Dungy and Colts Win the Big One
On the first Sunday of Black History Month, Tony Dungy secured his place in NFL lore when the Indianalplis Colts outscored Lovie Smith's Chicago Bears. It was an ugly turnover filled game on a rainy night in Miami, but the site of Tony Dungy hoisting the Lombardi Trophy was a beautiful thing.
In the two weeks since Dungy and Smith lead their teams to conference championships, the buzz has been about the pair being the first African-American coaches to reach football's ultimate game. I respect both men for not minimizing the importance of the accomplishment, as well as highlighting (and naming) the qualified black coaches that were never given the opportunities that each of them received.
There were two really good commercials -one by Coke, and one by Frito Lay – that ran during the CBS telecast focused on Black History month and the Super Bowl Coaches. As I watched the commercials, I imagined how many American's must have been saying "enough already." I almost felt embarrassed at one point.
But I quickly came to my senses and realized that the significance of the Dungy/Smith accomplishment cannot be overstated. In a country that gives limited positive press to African-American men outside of those with a ball in their hands, this is a story that must be told and preserved.
The legacies of George Halas, Vince Lombardi, and Tom Landry have become larger than life in the years that have passed since they were on the sidelines. Halas and Lombardi have been honored with trophies, and I drive on the Tom Landry Freeway nearly everyday. So too should Dungy be honored, because of the success that he has experienced in Tampa Bay and Indianapolis.
As gracious as Dungy was in victory, giving credit to his team, his God and his faith, so to was Smith dignified in defeat. CBS reporter Solomon Wilcox praised Coach Smith for his "class and dignity" in taking time out to speak with him after the heartbreaking loss. Wilcox's comment was a not so subtle dig at New England Patriots Coach Bill Belichick who barely answered his questions after the Patriots were defeated by the Colts.
But as football goes, it's all about the W's, and both coaches will be able to call their shot this off-season. Smith's contract is up and Dungy will no doubt receive a raise for his championship accomplishment. I'm wondering how many more titles it will take before media types begin to use genius to describe Coach Dungy. Well let me be the first: Tony Dungy, who has the highest winning percentage among active NFL coaches, and has compiled a 60-20 regular season record while at Indianapolis has thrust himself into the realm of coaching genius. Yeah I said it.