It is now old news, but Tony Dungy is leaving the NFL, Probably never to return. At least, not as a coach. He leaves behind an impressive 139 and 69 record (.668%) and that most coveted of prizes, The Vince Lombardi Trophy. But behind the numbers is a myth of Dungy, the great and powerful
OZ coach. A further examination of the numbers reveals some rather disturbing trends.
We start back in Tampa. Dungy, along with GM Rich McKay put together a solid team, turning the once embarrassing Bucs into formidable foes. But behind the ferocious defense, was a team that seemed unable to get over the hump. The end result was a team with 6 season record of 54 and 42 (.556%). Worse, only one division title, and a dismal 2 and 4 playoff record (.333%). Dungy was subsequently handed his hat and the man who built the team watched the unbelievable. A young coach named Jon Gruden, fresh from his escape from the depths of Oakland, lead his Bucs to a dominate Super Bowl Victory. In his first season, behind an aged and forgotten about QB named Brad Johnson.
Meanwhile Dungy, humble and classy as he always was, quietly packed his bags and headed off to his new job, Head Coach of the up and coming Indianapolis Colts. We all know the story from here. Dungy and Peyton Manning for the better part of a decade go on to dominate the AFC South, along the way becoming the 2006 NFL champions. But again, there is more behind the numbers than first meats the eye. Despite 5 straight AFC South division titles, is a team that struggled to win the big game. While amassing an impressive 85 and 27 regular season record (.759%), the team was barely able to break 500 in the post season, finishing just 7 and 6 (.538%). A huge disparity for a team that dominated it's opponents for 8 regular seasons. 5 times in 8 years the Colts lost their first playoff game, and only once, in 2006 when they won the Super Bowl, did they win more than two.
The final verdict most will come to, much like another departing coaches this year named Shanahan, is that he was a class act, a great coach, and brought his fans the ultimate bragging platform. The title of World Champions. I know I am opening a can of worms with many who see Dungy as a heavenly saint, but I can't help but ask what if? What if Peyton Manning and the Colts had Bill Belichick, or Bill Parcells. How many titles could Indianapolis have amassed if Dungy was not the coach, and someone else was? These are the kinds of questions that cannot be answered, but should be asked. Should Dungy be classified with coaches like Parcells, Bellichick, Cohwer and Shanahan. Or, perhaps, is he just another Marty Schottenheimer who carried the wings of Peyton Manning to a single title.