Earning a spot into the Professional Football Hall of Fame is no easy task. Currently, only 326 members have a place in the Football Hall of Fame, which is located in Canton, Ohio. The first class was inducted on Sept. 7, 1963, and each year only a handful of people are added to the esteemed list of coaches and players honored.
The full Class of 2020 has not yet been announced. However, a legend of the game got the surprise of his life on national television this weekend during the NFL playoffs.
Former Dallas Cowboys head coach Jimmy Johnson has been part of the Fox network’s “The NFL Today” broadcast every Sunday since 2002. He coached the Cowboys from 1989 to 1993 (winning two Super Bowls) and then the Miami Dolphins from 1996 to 1999.
On Sunday, Jan. 12, the Fox NFL Today broadcast team — including Johnson, Terry Bradshaw, Howie Long, James Brown and Michael Strahan — got a surprise on-set visit from David Baker, the president of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. During the live broadcast, Baker took a few moments to express his thanks to the legendary head coach for his contributions to the game. As Baker spoke, Johnson teared up. Then, Baker proudly announced Johnson’s selection into the centennial class for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
The reaction from Johnson and his colleagues was an absolute joy to watch.
— FOX Sports (@FOXSports) January 13, 2020
Fox then cut to Johnson’s former quarterback and now fellow Hall of Famer Troy Aikman, who was at Lambeau Field in Green Bay covering the playoff game. He was clearly proud of his former coach.
After the announcement, Johnson was so emotional, he had a hard time getting words out. But he took the time to thank the people who helped him reach his level of success.
“The only thing I can think of is all the assistant coaches that worked for me, all the great players that played for me, they’re the reason I’m here,” Johnson said. “This is so special to me because when you put in the work that we put in, it’s nice to know people appreciate it.”
Johnson was actually the second former NFL coach to get a surprise announcement on live TV about his election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Former Pittsburgh Steelers coach Bill Cowher also had a visit from Baker during Saturday’s CBS Sports’ “The NFL Today” live show.
Congratulations to both coaches! The rest of the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2020 will be announced on Jan. 15 and the induction ceremony will take place in August in Canton.