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View Full Version : Was Tony Dungy overrated?


Matthew Jones
11-01-2009, 10:40 PM
One of the things NFL Draft Countdown has prided itself upon over the years I've been here was not necessarily believing the reputations of every player and coach in the league, and actually analyzing whether or not people deserved their reputation. I'm not saying I don't think Tony Dungy is a good person, but I'm just wondering whether or not his reputation as a coach is a little bit inflated.

In Tampa Bay, Dungy led the Buccaneers to a 9-7 record in 2001, then was replaced by John Gruden, who, using almost the exact same starting lineups, went 12-4 and won the Super Bowl. Dungy, who was considered a defensive mastermind, fielded the #8 defense in the league (PPG) in 2001, whereas Gruden's squad was #1 in both points and yards per game allowed.

Dungy had some success in Tampa Bay (although nothing overwhelming, a 54-42 record), but was very successful in Indianapolis. Indianapolis has a reputation as one of the best run organizations in the NFL, mostly because of the strength of their drafts. Bill Polian made the picks in Indianapolis - Dungy was not responsible for bringing in the players on the roster.

I don't think anyone would argue if I said that Peyton Manning is one of the best quarterbacks of all time. A lot of this is due to the fact that he's practically a coach on the field - he is responsible for a lot of the playcalling at the line. Dungy came into a situation where the team routinely put a very good starting lineup onto the field, with a quarterback who pretty much ran the offense himself.

It's also worth noting that only about half the time Dungy was there, the defense ranked highly in the NFL. This is a guy who's supposed to be a defensive genius, and yet his defense overall averaged the #11 rank in points per game and #13 in yards per game. Good numbers, but nothing exactly eye-popping. There were some great defenses, but there were also some pretty bad ones.

Don't get me wrong, I think Dungy was a very nice coach in the NFL, but I wonder as to whether or not he was one of the all-time greats. When Jim Caldwell took over, a lot of people thought the Colts would fall off. Considering they're undefeated, I think it's safe to say they haven't. Caldwell was a terrible college coach. Does this draw into some question just how good Dungy was as a coach? Let me know what you think.

Brent
11-01-2009, 10:47 PM
Does this draw into some question just how good Dungy was as a coach?
While I see what you are getting at, I think there are so many variables that go into being a head coach that discounting his body of work, based on the talent he had, is unfair. This argument could be made of many coaches. You could say this about Cowher or Fisher, but that doesnt make it any more or less true.

Shiver
11-01-2009, 11:02 PM
I would say he was. He never really had a style, an identity. They won defensively in Tampa Bay and then they won offensively with Indianapolis. Both teams had Hall of Fame talent that facilitated the success he had, but you could say that about any coach: Shannahan and Belichick come to mind as recent examples.

LonghornsLegend
11-01-2009, 11:06 PM
You could make some of the exact same arguments about Bill Belichick also.


What did he do in Cleveland? 36-44, certainly nothing impressive at all.


He didn't start winning games at an incredible rate until Tom Brady came into the picture as his starting QB. Robert Kraft deserves alot of the credit for bringing in players and acquiring talent just like Bill Polian does.


Does anyone think that if NE got a new HC, they would have trouble winning with Tom Brady and Randy Moss? I don't. Honestly what Dungy did without Peyton is far more impressive then what Belichick did without Brady, but good coaches and players/teams/organizations all go hand in hand.


Hard to pick who you want to give all the credit to, but if you find a good coach your going to find a good owner, good QB, and a talent filled roster.

Stranger
11-01-2009, 11:06 PM
Looking at just his win/loss for Tampa Bay is probably a little unfair. He had a major hand in taking a historically bad team and bringing them to the cusp of a superbowl. Dungy was also responsible for giving many of the black co-ordinaters and Head Coaches in the league their start.

As for his time in Indy I think he should shoulder some of the blame for the Colts lack of success in the postseason (especially with all of the early exits). However considering we haven't seen what happens with Caldwell in the postseason it's probably a bit early to be comparing their effect on the team.

Iamcanadian
11-01-2009, 11:07 PM
Like Peyton, until he won a Super Bowl, there were always going to be questions about his ability to win big games especially as he never brought home a SB while with Tampa Bay. However, once he and Peyton got over the Super Bowl hump, I don't think you can say he was overrated. He was clearly a winner which is not easy in the NFL and he proved he could win the big games. That is about all you can ask of a NFL HC.

