when he defeated Philadelphia in Super Bowl XXXIX — New England’s third Lombardi Trophy in four years.
“Bill Belichick and I are close friends,” Johnson said, “and we talk about everything under the sun. Soon after his first Super Bowl, I said, ‘Bill, the one thing you’re going to find out is that once you have success everybody in the organization wants more. The secretaries want a raise; the scouts want a raise; the players want more money (and) they want more credit.’
“Victory has a thousand fathers, but defeat is an orphan. And I said, ‘You’re going to have to deal with that.’ I told Bill, ‘You’ve got be the bad guy and that’s stressful. You have to continually push, push, push and demand.’ As far was winning (a Super Bowl), it was difficult winning it the first time. As far as me personally, it was more difficult the second time because I had to be the bad guy.”
Johnson and current Cowboys’ tight end Jason Witten are this week’s guests, appearing as part of the Talk of Fame Network’s Dynasty series — with the focus on the Cowboys of the 1990s. Witten, one of the league’s top tight ends, is trying to get Dallas back to the league championship game for the first time since the 1995 season — and he’s doing a good job of it, with 39 catches and three TDs.
Acclaimed by quarterback Tony Romo as someone who “might be the best Dallas Cowboy of all time,” Witten acknowledged he wouldn’t be the player he is today without the help of a former coach — and he wasn’t talking Jimmy Johnson. He was talking Hall-of-Famer Bill Parcells, with Witten one of only two players on this year’s roster left from the Parcells’ era.
“Coach Parcells had a huge impact on my career,” he said. “I’m so thankful I got to play for him early in my career. As a young player, he taught me the game, taught me to respect the game, taught me to look at it with tunnel vision and to really evaluate yourself week in and week out; day in an day out. He believed in you, but, at the same time, he never allowed you to settle.
“He had a huge influence on my career and still does to this day. I hope to make him proud. I know I wouldn’t be in the in the situation I have been over the course of my career without the impact and the lessons he taught me.”
Johnson and Witten are part of a program that includes Ron Borges making a Hall-of-Fame case for former Seattle safety Kenny Easley, Rick Gosselin telling us why London doesn’t appeal to him as a football venue and Rick, Ron and Clark Judge evaluating the chances of Witten, Antonio Gates and other top NFL tight ends winding up in Canton.
All this, plus callers and a frenetic two-minute drill on this week’s Talk of Fame Network radio show.