Tony Dungy on young Bill Belichick, meeting Peyton Manning, nearly joining Giants

NBC NFL analyst and former Buccaneers and Colts coach Tony Dungy, who received Super Bowl XLI with Peyton Manning whereas at Indianapolis, takes a timeout for some Q&A with Post columnist Steve Serby. 

Q: Explain what being the second African-American head coach within the Hall of Fame means to you. 

A: I knew the story of Fritz Pollard, and never an entire lot of individuals do, and I knew there was a very long time interval in between. I knew I shouldn’t have been the primary modern-era African-American head coach, however I felt like I used to be representing a whole lot of different guys who in the event that they’d been given the chance, may have carried out the identical factor. I felt like my choice simply form of was actually emblematic of so many different guys. I’m very pleased with that. 

Q: What was it like for you questioning for those who would ever be employed to be an NFL head coach? 

A: I didn’t consider it a lot racially. Lots of people have been speaking about African-American head coaches, however by that point, we had Art Shell and Denny Green and Ray Rhodes. So I didn’t have a look at it a lot as a racial factor. I believed my model and the way in which I coached, simply lots of people didn’t assume that was the best approach to do issues, and weren’t searching for that model of coach. So I didn’t know if it was gonna occur or not, I used to be fairly content material in saying if I’m simply an assistant, I’ll be disillusioned, however that’s the way in which issues roll. And then I had the interview with the Bucs, and Mr. Glazer saying that that’s simply the way in which he raised his boys, that’s what he was searching for, and he wished me to be his coach.

Tony Dungy speaks during a segment prior to the 2022 Pro Football Hall of Fame Game between the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Las Vegas Raiders on Aug. 4, 2022 in Canton, Ohio.
Tony Dungy speaks throughout a section previous to the 2022 Pro Football Hall of Fame Game between the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Las Vegas Raiders on Aug. 4, 2022 in Canton, Ohio.
Diamond Images/Getty Images

Q: What are your ideas right now in regards to the evolution of the Rooney Rule? 

A: Dan Rooney may by no means envision the way in which the rule has really been carried out and practiced. And his thought course of was completely proper. What he envisioned was folks establishing a blueprint and having specs for what they have been searching for in a head coach, after which saying, “OK given that, let me make sure I interview a diverse pool of candidates to make sure I at least get one minority candidate in the mix, and if I do, I’ll make the right decisions.” But I don’t assume we all the time do this in follow, and a whole lot of occasions guys get interviewed and so they aren’t actually inside the blueprint of what the proprietor’s searching for. He’d be heartbroken to see the way it’s been put into follow. And when it’s put into follow the best manner, then it does work, and that’s frankly how Mike Tomlin bought the job in Pittsburgh. Mr. Rooney’s philosophy was he all the time wished young, defensive-minded head coaches, he wished guys who have been good communicators and good lecturers. So he put that form of blueprint on the market, and he discovered Mike Tomlin when Mike wasn’t a family phrase. Mike was similar to Chuck Noll when Chuck was employed, he was similar to Bill Cowher when Bill was employed. And that’s the way in which that the method ought to work, it hasn’t all the time been put into follow that manner. 

Q: So how do you repair it? 

A: You can’t legislate something to those house owners and decision-makers. You simply must put them in position and simply say, “Hey, understand what you’re looking for and try to interview the best candidates with an open mind.” If you do this, then that’s all you possibly can ask for. That’s what I might say that’s the place we have to go.

Former NFL defensive back and head coach Tony Dungy speaks during his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Aug. 6, 2016 in Canton, Ohio.
Former NFL defensive again and head coach Tony Dungy speaks throughout his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Aug. 6, 2016 in Canton, Ohio.
Diamond Images/Getty Images

Q: Tell me the way you virtually turned a New York Giants assistant coach. 