CC.SD
11-01-2009, 11:09 PM
I would say yes. He's obviously worthy of mucho respecto but if not for an unexpected surge of defense in their 2006 playoff run, Dungy would have been known more for numerous playoff snuff outs (as the favorite, in both Indy and TB) than anything else.

However, he was definitely a great coach and that is not going to be taken away from him any time soon.

Philliez01
11-01-2009, 11:29 PM
I liked having Dungy as a coach, but he did have some issues.

This is both a good and bad thing, however Dungy was very loyal to his players and coordinators. The Colts brought in a new ST coach (Brad Lidge pissing me off made me forget the name) and Larry Coyer as the DC after Meeks served in the same capacity for a while. Though I did enjoy seeing the pass-rush evolve into something pretty fun to watch in Indy, change was needed at both positions. But Dungy kept them aboard. While the team seemed to respond pretty well to the coaches, as soon as Caldwell was "hired" (since he was tabbed to replace him); Meeks was gone.

I can't speak for his Bucs career, but Dungy always gave the Colts kind of a...."head held high" type of luster. I guess classy would be the right word. I'm not talking about the fans either, I'm more going to the media. Since Dungy was a charitable fella, the Colts would sort of have a regal type aurora surrounding them. He wasn't a rah, rah guy but he was much like your little league coach. Everyone gets PT and there's always tomorrow.

Did he inherit a good core? Hell yes. However, the team loved Dungy from all accounts. Sometimes, all you need is that. The Steelers and Cowher had that type of relationship too. Coach embodies team.

FUNBUNCHER
11-01-2009, 11:36 PM
Check out what Dungy did as the D Coordinator in Minnesota before he was hired in Tampa Bay. The man knows defense and how to find defensive personnel who fit his system.

Say what you want about Dungy, but Gruden won his first and only SB on the back of a Dungy built defense. True, without Gruden's offensive schemes and playcalling, the Bucs probably wouldn't have won that SB either, but you can't separate Dungy's footprints from that SB victory.

Was he Vince Lombardi?? Hell No.

But he was a damn good football coach.

brat316
11-01-2009, 11:48 PM
You know what I was thinking, what if the Colts win the Superbowl this year? Will they say the same like when Tampa won, that Caldwell won with Dungy's team?

FUNBUNCHER
11-01-2009, 11:54 PM
Any team that Peyton plays on will be dominated by his presence, and less so the head coach.
Dungy helpy construct a defense in Indy capable of playing at a championship level in tandem with the Manning led offense.

Even though Gruden was integral in developing the offense in Tampa Bay, the defense, built by Dungy, were the real stars of that team IMO.

BlindSite
11-01-2009, 11:58 PM
He is one of the winning-est coaches in NFL history, sure a lot of that success is due to Peyton Manning, but lets not forget he took the Buccs to the playoffs four years in a row in the years leading up to his hire in Indianapolis.

He's won a superbowl, he helped keep and build one of the best franchises of the 21st century (thus far obviously).

It's easy to say his success was because of Manning, but realistically he was winning before he came to indianapolis and he won once there as well.

This guy built two superbowl winning teams and has a ring. He might even be HOF material as a coach.

Out of 13 seasons he made the playoffs 11 times... His record in indianapolis was 85-27.

Sure you can say his defense was never amazingly great in indianapolis, and he allowed Tom Moore to run the offense with little interference, but lets be realistic, it sometimes takes a great coach to just allow his team to do it's thing. We've seen what over involvement (mangini) can do to a franchise and how much better a franchise can be even without great players.

Dungy always had a team "good enough" in some areas and brilliant in others to be a dominant force.

Realistically can anyone in recent memory (the last 8 years) remember having the Colts on their team's schedule and being pleased?

General Zod
11-02-2009, 12:07 AM
You know what I was thinking, what if the Colts win the Superbowl this year? Will they say the same like when Tampa won, that Caldwell won with Dungy's team?

I try to read this thread, but your Shakira Avatar makes me lose focus.

