I sat here for a good long while, wondering what to say about Tony Dungy. He’s not a man who needs my endorsement, and somehow I feel that anything I say would almost diminish everything he’s given us. The Colts had never won a playoff game in Indianapolis before he came. He gave the Colts more than twice as many division titles than it had in all the years they had been in town combined. His teams always played hard. They never quit. They rarely ever failed us, even in defeat.
10 years ago, I was living in north-central Indiana. It was full of Bears fans. I was less than two hours from Indianapolis, and I was the only Colts fan I knew. In fact, everyone in town knew me as “the Colts fan”. Now, on playgrounds from Kokomo to South Bend and from West Lafayette to Fort Wayne, there are blue jerseys everywhere.
I knew the day Tony got fired from Tampa, that if Jim Irsay would only sign him, we’d shoot right to the top. I had followed his struggles to get hired, and his rise to the top. I knew he was a winner. Within two seasons, the Colts were playing in the AFC Championship game. Before long, they were World Champions. Every year under Tony, you could pencil the Colts down for double digit wins. In his seven years in Indianapolis, the Colts average finish in the division was 1.3, and they were never lower than second place. Among active coaches, only Belichick, Reid, and Holmgren (in four more years) had more playoff wins than Dungy.
I’m so grateful for everything he’s done for the team and city I love. I wish Coach Caldwell all the best, and I will try to be patient and understand that it would be hard for any coach to match what Dungy did. Whatever greatness he ultimately achieves, however, we’ll never forget that it was built on the foundation laid by Tony Dungy, the greatest coach in Colts history.
Thank you, Coach. We love you.
God bless and goodbye.
Sometimes there are reasons, ever for rough losses.
Demond Sanders: I don’t have a lot to add to that tribute. Tony is my all-time favorite coach. Unlike Bob Knight, Tony always made us proud and never embarrassed us. His record of success may get overlooked, but he was a flat-out winner. His performance as head coach will never be matched in Indianapolis.