A: (Laugh) I performed two years for the Steelers, and I performed a year for the 49ers, after which my third year to the Giants. Ray Perkins was the pinnacle coach, a man named Bill Belichick was the particular groups coach. I lasted form of halfway via coaching camp and bought lower, and realized it was most likely time to hold it up. When I bought lower, Coach Perkins mentioned: “I really like a lot of things about you, you’re just not a very good player. But one day, you might be a good coach.” I didn’t assume an excessive amount of of it, I believed it was simply small discuss. … And so the start of winter of 1981, Coach Perkins known as me and he mentioned, “Hey I was curious about that. I’d like to talk to you about coming on the Giants coaching staff.” So I known as Tom Moore, who recruited me, coached me in school, and he was on the employees in Pittsburgh, and I mentioned, “Hey, I might have a chance to go to the Giants, what do you think?” And apparently he talked to Coach Noll, ’trigger Coach Noll known as me the subsequent day and he mentioned: “Are you really serious about looking into coaching? If you really want to try coaching, you ought to come here.” So as a substitute of getting on the aircraft to New York, I bought on the aircraft to Pittsburgh, and at 25 years outdated I used to be a defensive assistant with the Steelers. But most likely wouldn’t have occurred if Ray Perkins hadn’t known as me. 

Q: What do you recall in regards to the young Bill Belichick? 

A: He was super. I keep in mind he was working with me in coaching camp, and we put on this punt block. It was a punt rush and I mentioned, “Coach Belichick, I’ve by no means rushed a punt in my life, I’ve been a return man and I’ve been a holdup man on the skin, I’ve by no means carried out something within the inside visitors. So he took me after follow, and he labored with me about half-hour on what you search for, getting off, wanting on the soccer on the snap, selecting out your spot, figuring out the place the punter’s gonna punt, eyeballing that concentrate on 11 yards behind the middle. The subsequent day, I went out and blocked a punt in follow. We have been broadcasting their recreation on Thanksgiving night time and we form of laughed about it, he vaguely remembered it. But it was one thing that made an impression on me, and what it instructed me is once I bought into my teaching later on is that it’s about educating folks. 

Peyton Manning hugs head coach Tony Dungy as they celebrate the Colts' 29-17 win against the Chicago Bears in the 2007 Super Bowl.
Peyton Manning hugs head coach Tony Dungy as they have a good time the Colts’ 29-17 win in opposition to the Chicago Bears within the 2007 Super Bowl.
Getty Images

Q: What is your favourite Herm Edwards anecdote? 

A: (Laugh) In ’89, I’m going to work for Marty Schottenheimer on the teaching employees at Kansas City, he’s working for Carl Peterson within the entrance office. “Hey if anything happens, you get a general manager’s job I’m gonna come with you, I get a head coaching job you come with me, blah blah blah.” So 4 years later I get the Tampa job, and I name him up. “Hey let’s go, we gotta make this work!” And he’s like, “Tampa? No, no, I don’t think so.” I known as him for a straight month to lastly get him to say sure. … He will get to Tampa, and we’re within the outdated constructing. And this constructing was constructed after they had 40 gamers and 6 coaches. So Herm is the assistant head coach, and he will get his decide of what restricted space we now have. There’s one coach’s office that was really a closet. It was so small you can have a desk and a chair in there however you couldn’t shut the door, so anytime he needed to have a non-public dialog on the cellphone, he needed to take the chair out and stand as much as shut the door. And he mentioned, “I will take the smallest office, the worst conditions, we’re gonna make this work and we’re gonna be great in spite of the facilities.” But I believe that set the tone for all of us. 

Q: You first met him in 1977. Do you keep in mind him selecting up Joe Pisarcik’s fumble in ’78? 

A: I keep in mind it effectively, and I used to be like, “My man just changed the course of pro football.” I used to be thrilled for him. … People mistake us on a regular basis, particularly once I’m in New York — “When you picked up that fumble it was just unbelievable (laugh).” I mentioned, “No, you got the wrong guy.” And he will get the identical factor — “When you guys won the Super Bowl, I was so happy got you.” 

Q: Describe the young Mike Tomlin. 