Saints-Tigers
11-02-2009, 12:19 AM
To be fair, prior to Tony Dungy's arrival, saying a coach would come in and be 54-42 with the Bucs would have got you laughed off the planet.

wogitalia
11-02-2009, 02:23 AM
Sure you can say his defense was never amazingly great in indianapolis, and he allowed Tom Moore to run the offense with little interference, but lets be realistic, it sometimes takes a great coach to just allow his team to do it's thing. We've seen what over involvement (mangini) can do to a franchise and how much better a franchise can be even without great players.

I think that this is what makes Dungy a great coach. In the NFL the guys you hire matter as much, if not more, than you do and being a big enough man to step back and trust them to do what you hired them to do is perhaps the toughest part.

Dungy hired great offensive minds and let them do his thing and he has done a good job of throwing together a defense that has consistently been better than the sum of its parts. I think this is the thing he gets discredited for as a coach, those Colts teams always had over 50% of their cap devoted to offense, guys like Wayne, Harrison, Manning, Glenn and Clark amongst others are/were amongst the highest paid at their positions which has meant that they have relied on UDFA and late round guys to put together a defense and they have consistently been an average or better defense. Dungy deserves credit for that.

He also seemed to be a well liked and respected which aren't all that common together in a coach and it is obvious that players wanted to play for him. You also can't argue the results, he did the equivalent of going to the Raiders or Cleveland right now and having them respectable within 2 years and then he went one better with the Colts.

Shane P. Hallam
11-02-2009, 04:27 AM
I don't think so. A part of the coach's job is developing talent as well. The talent level there is partly due to his coaching.

wicket
11-02-2009, 04:28 AM
It's also worth noting that only about half the time Dungy was there, the defense ranked highly in the NFL. This is a guy who's supposed to be a defensive genius, and yet his defense overall averaged the #11 rank in points per game and #13 in yards per game. Good numbers, but nothing exactly eye-popping. There were some great defenses, but there were also some pretty bad ones.


the defensive rankings are taken a bit out of context though. When you consider that Indy has been a team that usuallly leads you realise that teams take bigger risks against them to negate the deficit, this will result in more yardage allowed, more points per game allowed but also in more points scored on the back of turnovers. Those end of game air it out offenses that teams face when far ahead are usually killing for the defensive stats.

D-Rod
11-02-2009, 05:06 AM
Assessment of talent, development of talent, setting the tone for the team, providing direction and leadership for the franchise...

That's the most important part of being a head coach, and that's what Dungy did brilliantly (together with Polian, of course).

The fact that Chucky and now Caldwell have been able to succeed with Dungy's teams is a positive to Dungy's abilities as a head coach, not a negative.

Also, pointing to Indy's only moderately successful defense ignores the fact that the team was structured around spending the preponderance of its draft picks and salary cap on building a dominant offense. A large number of successful draft picks were allowed to move on without being paid big money. Dungy's D as very successful considering the paucity of resources invested in it.

Vox Populi
11-02-2009, 07:56 AM
Kind of surprised it took about 10 posts for anyone to mention that the defenses Dungy had in Indy made up probably only at most 40% of their cap because of everything that they had and have on the offensive side of the ball. He put decent defenses together out of a bunch of UDFA and late round picks.

Then take a look at what he put together in Tampa Bay, one of the all time great defenses we've seen in the past 15 years because they focused on that side of the ball with the draft more than they did in Indy. They had guys like Lynch, Brooks, Sapp, Rice, Barber, etc. and Dungy took one of the worst franchises in the league's history since it joined the league to being at least a respectable franchise and a consistent playoff calibre team. That is pretty impressive.

He has been a great coach doing things both ways, building an offensive team and assembling a defense with late round picks in Indy, and building a defensive team in Tampa. To me, that is very impressive and most coaches have too much of an ego that they will come in and disrupt what is going on in the organization and try to change the direction. Dungy could have came into Indy and tried to build a defense like Tampa had, and he probably could have, but he recognized all the talent in Indy and built the team to it's strengths rather than his own

keylime_5
11-02-2009, 10:39 AM
I look at it like the Pittsburgh situation. Such a well run organization, they put in Tomlin and it was pretty much seamless. A good defensive unit and Peyton Manning is pretty hard to screw up.

bored of education
11-02-2009, 12:32 PM
The Colts have the best quarterback since Joe Montana. I could coach them to 10 wins. Peyton Manning is Optimus Prime.

