Jimmy Johnson calls out Jerry Jones on GM claims during Super Bowl runs

Johnson doesn't agree with Jones about who had control of what. (US Presswire)

Five days ago, Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones was asked by NBC's Bob Costas if Jones the owner would fire Jones the GM.

"Well, I think so … because he was there to dismiss," he said. "I've always worked for myself, and you can't do that. You basically have to straighten that guy out in the mirror when you work for yourself. But, certainly, if I'd had the discretion, I've done it with coaches and certainly I would have changed a general manager."

Jones later clarified his remarks, pointing out that while, yes, hypothetically, general managin' Jones would've gotten canned, it won't ever happen in real life. And he explained why in some detail.

“When I bought the team, the night I bought it, I said I would be doing what I’m doing and that’s GM the team and making the final decisions on personnel,” Jones said late Sunday night according to the Dallas Morning News' Barry Horn. “That’s the way it’s always been done. We’ve won three Super Bowls doing it that way, so I’m going to do it again.”

One problem: Jimmy Johnson, who coached the Cowboys' from 1989-1993 and twice led the team to Super Bowl wins, disagrees.

“The time I was with the team, I had complete and total responsibility over the football operation,” he told Horn earlier this week. “That meant personnel, the draft, coaches, including the strength coach. Everything. It was always in my contract. …

“When we signed that first contract, Jerry said, ‘I’ll be in charge of the finances, you’ll be in charge of the football,’ we’ll make history,” Johnson added.

On Wednesday, Jones responded in a statement.

“I came into the NFL as the owner and general manager of this team, and one of the first decisions I made in the role of GM was to hire Jimmy as head coach,” he said. “Jimmy and I worked well together. We had great communication, and I have always appreciated what he has done for the organization. I wanted all the input in the world from Jimmy on personnel.

“During Jimmy’s tenure, the authority to hire the players was with the GM," Jones continued. "But it was agreed that we wouldn’t bring a player into the organization that he didn’t approve of. We were a team and it worked very well. In our unique circumstances, where the owner and the GM were the same person, in the case of a disagreement -- which we never had -- the owner had the ultimate authority.”

Johnson told Horn that when he negotiated subsequent contracts, Jones was “always very adamant” that clauses outlining Johnson's control be taken out.

“It was always a sticking point with Jerry,” Johnson said. “I would never agree.”

So that's cleared up. Back in the present, the Cowboys are still 3-5, somehow coach Jason Garrett's job appears to be safe, and Jones will never ever relinquish his general manager's title. No way this ends up badly.

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CBS Sports Writer

Ryan Wilson has been an NFL writer for CBS Sports since June 2011, and he's covered five Super Bowls in that time. Ryan previously worked at AOL's FanHouse from start to finish, and Football Outsiders... Full Bio

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