A: Herm will get the Jets job, and I’m searching for a DB coach. I ask our scouts, “Give me somebody who’s gotta be a great teacher, great communicator, and somebody who can control this room the way Herm did.” Mike is 29 years outdated on the time, and so they have been proper. In 5 minutes, you simply noticed that this man had confidence, he had information, he’s a communicator. I’ve determined to hire him, and he’s solely been within the constructing 5 minutes. When he comes into my office to interview, my son Eric was 9 on the time, and he was laying on the bottom taking part in video video games (chortle) on the ground, so I needed to step over a 9-year-old and stroll across the TV and the PlayStation to interview with this man, however that allow him know that that half was essential in skilled soccer. And years later, once I really went in there to do an interview in Pittsburgh for NBC, he had the Family Saturday going similar to we did in Tampa, and he’s bought children throughout, he had his children there. It was an awesome gratifying second for me to see him carry that on what I had discovered from Coach Noll and Coach [Dennis] Green in Minnesota. His first day in skilled soccer, he needed to step over a 9-year-old to get to work.

Indianapolis Colts talks with quarterback Peyton Manning during a playoff game against the San Diego Chargers on Jan. 13, 2008 in Indianapolis.
Tony Dungy (L) of the Indianapolis Colts talks with quarterback Peyton Manning throughout a playoff recreation in opposition to the San Diego Chargers on Jan. 13, 2008 in Indianapolis.
Getty Images

Q: The first time you met Peyton Manning? 

A: He was the College Player of the Year and I used to be the NFL Coach of the Year, and we have been really using in the identical limo over to the [Davey O’Brien Awards] banquet. Had an awesome dialog with him, and I keep in mind after every part was over I needed him luck and I mentioned, “Hey, I wished I’d get a chance to coach you, but it’s not gonna happen, you’re gonna be the first pick in the draft, and good luck.” And then 5 years later, I get the job in Indy, and he is available in, and I say, “You probably don’t remember much about that night, but I met you before.” He proceeds to inform me every part that occurred. The resort we’re staying in, my spouse’s identify. … He even went verbatim down the entire like three hours. The second meeting was what bought me. Photographic reminiscence, and only a need to choose up each bit of knowledge. 

Q: Have you been on the Manningcast? 

A: (Laugh) I’ve not. When Peyton and Eli did that, I believed it might be excellent as a result of simply being round them and listening to them discuss soccer, it’s enjoyable and it’s fascinating. So I believed they’d have an viewers. 

Q: How would you describe your teaching model? 

A: My teaching model I bought mainly from Chuck Noll, my first coach and my first boss. And when he employed me as a 25-year-old with no expertise, I requested him what I used to be imagined to be doing, and he mentioned, “Your only job as a coach is to help your players be better.” And in order that’s what I attempted to do for 28 years is assist my gamers each manner I may on and off the sector, and I seen myself as their helper and any individual who was there to help them, and that’s what I attempted to do. He took star gamers and bought them to purchase into the crew idea. A few the issues that he all the time mentioned that I beloved, and I base issues on, he mentioned, “Champions don’t do extraordinary things, champions do the ordinary things better than everyone else.” And then, “Everybody’s job is important, but nobody’s indispensable.” And these have been the 2 rules from him that I attempted to build on. I attempted to be a fundamentalist, I attempted to be an encourager, and any individual who didn’t get too excessive and too low, simply keep the course, be essentially sound and be the most effective you can be week in and week out.

Q: How did you inspire? 

A: I attempted to choose motivated gamers initially in order that my foremost job wouldn’t be motivating. But I attempted to encourage folks, assist them perceive what the scenario was, and put together them. I all the time thought if we’re ready, and we knew what we have been doing and we understood the stakes, that we’d be motivated sufficient. There wasn’t a whole lot of rah-rah speeches or something like that, it wasn’t a whole lot of threats or something, it was “Here’s what we’re after, here’s what we can do if we do our jobs, and now let’s go out and be the best we can be.”

