Jimmy Johnson shouldn’t have to speak to lowly bloggers. He is, after all, the only man to coach a team to a Super Bowl victory and an NCAA championship. (Some people claim that Barry Switzer also achieved the feat, but in truth the Super Bowl XXX-winning Cowboys were Johnson’s team operating on auto-pilot). Yes, two Super Bowl rings, a gig as the non-jackass on Fox’s NFL studio show, and a spot as a contestant on this fall’s “Survivor” should place Johnson above meeting with someone who once created a Photoshop of him getting raped by a robot.
Alas, Jimmy Johnson is promoting the Jimmy Bowl, a Crown Royal-sponsored contest in which fans can submit videos in order to win a trip to Dallas and get coached by Johnson in a flag-football game at Cowboys Stadium. (Second place is stabbed in the throat with scissors by Michael Irvin.) So that’s how I — a full-time blogger and wholly inept interviewer — ended up at the Empire State Building last week, quickly scrapping my list of ExtenZe-related boner questions when I realized there would be two women in the room for the duration of the meeting.
The following transcript is edited for length and clarity.
KSK: I read that this is your third time trying out for Survivor.
Jimmy Johnson: I tried about six years ago, and got turned down. I did the video, did all the applications, everything.
KSK: Did you make sure to tell them you were famous?
JJ: No, no — I’m just a regular guy. I think one of the problems, me being live on Fox NFL Sunday at the same time that this show’s running on Thursday nights on CBS, so that was a conflict.
Then I think they realized they should have done it for ratings, so three years ago I went through the same process, sent another video in, made all the applications, so they agreed, and we started through the final process. And I did my physcial out in LA with the Survivor doctors, and I’m going back to the airport, and the doctor called, and he said, “Coach, we’d love to take you, but we can’t. You got one blocked artery, and one 70% blocked. You better go see your cardiologist.”
KSK: [chuckling] [Note: Who the fuck chuckles at that?]
JJ: Sure enough, a week later I had a stent put in. Strict diet, strict workout routine, lost 30 pounds, my cholesterol went down from 220 to under 100. And I got in shape. And so, in some ways, Survivor saved my life.
KSK: And filming is completely wrapped for the new season?
JJ: Yes. Well, except for the final three [contestants]. We’ll have the final show in L.A.
KSK: And there will be a live finale where someone gets a rose?
JJ: A live finale, yeah, to show who actually won.
KSK: It would really help me out with my career if you could just tell me who those final three are.
JJ: [laughs] Think I gotta pass on that one.
KSK: I saw a picture of the Survivor cast, and your hair looked a little tousled.
JJ: One thing I did, I cut my hair as short as I ever had it, so that I could actually deal with the elements. No mirror, no comb, no spray, so I have no idea…
KSK: Was it tough?
JJ: It was hard. It was one of the more difficult things I’ve ever done.
KSK: I was talking about going without hair product.
JJ: Oh no no no. Without the hair products, I didn’t even think about that. I had other things to worry about.
KSK: What’s the better product, ExtenZe or Crown Royal?
JJ: I gotta go with Crown Royal.
KSK: They can have opposite effects, you know.
JJ: I’m sittin’ here with Crown Royal people, so I’m with Crown Royal.
[NOTE: Yes, I pussied out when it came to grilling him about his boner. If it’s any consolation, Shutdown Corner ventured where I could not:
SC: And how did you hook up with the ExtenZe people?
JJ: Well, they came to me, and I said, ‘I have to test your product.’ I liked it, they wanted me to endorse it, and I said, ‘Hey — I’m 67 years old — I need all the help I can get, so I’m ready for it!’
SC: So … without going into too much detail, it really does work?
JJ: Oh, I wouldn’t endorse it if it didn’t work.
So there you go.]
JJ: No, I’ve made fun of some of Terry’s commercials. He’s had some funny ones, and that’s the way Terry does it. He’s a funny guy, and he wants to make ’em funny. We really haven’t kidded Howie much. But we’ve gotten onto Strahan a little about his 15-minute workouts: “Can you really be in that great of shape in 15 minutes?” Michael doesn’t take the kidding as well as Terry does.
KSK: A lot of your Cowboys have gone on to broadcast careers. Who do you think is the best?
JJ: I think Troy has been outstanding. Troy is extremely well-prepared, he really works at it, he’s an outstanding analyst. I think he gives the viewer an insight to the offensive play and the quarterback play, and I think Troy’s one of the best. I think Michael’s very entertaining, but I think Troy’s done a great job on broadcast.
KSK: Now [Aikman’s] going to be on the new season of Dancing with the Stars…
JJ: I don’t think so.
KSK: He’s not?
JJ: I think that was a rumor.
KSK: Oh, that’s a terrible break. Because he would have been awful.
JJ: I think it was a rumor.
KSK: Well, I’ll keep my fingers crossed. I’ve got a friend who demands to know if you get a Christmas card from Barry Switzer thanking you for the Super Bowl that he won.
JJ: I actually got Barry on the Fox show a couple years ago. We did a couple a segments together, and I love Barry’s comment. He said, “Listen, everyone kids me about winning a Super Bowl with Jimmy’s players, BUT… I could have screwed it up.”
KSK: That’s true, that’s true. What about Jerry Jones? When was the last time you talked to him?
JJ: I talk to Jerry every now and then. Jerry had me come down for the opening of Cowboys Stadium to sit with him at the George Strait -Reba McEntire concert, then he sent his G5 [private jet] down to Marathon [Florida], picked Rhonda and I up and flew us back there for the Pacquiao fight. So Jerry and I talk every now and then.
KSK: What about Emmitt? [written in my notes: “He’d be elastic to hear from you!”]
JJ: I talk to Emmitt every now and then. I’m really proud of him going into the Hall of Fame. Of course, he had a great career. Most running backs don’t last long in the NFL, but his longevity was outstanding; he was able to be productive for so long.
KSK: There’s one incident from the old Cowboys team that stands out to me: the fight that Everett McIver and and Michael Irvin got into.
JJ: I don’t know. Is that my year, or…? That might’ve been the year after me.
KSK: Oh sure. Blame it on Switzer, right?
JJ: No, in all honesty, I don’t recall if that was… I think that was the year after I left.
[Note: He’s correct. That happened after the Switzer-led Super Bowl XXX run. Also, someone getting STABBED IN THE NECK WITH SCISSORS BY YOUR STAR PLAYER would probably be something you’d remember.]
KSK: All right, I think that’s about it. Can I — can I just touch your hair before I go?
KSK: Would you like to touch mine?
JJ: No, I don’t want to touch yours.
(Thanks to Hugging Harold Reynolds for helping to set this up.)