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Trumpy Hopes to Clear the Air With Miami’s Johnson

Times Staff Writer

NBC commentator Bob Trumpy, saying he never called Jimmy Johnson a used-car salesman during the Orange Bowl telecast, was trying to contact the Miami football coach Wednesday to clear up the matter.

“I don’t want to lose him as a friend. That’s my major concern,” Trumpy said from radio station WLW in Cincinnati, where he works.

With Nebraska trailing Miami, 23-3, and facing fourth and 14 with under 5 minutes left in Monday night’s game, Johnson called his defense to the sideline and screamed at his players.

“He’s about as worked up as I’ve ever seen him,” Trumpy said on the air. “He does not want Tom Osborne and his Nebraska team to score a touchdown. And this is the stuff that passes the legend of Jimmy Johnson around the country.

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“He’s a terrific coach, but when they see this on television, the image of Jimmy Johnson is not an image that most coaches want to have. I don’t think that Jimmy Johnson cares what other coaches think, but I think that at some times people say he’s a used-car salesman. . . . I don’t think he is. I think he’s earned that championship ring he has on his finger.”

Taking Trumpy’s comment out of context, someone told Johnson’s wife that Trumpy had called her husband a used-car salesman. She complained to Miami Athletic Director Sam Jankovich, who told Johnson about it after the game.

When asked about being characterized as a used-car salesman, Johnson snapped: “We play the game with intensity. Some people should do their jobs as well.”

A little later, at an NBC tent party, Jankovich cornered Trumpy.

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“Yes, he was upset, and I can understand why,” Trumpy said.


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