Bill Belichick, left, and Tony Dungy after the AFC on Jan. 21, 2007.
Bill Belichick, left, and Tony Dungy after the AFC on Jan. 21, 2007.
Getty Images
Tony Dungy, as the head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, in 2000.
Tony Dungy, as the pinnacle coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, in 2000.
Getty Images

Q: What is your definition of management? 

A: I stole this one from highschool coach too, his identify was Dave Driscoll, and he mentioned {that a} good chief will get folks to go the place he needs them to go, however he makes them assume it’s their thought. That to me is what management is all about, getting folks to be their finest as a result of they need to, not since you’re making them otherwise you’re dragging them someplace, however you’re serving to them get the place they need to go. 

Q: What are the traits of the perfect Tony Dungy soccer participant? 

A: I appreciated velocity and quickness over some other athletic traits, so I’m searching for quick guys, fast and explosive. I’m searching for extremely motivated guys who’re nice teammates, nice group individual, and I’m searching for super-smart folks that perceive learn how to play the sport and may course of info. 

Q: Which was sweeter, profitable a Super Bowl as a participant or as a head coach? 

A: As a coach, I noticed this isn’t simply your crew and the 53 gamers and the employees, that is the entire group, that is the town, the state of Indiana — it simply felt far more significant. As a participant, I understood my little small a part of it. It was far more gratifying for me as a head coach. 

Q: Whatever involves thoughts: Jim Irsay? 

A: I like him. He’s quirky, however that’s who he’s. He is a honest, honest individual. You can say, “Well I wouldn’t do this,” however I promise you it’s from the guts and it’s with the most effective curiosity of the Colts and the town in thoughts. He’s a implausible man to work for.

Tony Dungy (R), former NFL player and head coach, poses next to his bronze bust with friend and former NFL player, presenter Donnie Shell.
Tony Dungy (R), former NFL participant and head coach, poses subsequent to his bronze bust with buddy and former NFL participant, presenter Donnie Shell.
Getty Images

Q: Bill Polian? 

A: Smart, robust and an awesome listener. 

Q: Donnie Shell? 

A: Means the world to me. Taught me learn how to be a person. I used to be his roommate for 2 years. He taught me about being a father, being a husband, being individual, being a Christian athlete. He taught me manner, far more than simply soccer. Probably the bodily hardest participant I’ve ever been round. 

Q: Daniel Jones? 

A: I like Daniel Jones. I like his angle, I like his management, and I believe he’s gonna take ’em to the playoffs. 

Q: Saquon Barkley? 

A: Heart. You noticed the guts earlier than he bought damage, however to me, a lot like Edgerrin James. You come again from that knee harm, and also you show the identical need and coronary heart to be the most effective you might be. Your teammates feed off of that. I can inform they feed off him. 

Q: Brian Daboll? 

A: I believed he did an awesome job in Buffalo, and I simply assume the mentality he’s introduced [to the Giants] has been implausible. They’re most likely the kings of gritty wins thus far. 

Q: Odell Beckham Jr. and the Cowboys? 

A: I believe Odell can be a typical Cowboy. Jerry Jones is loads like Al Davis — he loves the aptitude, he loves the dramatic, he loves the massive identify, and I believe Odell can be excellent for Jerry and the Cowboys. 

Q: Where do the ’78 Steelers rank in historical past? 

A: I believe they gotta be fairly near the highest. I might put them up in opposition to anyone. 

Q: Who are coaches or managers in different sports activities you admire? 

A: I get pleasure from watching individuals who form of orchestrate issues effectively and get essentially the most out of their gamers. I’ve actually loved watching Dusty Baker over time. I get pleasure from watching Gregg Popovich. I’ve actually marveled at what Steve Kerr has carried out with the Warriors during the last seven, eight years — form of growing a method of play that’s completely different and getting essentially the most out of actually a various cast of characters. 

Q: Who was your favourite quarterback rising up? 