Dam8610
11-02-2009, 12:36 PM
You know what I was thinking, what if the Colts win the Superbowl this year? Will they say the same like when Tampa won, that Caldwell won with Dungy's team?

Considering Caldwell was actually a part of building this team, I wouldn't think that would be an issue. As for Caldwell's early success, why should the success of Caldwell detract from what Dungy did in his time in Indianapolis? Dungy was still the coach of the first team in NFL history to win 12+ games in 6 straight seasons, and the coach that took the Colts from fringe playoff team to perennial contender, not to mention the coach that brought Indianapolis its first NFL Championship. In Tampa, he brought a franchise that was a laughingstock and turned it into a perennial contender, he was the first winning coach in their franchise's history. IMO he has a Hall of Fame resume, and I don't think just because others have had success in his wake, that that destroys every accomplishment he had. Bill Cowher was a great head coach, does that make anything Chuck Noll did less impressive or historic?

bored of education
11-02-2009, 12:38 PM
This was not a shot at Tony D. He had to coach this team, install a mindset, develop players, etc. he did good for what he had.

Jughead10
11-02-2009, 01:22 PM
I never thought Dungy was this amazing coach. His defenses always played like the coach. Soft. I have no clue how he did it, but he got that defense to play out of their mind in the Super Bowl run. Unlike how they had ever played his entire time there. So that I have to give him credit for that. He also always had Peyton. And unlike Bill in New England who has had Brady, Bill was on the staff that drafted Brady in the 6th round and had faith in him. Dungy inherited Peyton.

killxswitch
11-02-2009, 02:11 PM
I never thought Dungy was this amazing coach. His defenses always played like the coach. Soft. I have no clue how he did it, but he got that defense to play out of their mind in the Super Bowl run. Unlike how they had ever played his entire time there. So that I have to give him credit for that. He also always had Peyton. And unlike Bill in New England who has had Brady, Bill was on the staff that drafted Brady in the 6th round and had faith in him. Dungy inherited Peyton.

The defenses in 2005 and 2007 were actually really good.

That said, yes, I think he is overrated as a coach.

NY+Giants=NYG
11-02-2009, 04:15 PM
No.. Dungy was a good HC, with VERY good GM running that team, and god as their QB. Now they switched coaches, but the other two factors are still there. I don't think Dungy is over rated at all.

Watchman
11-02-2009, 04:28 PM
I think Dungy is overrated, but is still a very solid coach. He helped turn Tampa around, but some of the cornerstones of that D were drafted before Dungy's arrival. I believe Sam Wyche was the coach when the Bucs drafted Sapp and Brooks.

He made Tampa respectable, but he also reached a ceiling in Tampa because Dungy was completely inept at building any semblance of an offense. He was loyal to players a coaches to a fault. While in Tampa, Dungy's teams usually fell flat in the playoffs, only won 1 playoff road game, and went like 3 playoff games without scoring a TD. That is what I remember most about Dungy's Tampa teams. When Gruden came in he had the D in place and Kiffin was still running it so there was no drop off, in fact they improved a great deal. Gruden did enough with brining in new players and what was already there to get an O that was barely decent enough for the Super Bowl run.

In Indy Dungy inherited Manning as well as the offensive coaching staff. I always thought it was embarrassing when Dungy would send the punt team on and Manning would send them back off the field. But, that was a by-product of who he had at QB and his low key style of coaching. Dungy, much like Gruden, was able to put a D together that was respectable enough for a Super Bowl run.

In the end I think Dungy is a very good coach, not a HOF coach.

BlindSite
11-02-2009, 06:21 PM
I think Dungy is overrated, but is still a very solid coach. He helped turn Tampa around, but some of the cornerstones of that D were drafted before Dungy's arrival. I believe Sam Wyche was the coach when the Bucs drafted Sapp and Brooks.
Sapp and Brooks were drafted in 1995 so yes, it was before his arrival, long before, which shows despite them being there Tampa couldn't win until he arrived and installed an effective defensive system.


