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Jimmy Hall-of-Fame Speech Thanks Cowboys' Jerry Jones

"We did it, and let me tell you from the bottom of my heart, thank you, Jerry,'' Johnson said as part of his Saturday induction speech in Canton.

How ’bout them Cowboys? - and how 'bout Jimmy Johnson making sure to credit Jerry Jones for helping the legendary coach forge his path to the Pro Football Hall of Fame?

To go from the worst team in the league two years in a row to winning back-to-back Super Bowls and building a heck of a football team, we did it, and let me tell you from the bottom of my heart, thank you, Jerry,'' Johnson said as part of his Saturday induction speech in Canton.

"Thank you for giving me that opportunity.”

Johnson replaced Tom Landry in 1989 and with Jones served as the co-architect as one of sports' greatest turnarounds. The Cowboys won two consecutive Super Bowls under his guidance, and won a third with the same core roster even after the Jones-Johnson breakup in 1994.

Jones and Johnson have for a quarter of a century fueled their dispute, creating animosity - and national news - involving the two long-time friends. The ice, though, is thawing. Jones recently said he "f'ed up'' in not finding a way to keep Johnson coaching in Dallas, and Johnson followed up by saying he shared in the blame.

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Johnson's mentions of appreciation started with Cowboys Hall-of-Fame quarterback Troy Aikman, who served as his presenter - and who, behind the scenes, has worked to mend the relationship, which will now be highlighted by Johnson's induction into the team's Ring of Honor. But the old coach saved his warmest notes for Cowboys owner Jones.

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“I guess you want to know what I’m going to say about Jerry Jones,” Johnson said. “Well, Jerry, you told me we were going to make sports history before we ever bought the Cowboys — before you bought the Cowboys because I didn’t pay a damn cent. You know what? We - we - we did make sports history, not only for the Dallas Cowboys but for the NFL.''

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