A: I had three completely different form of heroes rising up. Basketball was my old flame, so I grew up watching Walt Frazier, and I believed he was simply cool with aptitude on the similar time. Baseball was Roberto Clemente, as a result of he may do every part, and did it with a aptitude as effectively. Football was really my final sport that I form of got here to, and Lem Barney was form of the hometown hero within the Detroit space, and once more, he had an awesome aptitude for the dramatic and nice participant. Later on, once I turned a quarterback, I watched school quarterbacks ’trigger there weren’t too many African-American skilled quarterbacks. I beloved Jimmy Jones, he was the quarterback at USC. I wore No. 8 in highschool due to him. I beloved watching Chuck Ealey play at University of Toledo. But my NFL quarterback was Len Dawson. I simply beloved Kansas City’s offense and the way they attacked, and we form of patterned ourselves in highschool after the Chiefs. 

Q: Why did you virtually give up your highschool crew? 

A: It was 1971, after my junior year in highschool. Our highschool was predominantly white, pretty new. Black college students have been getting bused on the time. And we had by no means had two African-American captains. My buddy, my finest buddy was a man named Bob Burton, he was a receiver, I used to be the quarterback, we began as sophomores. When the vote turned out, it ended up that I used to be the captain and he wasn’t, and I used to be simply very disillusioned, and I simply didn’t assume it was proper. And in order solely a 16-year-old would, I believed the most effective factor to do can be to give up (chortle). My dad couldn’t discuss any frequent sense into me and a whole lot of different folks couldn’t. And lastly my center faculty assistant principal known as me and I went over to his home and we talked about issues for some time, and he bought me to appreciate that quitting or working away from an issue wasn’t one of the simplest ways to deal with it. So he satisfied me to return out and get again on the crew, and luckily I did, and had an awesome senior year and bought an opportunity to get a scholarship to the University of Minnesota, and a whole lot of good issues occurred to me that wouldn’t have occurred had I let my feelings get the most effective of me. 

Q: Three dinner visitors? 

A: The Apostle Paul, Martin Luther King [Jr.], Bill Russell — what it’s prefer to win, and to do some issues in an period that wasn’t all that conducive to be an African-American, profitable on the highest stage, being the primary coach to win a championship, coach of shade. 

Q: Favorite film? 

A: “Coach Carter.” 

Q: Favorite actor? 

A: Denzel Washington. 

Q: Favorite actress? 

A: Cicely Tyson. 

Q: Favorite singers/entertainers? 

A: Aretha Franklin and Stevie Wonder. 

Q: Favorite meal? 

A: Fried grouper. 

Q: How have been you in a position to overcome the suicide of your 18-year-old son James in 2006? 

A: I believe that’s my Christian religion, and simply realizing that it doesn’t matter what occurs in life, it’s important to be glad about what you’ve got, and grateful for what you’ve got, after which belief God go get you thru these robust durations. And I believe our entire household, you lose a toddler, that’s one thing that you simply don’t anticipate. I believe having the best priorities and understanding that life and household is manner, far more essential than your job and your sport, that helps you go ahead. And figuring out that you’re gonna have the ability to deal with troublesome issues you probably have religion. 

Q: What do you hope your legacy is? 

A: I might hope that individuals would assume that I used to be an individual who helped my metropolis be a greater place to stay once I was there, who helped my gamers be the most effective they may very well be, and who has developed young males to be the most effective they may very well be. If folks assume that, I might be happy. 

Q: Many folks consider you as greater than a coach. 

A: I have a look at my mother and father. My mother and pa have been schoolteachers, they’re each form of legendary in my hometown [Jackson, Mich.]. My mom was a highschool trainer, she taught a few elective programs, and doubtless 90 p.c of the folks on our hometown elected to take public talking or Shakespeare as a result of they wished to be in Mrs. Dungy’s class. And my dad was a school professor, taught junior school science, and once more, he simply helped lots of people, and I believe that’s the place I discovered it from, that it doesn’t matter what you do, for those who do your job effectively, and also you’re there to assist folks, that’s what individuals are going to recollect. And it’s not what you achieve this a lot, it’s the way you do it and who you do it for.

Back to top button