Jackson reflects on historic Super Bowl wins


As February marks the start of Black History Month, celebrations of achievements and history made by African Americans begin across the country. 

Academic dean Johnnie Jackson made history as a part of the San Francisco 49ers from 1989 to 1992, winning two Super Bowl rings with the team. In fact, in 2007, ESPN’s Page 2 ranked the 1989 49ers as the “greatest team in Super Bowl history.”

“It was awesome,” Jackson said. “I mean, you see all the advertising that goes into the Super Bowl, all the celebrations, but to be an actual part of it? It’s a hectic couple of weeks, to be honest with you, between practice and planning, travel and media. It’s an exciting time and sometimes it’s hard to focus on the task, which is actually preparing to win the game. But it was awesome; it’s something I’ll never forget.”

Jackson, who played as a defensive back and safety for the 49ers, says he was “blessed” to have such an illustrious career in football. 

“I enjoyed sports growing up and I was fortunate enough to be able to get a scholarship to the University of Houston,” he said. “Things went well enough in college where I was able to be drafted to play for the 49ers and during that period they had a really good team and I was fortunate enough to to be on a team that went to the Super Bowl.”

For Jackson, football was more than just a sport. 

“It allowed me to be a part of something that was positive,” the former football professional said. “It taught me life skills; you get up and get things done, no matter if it’s raining or cold, whatever the task at hand, you find a way to get it done. I think that translated into helping develop who I am, which was just work ethic.” 

However, when injuries beyond his control meant he could no longer perform at a professional level, Jackson stepped into a new position. 

“My goal every day is to try to find a way to help someone and that’s really my role,” Jackson said. “My role is to try to help manage student life. I just like to see the success students have. My favorite part is that I get to help make decisions that help people. A lot of times students think that (assistant principals) are just out for discipline but it is not that, especially here at Lamar. We try to figure out how to help every kid that walks through the door, no matter where they come from.” 

While education was not his initial career path, Jackson says he is glad that things turned out the way they did. 

“To be honest, I never thought I’d be in education, life just brought me this way,” said Jackson, who went back to school to get his masters degree after his football career ended. “It’s been fun. I can’t complain. I’m very fortunate and glad to work at Lamar High School; I just enjoy it every day. I was disappointed when I couldn’t perform at that level for football because of injuries but that was no fault of my own, so I knew there was more than just playing football. That’s why education is important. No matter what you do, you have that foundation, you can go anywhere.”

It was Johnson’s belief in his dreams that allowed him to pursue football professionally and later, his career in education. 

“I can remember as a little kid, watching football at my grandma’s house and it was just something I would dream about doing one day,” he said. “I didn’t actually realize it would happen until I got to college but you pursue your dream and you do your best and you never know where you’ll end up. Believe in your dreams and you can find your way.”