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Monday, November 06, 2006

Time To Praise Indianapolis Colts' Head Coach Tony Dungy

Almost every week -- in fact of late every week -- we hear or read about how great New England Patriots Coach Bill Belichick is or how many rings he has. Last week, all we listened to was how Belichick was going to come out with a mad-scientist-level game plan for the Colts game. Or if it's not Bill Belichick, it's Dallas Cowboys Head Coach Bill Parcells. Yes, I know both have a combined total of five Super Bowl rings, but there's one coach who has the second highest winning percentage of all NFL head coaches from 1999 to 2005 according to NFL.com, and has won a remarkable 30 of his last 33 regular-season games. This coach just beat Bill Belichick for the second consecutive year.

Indianapolis Colts' Head Coach Tony Dungy.

No, Tony doens't have the rings, and he's not flashy or given to the loud shout or the quick quip, or even the use of weird hair gel. But what Tony has is a steady temperment and the kind of focus, determination, and managerial accumen that has few peers.

Managerial acumen? Yeah.

Think about it. Tony stays in the background of his team's glorious stars like Peyton Manning, Marvin Harrison, Bob Sanders, Dwight Freeney, and many others. He has a group of talented assistants like Offensive Coordinator Tom Moore and Defensive Coordinator Ron Meeks. They all do their jobs well and gain praise -- especially Manning, who may be the best quarterback of the 21st Century. But at the end of the game, they all turn to Dungy. As Manning said after the Denver Broncos game, Dungy is a calming force while your in the middle of a game. Reminding you of what to do in certain situations.

Like the late Dallas Cowboys Head Coach Tom Landry, Dungy calls on his faith in God for guidance and calm. It certainly helped him last year with the passing of his son James. And it was during that most trying of times that America saw just how much this "All-Pro Dad" was loved by everyone in the NFL and in sports.

Dungy is also an incredible role model, especially for African American young men. It's a true and rare event to see the national TV cameras pointed at a black male leader of a team headed for a remarkable record. But it's a welcome and much needed image, and one that Dungy's fully aware of. But with that, Dungy does not seek the spotlight. He's not on every talk show. He's not trying to upstage his star quarterback. He's not a fixture on the NFL Network -- except when the Colts win.

What everyone is seeing this year is just how good Dungy is at leading and managing his on-the-field organization. And now, as we begin talking about the Colts driving toward perfection, it's time to praise Tony Dungy.


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