He made Tampa respectable, but he also reached a ceiling in Tampa because Dungy was completely inept at building any semblance of an offense. He was loyal to players a coaches to a fault. While in Tampa, Dungy's teams usually fell flat in the playoffs, only won 1 playoff road game, and went like 3 playoff games without scoring a TD. That is what I remember most about Dungy's Tampa teams. When Gruden came in he had the D in place and Kiffin was still running it so there was no drop off, in fact they improved a great deal. Gruden did enough with brining in new players and what was already there to get an O that was barely decent enough for the Super Bowl run.

Did he reach this ceiling at around the time they'd been the playoffs four out of five years? The first time coming his second year being in the city? Just one year after the team was considered a joke by the rest of the NFL?

Gruden cost them a fortune to acquire and all he did was change the way the offense was run. The team still had the number 1 defense in the NFL due to the way dungy built and coached the team and if anyone recalls, the only reason Gruden won a superbowl was because he had that defense which he literally handed the Raiders playbook and said to Kiffin, Dungy's man, "here, beat this" and they did. That superbowl was a defensive win that Gruden gets credit for. Kiffin deserves the praise for that win.

In Indy Dungy inherited Manning as well as the offensive coaching staff. I always thought it was embarrassing when Dungy would send the punt team on and Manning would send them back off the field. But, that was a by-product of who he had at QB and his low key style of coaching. Dungy, much like Gruden, was able to put a D together that was respectable enough for a Super Bowl run.

Yeah boy, if I could be a head coach and never win less than 10 games a year and never fail to miss the playoffs and walk away with a ring, boy would my face be red... :rolleyes:

Dungy was smart enough to keep an offense that drained almost all of the cap figure together behind a leader and coordinator they loved, while finding assistants and players whom he could mold into guys to fit his scheme and be successful.

With the exception of Bob "qestionable" sanders, Freeney and Mathis, they don't have anyone of note, sure a linebacker here or there has occasionally made us take note, but they've never had stars, and dungy knew he had to be "good enough" because the offense was "great enough" to take them places.

This isn't the type of strategy that comes from an inept coach. It comes from a brilliant one.

This is the same approach Tomlin took in Pittsburgh when he arrived "it's not my defensive system, but it works, lets fix everything else" and he's got a ring.

Great coaches, know when to shut the **** up and fix what needs fixing and using it as a detracting argument is flat out wrong.

Bengalsrocket
11-02-2009, 06:27 PM
When Manning called the punt team off the field I call that confidence, not embarrassing. And obviously this is a guess, but I'm going to assume that Dungy helped install that confidence in his team.

BlindSite
11-02-2009, 06:46 PM
When Manning called the punt team off the field I call that confidence, not embarrassing. And obviously this is a guess, but I'm going to assume that Dungy helped install that confidence in his team.

He always gave me a sense his moto style was unique. Most coaches will scream in your face and call you a ***** where as he would be more like a father.

"I'm not angry you fumbled.. just disappointed :-|" ultimately making you feel worse. People weren't afraid of losing playing under him, they were afraid of letting him down.

Watchman
11-02-2009, 10:05 PM
Sapp and Brooks were drafted in 1995 so yes, it was before his arrival, long before, which shows despite them being there Tampa couldn't win until he arrived and installed an effective defensive system.



Did he reach this ceiling at around the time they'd been the playoffs four out of five years? The first time coming his second year being in the city? Just one year after the team was considered a joke by the rest of the NFL?

Gruden cost them a fortune to acquire and all he did was change the way the offense was run. The team still had the number 1 defense in the NFL due to the way dungy built and coached the team and if anyone recalls, the only reason Gruden won a superbowl was because he had that defense which he literally handed the Raiders playbook and said to Kiffin, Dungy's man, "here, beat this" and they did. That superbowl was a defensive win that Gruden gets credit for. Kiffin deserves the praise for that win.


Yeah boy, if I could be a head coach and never win less than 10 games a year and never fail to miss the playoffs and walk away with a ring, boy would my face be red... :rolleyes:

Dungy was smart enough to keep an offense that drained almost all of the cap figure together behind a leader and coordinator they loved, while finding assistants and players whom he could mold into guys to fit his scheme and be successful.

With the exception of Bob "qestionable" sanders, Freeney and Mathis, they don't have anyone of note, sure a linebacker here or there has occasionally made us take note, but they've never had stars, and dungy knew he had to be "good enough" because the offense was "great enough" to take them places.

