Jimmy Johnson, having guided the Dallas Cowboys to a six-game improvement and into playoff contention this season, won National Football League Coach of the Year honors yesterday.
Johnson, in his second year with the Cowboys after an illustrious career as a college coach, got 18 1/2 votes from 80 sportswriters and broadcasters in balloting conducted by The Associated Press. He edged Art Shell of the Los Angeles Raiders by 2 1/2 votes.
In 1989, the Cowboys were 1-15, the worst team in the NFL and in franchise history. They finished 7-9 this season, losing the last two games, costing them a playoff spot.