Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Uneasy Peace Best It Gets for Johnson, Switzer

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Uneasy Peace Best It Gets for Johnson, Switzer

Article excerpt

Jimmy Johnson's hands are buried in his pockets and his feet are rooted to the floor, but when the question floats to the podium where he's conducting this news conference, the Miami Dolphins coach begins to do an elegant jig.

Do you hold Barry Switzer in high regard?

"Barry Switzer did a good job in Dallas," Johnson says, dancing around the question with grace. "The situation he was put under, taking over a team that had won two straight Super Bowls, and holding the team together, Barry Switzer did a good job." And that is how Johnson, former Cowboys coach, is delicately articulating his feelings about the current Cowboys coach this week. There may be no cracks, but no compliments either. "The relationship is a little different than with most coaches," Switzer said Wednesday without elaborating. If the relationship ever bordered on respect in 1964 when Johnson was a defensive lineman at the University of Arkansas and Switzer was a graduate assistant, it does not now. If there was a friendship when they were assistants at the University of Oklahoma in the early 1970s, there is not one now. "We're cordial, but that's it," Switzer says. If there was a rivalry during Johnson's days at Oklahoma State and the University of Miami while Switzer was head coach at Oklahoma, it is more than that now. "When he's had the better talent, he's won, and when I've had the better talent, I've won," Switzer said. "If anyone's claiming to be the better coach on either side, that person's dreaming." The roads Switzer and Johnson have traveled during their careers often intersect. Switzer beat Johnson five times when Oklahoma played Oklahoma State. Johnson redeemed himself with three consecutive victories (including one in a national title game) when he coached the Hurricanes. Sunday's will be the first confrontation the men share in the NFL. …

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