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Cowboys Midsummer Madness, Second Round: Jimmy Johnson vs. Cornell Green

Round two of our Midsummer Madness tournament is underway! Today’s match-up features three seed Jimmy Johnson facing off against six seed Cornell Green. Who will advance to the Sweet Sixteen?

We continue to wind our way through the Paul Tagliabue Regional with another tough mach-up between relatively close seeds: third-seeded Jimmy Johnson, the architect of the most dominant teams in Cowboys history, against sixth-seeded Cornell Green, one of the early Cowboys great trans-sport conversion projects who went on to play thirteen years in Dallas. This one could go either way. Who will prevail? You know the drill: read the bios and comments and hit the poll, people!

Wanna keep tabs on the state of the bracket or look ahead to future contests? All the Midsummer Madness info you could ever want can be found right here.


Player: Jimmy Johnson

Position: head coach

Seed: 3

How he got here: defeated Herb Scott, 570-148


Name Years Career AV Pro Bowls All-Pro RoH HoF
James William Johnson

Bio: Johnson took over a moribund and talent-depleted Cowboys franchise in 1989 and, in rapid fashion, transformed them into not only a championship-quality team, but one of the most dominant clubs the league has ever seen. And he did this almost single-handedly; for the first few years after the Jones-Johnson due took over the Cowboys, Jerry was concerned with getting the franchise back into the black. Consequently, Jimmy served as head coach, general manager, head of scouting, and de facto defensive coordinator (it was his system that Dave Wanstedt and Dave Campo oversaw).

With his mutiple titles, Johnson was charged with upgrading numerous areas of the organization that had been allowed to lapse under the previous administration: the scouting department; the strength and conditioning program; team speed; overall talent; and a winning attitude. In the late 80s, the Cowboys had grown to accept losing; Jimmy cleaned out all the veterans who had developed this tolerance, and then taught a young team how to win. And this is perhaps the most important part of his legacy: Jimmy was a master motivator. Johnson was an extremely shrewd psychologist, with the ability to inspire both individual players and the entire team.

Equally important was his genius as a talent evaluator. To build a Super Bowl winner, he explored every option: he stockpiled draft picks (thank you, Herschel Walker and Steve Walsh trades), made numerous trades, and acquired "Plan B" free agents such as Jay Novacek. Most significant was the way Jimmy revolutionized the draft; coming into the league in an era that valued veterans more than rookies, he understood that the best way to build a winner was through the draft. As a result, he stockpiled draft picks (thank you Herschel Walker and Steve Walsh!) and, using the now well-known "Draft Trade Value Chart," he moved up and down the draft, acquiring value from clubs that failed to comprehend the relative value of draft picks.

He is one of only six men in NFL history to coach consecutive Super Bowl winners, winning Super Bowls XXVII and XXVIII in 1992-93. By doing so, Johnson became the first man (and one of three) to lead teams to both national championship and Super Bowl wins. Most impressive was his record late in the season, when it mattered most; from 1991-93, Johnson led the Cowboys to a record of 10-1 in the  month of December, and a 7-1 playoff mark. And they were most dominant against the best competition; of those seven playoff wins, only one (their first, a 17-13 victory over Chicago) was by fewer than ten points.

Member comments:

Member Comment
TRAVLR A Blinding, Franchise changing, All Time memorable FLASH! Jimmy is and will be a major force of the 90s Cowboys

Give Jimmy his due-

Anybody who had to live through the Cowboys not-quite-get-there in the early 80s and absolutely stink in the second half of the decade can appreciate what Jimmy Johnson has done for this franchise.


Jimmy Johnson took ownership of the saying "how bout them Cowboys". He made it his own.


Player: Cornell Green

Position: cornerback, safety

Seed: 6

How he got here: defeated Jay Novacek, 415-338


Name Years Career AV Pro Bowls All-Pro RoH HoF
Cornell M. Green

Bio: Green was a highly-decorated basketball player who had never played a down of college football until the Cowboys brought him to training camp in 1962, thanks to a tip from his college b-ball coach. Although he only came to camp to collect the $1,000 signing bonus, expecting to last only a week, Green ended up making the team (despite wearing his pads backwards for the first three weeks of camp), starting three games and being selected to the NFL All-Rookie team. The next season, Green became a full-time starter at left cornerback, where he played for eight seasons, leading the team in interceptions 4 times, and being named to three Pro Bowls and three All-Pro teams.

In 1970, a defensive backfield reshuffle landed Green at strong safety, where he could use his size (6'3", 205) to great advantage. Indeed, he continued to excel, earning Pro Bowl bids in 1971-72, which put his total at five. Those happen to be seasons in which the Cowboys went to consecutive Super Bowls; Green helped to hold the dangerous Paul Warfield to four catches for 39 yards as the Cowboys beat Miami in Super Bowl VI.After the game, Green famously noted that, "The difference between the Dolphins and Cowboys was that the Dolphins were just happy to be in the game and the Cowboys came to win the game."

Perhaps most impressive is the fact that, in his thirteen seasons, Green never missed a game; he played in 168 games, including 145 consecutive starts. Green is tied with Michael Downs for fifth in career interceptions in Cowboys history, with 34. In 1970, while still an active player, Green began scouting for the Cowboys, continuing to work as a scout for the team through the 1979 campaign (he has been with the Broncos since 1987, and was named AFC Scout of the Year in 2011). In 1985, he was named to the Cowboys 25th Anniversary Team.

Member comments:

Member Comment

Some of us remember Green, Youngun.

I’ve always thought that if he hadn’t switched to safety he’d at least be in the RoH if not the HoF. He was a remarkable story and another remarkable story of Cowboys creativity.

Jessy S

If somebody like Cornell Green showed up at camp today

The language on this blog would rival BGN.


This is the one time in my life that I insist on going Green.

Alright, BTBers, which man advances to the sweet sixteen?

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