Kravitz decided to take issue with one of the game's true good guys -- Tony Dungy. He acknowledges that Dungy is a terrific individual, saying that "he stands for everything that is good and noble in sport and in life," but then uses that against Dungy, saying that if he was anything less, "the howls for his head would have been deafening," because he's failed to deliver a Super Bowl victory while having some of the best talent in the league to work with over the past few years.
Kravitz says this should be the year that Dungy is in the hot seat and should be replaced if he doesn't hoist the Lombardi Trophy early next year.
I say that's nonsense.
In his column, Kravitz exemplifies the worst and most shallow side of football spectators. I struggle with people who seemingly draw that bottom line of "Super Bowl or else" to each season. Evidently, if your team doesn't win it all, the season has been a waste of time.
That's unfortunate, because in looking at the game in such black-and-white terms, people like Kravitz miss the bright colors, the joy and the true excitement of the full pro football experience. And they miss out on the fascinating year-round journey where the result from one season -- no matter what that result is -- establishes the paths that fans can enjoy wandering between February through training camp in preparation for the next season. The next opportunity. And new hope. I should know. I've travelled those paths following this team for over 40 years now.
Even without a Super Bowl trophy, the Colts under Tony Dungy's leadership have brought more fun, excitement and pride to Indianapolis than any other Colts team. And they've created great memories along the way for many generations of fans. Sure, the Colts had some brief seasons of excitement during the Jim Harbaugh years, but there hasn't been a more consistently entertaining bunch of players wearing the Colts uniform since Johnny Unitas heard the roars of approval from the fans in Baltimore's Memorial Stadium. Tony Dungy has been key to providing that spark and consistency to Indianapolis' team. He's helped make football fun to watch in Indianapolis.
But without a Super Bowl trophy to point to after this season, Kravitz would have the Colts replace Dungy with a coach like Pittsburgh's Bill Cowher who has an "angry edge, and a judicious use of fear as a motivator."
This is where Kravitz' commentary really unravels. He would have you believe that Tony Dungy is wasting the talent provided to him if he doesn't win a Super Bowl this year. But if you subscribe to that logic, Kravitz would have to say that the Steelers also allowed his golden boy, Bill Cowher, to overstay his welcome in Pittsburgh. In what was clearly one of his best years as a head coach, Cowher's talented 2004 squad lost in the AFC Championship Game after posting a 15-1 regular season record. It was the eighth time his teams had ventured into the playoffs. Clearly, he should have been fired for wasting all that talent.
But in his ninth trip to the playoffs, Cowher won a Super Bowl in his 13th season. At the Combine earlier this year, Cowher told me that the level of competition has become so tight in the AFC that you really need a bit of luck along the way -- in addition to good talent and coaching -- to be fortunate enough to win a Super Bowl these days. He pointed to Mike Vanderjagt's missed field goal after Ben Roethlisberger's surprising stop of Nick Harper as just one example of how the planets truly have to align in a team's favor some days along the way to a World Championship.
So perhaps what Dungy really needs this year is just better luck. And maybe Bob Kravitz has a lucky horseshoe or a four-leaf clover that he could loan the Colts head coach this season. That at least would be a gesture of support.
From where I sit, if Bob Kravitz truly wants to see the Colts win a Super Bowl for the city of Indianapolis, he shouldn't be trying to create an ill-conceived controversy that does little more than create a distraction for a team and a head coach that is trying to focus on winning one.