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Was Tony Dungy overrated?

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  • Was Tony Dungy overrated?

    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.

  • #2
    Originally posted by RavenOfProphecy View Post
    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.

    Pick the Winners Champion 2008 | 2011

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    • #3
      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.

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      • #4
        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.





        Originally posted by Scott Wright
        I guarantee that if someone picks Cam Newton in the Top 5 they will regret it.

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        • #5
          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.
          Last edited by Stranger; 11-01-2009, 11:24 PM.

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          • #6
            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.
            And proud of it!!!

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            • #7
              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.

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              • #8
                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.
                Is that a rash?



                Give JKPIGSKIN credit for this masterpiece

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                • #9
                  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.

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                  • #10
                    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?

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                    • #11
                      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.

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                      • #12
                        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?

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by bhaarat316 View Post
                          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.

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                          • #14
                            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.
                            Originally posted by SNIPER26
                            fwiw, i amz deunks ofs myt ass. ilo vez drinmoinz befotre i post. wha t a hreat ideas.z.

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                            • #15
                              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.


                              Props to BK on the sig!

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