Sports Outside the Beltway

Tony Dungy Wins His Way

Rick Gosselin is happy that Tony Dungy won a Super Bowl after the tragedy he endured last year. But what he finds most notable is how he did it.

This is a coach who doesn’t drink, doesn’t smoke, doesn’t curse and doesn’t raise his voice. He treats players, coaches and all those who come in contact with him with respect. Football is his job, not his life. He still drives his kids to school in the morning before he goes to work.

Despite that balance in life, Dungy has carved out a record as one of the great coaches in NFL history. In 12 seasons he has taken teams to the playoffs 10 times.

Dungy has the best winning percentage of any active coach – better than Mike Shanahan, Bill Belichick, Joe Gibbs … all of them. But behind his back the buzz was Dungy would never win the big one because he was too nice a guy.

But Dungy has heard plenty of negative as coach of the Colts. He heard he had built a dome team that couldn’t win outdoors, couldn’t win on grass, couldn’t win in adverse weather conditions.

Dungy heard he couldn’t win a Super Bowl with Peyton Manning as his quarterback. The guy never won a championship in high school or college. Manning passed for 247 yards and a touchdown against the Bears on the way to game MVP honors.

Dungy heard he couldn’t win a Super Bowl with his 2006 run defense, the worst in the NFL. The Colts held the Bears to 111 yards on the ground Sunday night – 62 below Indy’s season average.

Guys like Bill Parcells and Bob Knight have proven that you can win as an old school taskmasker, acting as a drill sergeant training young boots. It may well be that, with today’s player–who tends to be dedicated to keeping in shape and improving his game year round–that approach just doesn’t work as well anymore.

I’m not sure if Dungy and his disciple Lovie Smith will change the tactics of coaching across the board. If they show that you win without a ranting “disciplinarian,” though, it may be a good thing.

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Dungy’s career is quite impressive–especially with the SB win. He has now built two SB teams(he built the TB team that Gruden won an SB with), which is an impressive feat. And 10/12 years in the playoffs is an enviable record.

Posted by Steven Taylor | February 6, 2007 | 11:37 am | Permalink

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