Normally there’s a void in the sports world between the Super Bowl (please don’t sue us for mentioning it by name, NFL) and the start of March Madness (please don’t sue us for mentioning it by name, NCAA). Fortunately that won’t be the case in 2011, thanks to the Crown Royal Jimmy Bowl. Just days after the NFL crowns a new champion, two lucky winners will each bring four of their friends on an all-expenses-paid trip to Dallas to compete against each other in a touch football game at Cowboys Stadium, presided over by legendary coach and occasional Survivor star Jimmy Johnson.
TSJ caught up with Jimmy a couple days before Thanksgiving to get his thoughts on, among other things, football sans tackling and the recent trend of pro teams apparently quitting on their coaches.
How did you get hooked up with this sweepstakes?
I’ve been working with Crown Royal on their responsible drinking campaigns for four or five years now. With the big game happening in Dallas, this was the perfect opportunity for me to go back to Cowboys Stadium and coach a game.
What are the chances that your involvement in the Crown Royal Jimmy Bowl will make you want to get back on a pro sideline next season?
Any itch I get will be for the touch football game only. I have no desire to leave Fox NFL Sunday and all my buddies to go coach for real.
Can’t say we blame you for not being in a hurry to coach again. It seems like at least a couple pro teams have quit on their coaches this season to the point of getting those coaches fired. Do you think that’s what happened?
It sure looked that way in Minnesota and Dallas. Neither of those teams performed or gave the proper effort toward the end. With Dallas, they got soft physically and mentally. When the big story is players reacting negatively to being expected to hustle in practice and show up on time, you can see how far they’ve dropped. In Minnesota, with all the arguments and infighting, it was clear that Brad had lost that team.
What’s your take on some players opining that the NFL is practically becoming a touch football league, given the recent rule changes on helmet-to-helmet hits?
I think it’s an overreaction. Everybody’s in agreement that we don’t want injuries in the league. You can still be very physical by tackling with your shoulders and using proper arm tackling techniques.
Do you think tackling is a dying art?
I won’t go that far, but a lot of coaches say it’s hard to teach tackling in practice for fear of injury. And of course that fear is rooted in the huge financial investments in the players.
Who was the best pure tackler you ever saw play?
Hmmm. That’s hard to say, but Zach Thomas, Jack Del Rio and Kenny Norton come to mind as being among the best.
Have you ever played touch football with Bradshaw?
[laughs] No, but trust me when I tell you, he can still throw the ball. He still has a rocket for an arm.
One of our recent college models, Tiffany Michelle [NSFW] is a huge Cowboys fan and claims she can throw a mean spiral. Any interest in bringing her to Dallas for a touch football tryout?
I’m sure that would be enjoyable for me, but I’m not sure my wife would like it. [laughs] Tell Tiffany to enter the contest. That way she can bring four of her friends and play in the game. Her video would probably be a winner!