Time is running out on Jerry Jones to do the right thing.
He needs to add Drew Pearson to the Ring of Honor ... then swallow real hard and add Jimmy Johnson.
The Cowboys will move to Arlington for the 2009 season, which gives Jones roughly 12 months to complete any unfinished business.
And while it may not be one giant leap for mankind, Jones can honor two important chapters in team history while the team is still playing its games where these memories were made: Texas Stadium.
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In other words, the Ring of Honor doesn’t need to have a hole in it just because the roof does.
So before you pack up the Ring and move it to Arlington, Jerry, designate one Sunday in 2008 to annoint Pearson and Johnson. Order a dual induction ceremony at halftime of the game of your choice.
You’ll be amazed at just how good it’ll make you feel.
Pearson’s omission from the Ring of Honor is wrong. Perhaps the only worse snub was Tex Schramm, who invented the thing. Yet, Tex wasn’t let in until three months before his death in 2003.
Schramm wanted the Ring of Honor to be exclusive, not exclusionary.
He told us in April 2003: “I never gave up hope. I usually found that things that should happen, usually do happen.”
Translated: Pearson and Johnson in 2008.
Right now, there are 17 names in the Ring. All are worthy, all are major contributors to both the success and legend of America’s Team.
So, where’s The Original 88?
For Roger Staubach to be in the ROH without Pearson is like Troy Aikman without Michael Irvin ... or Tom Landry without his hat.
Johnson won 84.2 percent of his game at Texas Stadium (16-3) en route to back-to-back Super Bowl titles.
Where’s his name plate in the sky?
And if you’re wondering what such an induction would mean to Cowboys fans, try mass hysteria.
Texas Stadium would erupt if Jerry stood on the big stage at the 50-yard line and gave the Jimster one more hug, then turned and gave Pearson a long overdue handshake.
Besides, it would bring closure to what have been many great moments at Texas Stadium.
Here’s making a case for Pearson and Johnson:
Drew Pearson (1973-83): Mr. Clutch caught 489 passes for 7,822 yards (16.0) and 48 touchdowns in 11 seasons. Not bad for an undrafted free agent who never had a chance to flourish in a passing game until he reached the pros. He was on the other end of Staubach’s desperation pass to beat the Vikings in the 1975 playoffs, which made “Hail Mary” a part of the football vernacular. He wasn’t big (6-foot, 184 pounds); he just played that way. He was one of six Cowboys on the NFL’s All-Decade Team for the ‘70s. Four of those players (Staubach, Rayfield Wright, Bob Lilly and Cliff Harris) are in the Ring of Honor. Three of them (Lilly, Staubach and Wright) are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Only Harvey Martin and Pearson made All-70’s for the league but not Ring of Honor for their own team.
Jimmy Johnson (1989-93): After a 1-15 start, Johnson and Jones made the Herschel Walker trade and quickly turned the Cowboys around. This was a coach on the clock that the players could trust. Actually, Johnson’s worth to the team showed up after the back-to-back Super Bowl wins. The ’94 Cowboys had what many players considered the best team of all that season but, under Barry Switzer, couldn’t get past the 49ers in the NFC championship. Could the mid-‘90s Cowboys have won four Super Bowls in a row, if the Jimster had stayed? No one will know. Johnson was 43-21 after that first year, plus 7-1 in the post-season. In his final two seasons, he was 16-3 at Texas Stadium (and would’ve been better if Leon Lett had let that ball alone on Thanksgiving Day), plus 3-0 at home in the playoffs. Arguments for the Ring of Honor can be made, by fans and media alike, to include such ex-Cowboys luminaries as Ed “Too Tall” Jones, Harvey Martin, Cornell Green, George Andre, John Niland, Charlie Waters, even fan favorite Bill Bates.
But absolutely no argument can be made – not a good one, anyway – to exclude Pearson and Johnson any longer.
Memo to Jerry: As you may or may not know, the Cowboys respond well to ROH induction games – winning 8 of 12 – although three of the last four have ended in defeat. But those seasons were after Aikman and before Tony Romo.
1975: Bob Lilly
1976: Don Meredith and Don Perkins
1977: Chuck Howley
1981: Mel Renfro
1983: Roger Staubach
1989: Lee Roy Jordan
1993: Tom Landry
1994: Tony Dorsett and Randy White
2001: Bob Hayes
2003: Tex Schramm
2004: Cliff Harris and Rayfield Wright
2005: Troy Aikman, Michael Irvin and Emmitt Smith