Jimmy Johnson approach in Dallas applied with Miami football

Aug 5, 2017; Canton, OH, USA; Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 5, 2017; Canton, OH, USA; Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /

Legendary Miami football head coach Jimmy Johnson spoke to reporters recently ahead of his August 7 induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Johnson becomes the latest inductee with ties to Miami. Nine former Hurricanes players have been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Johnson took the Miami football to another level after Howard Schnellenberger led the Hurricanes to the 1983 National Championship. Schnellenberger set the foundation for Miami to be successful. Johnson helped create the Hurricanes swagger during his five seasons. Miami won the 1987 National Championship under Johnson.

Johnson was hired in 1989 by his former Arkansas teammate Jerry Jones to coach the Dallas Cowboys. Dallas won Superbowls XXVII and XXVIII following the 1992 and 1993 seasons as Johnson became the first head coach to win a collegiate National Championship and Superbowl.

Johnson brought the brashness and confidence, some might say arrogance he helped cultivate at Miami to Dallas. The approach Johnson took as a head coach was different than many of his peers. Johnson encouraged players’ individuality, showing emotion and expected confidence. Johnson spoke about his approach this week.

"“Our approach was completely different [than other coaches]…Our approach was, ‘Hey guys, we’re gonna kick their a$$ because we’re better than they are.’..I put the pressure on the players and I put the expectation on them. ‘This is what I expect from you.’ And so, there was never any doubt in my mind that we were going to win, and I wanted them to think the same thing.”"

The comments were made in relation to how Johnson coached the Cowboys. His philosophy applies to the approach Johnson took in his five seasons coaching the Miami football team. After finishing 8-5 during his inaugural season in 1984, the Hurricanes finished 44-4 during Johnson’s last four seasons with Miami.

The Hurricanes finally won a National Championship following the 1987 season. Miami defeated Oklahoma 20-14 in the 1988 Orange Bowl for Johnson’s only college title. The win culminated three years of dominance over the Sooners. Oklahoma went 33-3 from 1985-1987 with all three losses to Miami.

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All three of Miami’s matchups against Oklahoma in those years were Johnson against Sooners head coach Barry Switzer. Johnson played at Arkansas when Johnson was an assistant coach there and both were assistants at Oklahoma before Switzer was hired as the Sooners head coach. Johnson coached at Oklahoma State before Miami.