Jimmy Johnson, who won two Super Bowls as coach of the Dallas Cowboys, will begin his second season as a television analyst for the NFL on Fox this fall.
And, already, questions are arising about how much longer he'll stay on TV.Johnson has been rumored to be headed to one NFL team or another almost since the day he left the Cowboys. Last year at this time, Terry Bradshaw - who co-hosts Fox's studio show - predicted Johnson would be coaching again before last season ended.
That didn't happen. And, for the moment at least, Johnson said it's not going to happen.
"When I started the show last year, I actually thought that I'd get back into coaching after one year of television," Johnson said. "As we did the show, I got to where I was enjoying it more and more. I was really having fun with these guys."
In a way, his work as a TV analyst satisfied his desire to remain a part of football.
"I guess my involvement with the football thing and the show satisfied somewhat the need I had," he said. "I said at the time, toward the end of the season, that unless (a coaching job) was absolutely perfect, I was going to stay right there with television. And as time has gone on I've enjoyed it more and more, and my intention right now is to stay with television."
Johnson added, however, that talking about football on TV is not a complete substitute for coaching.
"My entire life I have lived with extremes," Johnson said. "I have been on top of the world with the adrenaline flowing as full as my veins can get. Or I have been at the complete depths of misery. There's nothing' in between. And that's the way I lived for many, years.
"That rush, that excitement, that competitive spirit. There's always that lure there. As many highs as we have - and we have some on our show - and at times some lows, they're not quite the extremes that you would get on the sidelines. And that's the only thing that would ever lure me back.
"But right now, I am completely happy doing what I'm doing."
But it's not as if Johnson is making a solemn vow never to return to the sidelines.
"I don't think anybody in this room . . . can really predict what's going to happen years down the road," he said. "But my intentions are to stay with television because I like doing it."
Johnson acknowledged that his past and his possible future was with him throughout his first year as a television analyst.
"Because of my affiliation with the Dallas Cowboys and because of the rumor swirling about that I was going to go back into coaching, it seemed like every time I made a statement about any team there was a hidden agenda," he said. "If I talked about Dallas, well, then it was sour grapes. If I talked about Philadelphia, it was because I was going to Philadelphia. . . . I think that as time goes on, people will understand it's my job and if I'm going to be credible, it's my job to be straightforward and honest and really not pull any punches.
"I think it's going to be easier for me as time goes on and they understand that I am an analyst and not a coach."
"Who just bought a home in Tampa?" interjected Bradshaw, feeding the rumor that Johnson may become the coach of the Buccaneers.
Johnson was quick to point out that he recently signed papers on a house in the Los Angeles area, putting him in the general vicinity of Fox's studios.
However, another of his co-workers, James Brown, just as quickly pointed out that Johnson is renting, not buying the house.
In other words, the rumors about Johnson's future seem certain to continue. Stay tuned . . .