This isn't the type of strategy that comes from an inept coach. It comes from a brilliant one.

This is the same approach Tomlin took in Pittsburgh when he arrived "it's not my defensive system, but it works, lets fix everything else" and he's got a ring.

Great coaches, know when to shut the **** up and fix what needs fixing and using it as a detracting argument is flat out wrong.



As I said I think Dungy was a very good coach, but I also think you are giving him way too much credit. Did he help build a great D in Tampa, yes. Should he get some of the credit for the SB in Tampa, yes. But, Dungy's teams were getting progressively worse in Tampa before he was fired. A team that was in full blown "mortage the future" mode to win. I think he helped turn around a loser franchise, and helped establish a foundation for Tampa to get a SB win. Dungy brought the system, someone else brought the players that made the system work, and Gruden brought just enough on O. The result was a SB. Dungy had a part in that.

In Indy I think Dungy had about as much to do with the O as Gruden had to do with the D in Tampa, which is nothing. You are giving Dungy credit for not messing with the system or offensive coordinators that were in place when he got there. Do you believe that he even had the ability to make any changes on that side of the ball? Even if he did I'll give him credit for taking an "it aint broke" attitude toward the O in Indy. You call it great coaching, I call it obvious. To say that Dungy was smart enough not to screw around with the best offense in the league that he inherited also isn't a basis for claiming someone is a great coach.

Just my opinion Dungy is a very good coach, but he is also overrated. You clearly disagree, that's what makes the world go round.

BlindSite
11-03-2009, 12:45 AM
As I said I think Dungy was a very good coach, but I also think you are giving him way too much credit. Did he help build a great D in Tampa, yes. Should he get some of the credit for the SB in Tampa, yes. But, Dungy's teams were getting progressively worse in Tampa before he was fired. A team that was in full blown "mortage the future" mode to win. I think he helped turn around a loser franchise, and helped establish a foundation for Tampa to get a SB win. Dungy brought the system, someone else brought the players that made the system work, and Gruden brought just enough on O. The result was a SB. Dungy had a part in that.

In Indy I think Dungy had about as much to do with the O as Gruden had to do with the D in Tampa, which is nothing. You are giving Dungy credit for not messing with the system or offensive coordinators that were in place when he got there. Do you believe that he even had the ability to make any changes on that side of the ball? Even if he did I'll give him credit for taking an "it aint broke" attitude toward the O in Indy. You call it great coaching, I call it obvious. To say that Dungy was smart enough not to screw around with the best offense in the league that he inherited also isn't a basis for claiming someone is a great coach.

Just my opinion Dungy is a very good coach, but he is also overrated. You clearly disagree, that's what makes the world go round.

I understand what you're saying, but implying that he had this and that in tampa from others and then this and that from Indy is trying to make it seem as if 10 consecutive years in the playoffs and never losing more than 6 games in a season with indy was coincidence as a result of the people around him, saying he was "good enough" for them to win with what they had is a little insulting to just how good he was.

freeupfreeney
11-08-2009, 11:56 AM
I'm sorry but i'm a colts fan, and any colts fan would probably say...Yeah, it's kind of confusing why Dungy's efforts were so harolded.

I watched year after year as we Refused to blitz as team converted 4th and 1 and 4th and 2 down with complete confidence.

I watched year after year during critical 3 and 4th down goaline stands, even during playoff games and we were playing 3 yards off recievers and they just ran slants for touchdowns.

The defense wasnt that bad with the exeptions of a couple of years. But when certain situations called for change, maybe a little practice and preperations for situations like goaline stances and 4th down conversions during practice...it didnt happen.

A lot of years the games were left out there on the field, they failed to adapt, almost like somebody was scared to say what was wrong outloud.

To fail to adapt during playoff games, i dont know, it was mind boggling.

I remember when the Trojans and Longhorns played in the National Championship game and Vince Young kept running to his right, we couldnt stop it. Carroll started calling Corner blitzes to that side and stoped it when he needed to. But, they hesitated and played cover 2 and Vince, determined, ran it to the right again and nobody could catch him, and boom touchdown. They new they were going to do it but didnt call the right call to defend it with a game that big on the line, and the Longhorns win.

Kinda like dungy and the colts sometimes.