Barry Switzer is one of just three coaches to win both a college football national championship and a Super Bowl. That fact alone makes him one of the greatest coaches of all time.
But while he was undoubtedly the architect of three national titles at Oklahoma (1974, ’75, ’85), Switzer, it seems, doesn’t get enough credit for his time with Dallas Cowboys, whom he led to a Super Bowl in 1995.
Yes, there are those who say Switzer inherited a machine, that he won with Jimmy Johnson’s players, that all he had to do was not mess up. Does Switzer resent that argument?
“No, not at all,” the 77-year-old said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “How about Jimmy going to (the University of) Miami? He took a national championship program over for Howard Schnellenberger. He inherited some pretty good players down there. You can paint it any way you want to. But hell, if I do take a job somewhere else, I don’t want (bad) players to be there.”
When Switzer became Cowboys’ head coach in 1994, the roster was full of talent. Troy Aikman. Emmitt Smith. Michael Irvin. Heck, Dallas had won the previous two Super Bowls.
Johnson and Jerry Jones, however, did not see eye-to-eye, and a change was made.
Switzer led the Cowboys to the NFC Championship in his first year before winning the Super Bowl in his second, beating the Pittsburgh Steelers, 27-17, in Super Bowl XXX.
“When people say, ‘Well, you won with Jimmy’s players,’ well, that’s fine,” Switzer said. “I mean, I won. We could’ve lost. We didn’t lose. We won. My winning percentage is the best in Cowboys history, and I’m first to give credit to Jimmy and Jerry for putting the team together. I realize that. I’m a coach. I’ve always been a realist. I damn sure would like it that way than any other way. I damn sure wouldn’t want to coach guys in that league if you don’t have talent.”
Still, when Switzer led Dallas to the Super Bowl, he felt more relief than excitement.
“You bet. You bet I did,” he said. “That’s why I said they got it done our way. The couple of years before that, Jerry (Jones) was not a part of the Dallas Cowboys program. Jimmy and him were so estranged that I’m sure Jerry didn’t even like walking into the locker room after a game, even after a victory, with Jimmy there. There was so much hostility.”
Switzer was told all about it when he arrived in Dallas. Luckily, he and Jones got along just fine.
“We did it our way because Jerry and I had a great relationship and we got along well,” Switzer said. “He felt welcome in any area of the complex, especially the football office. I welcomed him to come and just sit down anytime. It was his team. He can sit in there and listen to our coaches. That’s all he wanted to do is be a part of it. He paid $140 million to buy the damn thing. You ought to have a right to be a part of it.”