NFL

Why Jerry Jones Wanted the Dallas Cowboys to Take Part in the 2020 Hall of Fame Game

While the XFL might be on television each weekend, sometimes you just need some NFL action to get your football fix. If you’re one of those fans, then you’re in luck: we’re inching closer to the annual Hall of Fame Game. Although it might not take place until August, we now know that the game will feature the Dallas Cowboys and the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Hall of Fame Game is usually even less competitive than a standard preseason contest, but Jerry Jones doesn’t care. In fact, he wanted the Cowboys to take part for one specific reason.

The Pittsburgh Steelers and the Dallas Cowboys will meet in the Hall of Fame Game

At the best of times, the NFL’s preseason is disappointing for anyone other than the most desperate, football-starved fans. The Hall of Fame Game, however, can be even worse.

While the game originally took place closer to the end of the preseason, the modern iteration happens at the beginning of August. While that’s great for television and fans, it’s less than ideal for the teams. Since the Hall of Fame game comes so quickly after the start of training camp, most starters barely play; it’s better to keep your star quarterback on the sidelines than to risk him behind a patchwork offensive line.

This year, the game will feature the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Dallas Cowboys. While there are plenty of storylines swirling around the teams—Ben Roethlisberger will be working his way back from surgery, Dak Prescott will either have agreed to or will still need a contract, and Mike McCarthy is returning to the sidelines—the gossip should be more interesting than anything happens on the field.

Why Jerry Jones wanted the Dallas Cowboys to participate in the Hall of Fame Game

While playing an extra preseason game at the start of training camp might be a drag for the players and coaches, Jerry Jones wasn’t concerned. In fact, he specifically asked if his Dallas Cowboys could take part in the Hall of Fame Game for one specific reason.

“We are very excited about being named to play in the Hall of Fame Game this year,” Jones said in a statement. “When we learned that Jimmy Johnson would be involved in the August (and not September) ceremony in Canton, we approached the Hall of Fame and expressed a strong interest in being a part of honoring his legacy and induction by bringing our team and Cowboys fans to Canton.”

This year, the Pro Football Hall of Fame will be enshrining an extra-large class in honor of the NFL’s 100th anniversary in two different ceremonies. As Jones noted, Jimmy Johnson will head to Canton in August; former Steelers Bill Cowher, Troy Polamalu, and Donnie Shell will also be honored that weekend.

Could Jimmy Johnson and Jerry Jones patch things up?

If their respective careers have proven anything, it’s that Jerry Jones and Jimmy Johnson are both incredibly competitive. While that common trait helped turn the Dallas Cowboys into a dominant force, it also caused the two men to have an infamous falling out.

Jones and Johnson appeared to have put the past behind them in 2017, when the head coach appeared together at various events, including Jones’ Hall of Fame induction ceremony. Despite that public reunion, though, Jerry still apparently holds a grudge; with each passing season, the owner still refuses to honor Johnson with a place in the Dallas Cowboys’ Ring of Honor.

Based on that context, it’s notable that Jerry Jones specifically requested that the Dallas Cowboys take part in the Hall of Fame Game. Only time will tell, however, if it’s an empty gesture or a genuine attempt to make amends.