Dungy Press Conference Highlights

On Thursday at his press conference, Colts head coach Tony Dungy talked about the influence of past coaches on his career, offensive coordinator Tom Moore, his style versus Bill Polian's, Marvin Harrison and much more!


(on the team getting back to practice mode and focus)

 "I thought our team did really well yesterday. We had some of the things you would expect with not having a lot of practice time over the last four or five days. We had a couple dropped balls that we normally don't drop and that kind of thing. But our focus, our concentration, our energy was really very good. It was maybe the best practice we've had the last three weeks from that standpoint, so I'm pretty pleased with the way they bounced back." 

(on how it makes you feel when young coaches talk about coaching style)
"That excites me and it is important to me. That's one of the reasons that I've really enjoyed my coaching career. It's not so much to generate the wins but it's to help young players get better and to really show coaches that there are many, many ways you can do it. You can be successful and still take good care of your players, still try to build them and make that the most important thing, not to make winning the most important thing, and do it that way. So if people are getting that message, I think it's great." 

(on having players know they are cared about despite a certain coaching style)
"I think that's true of players at any level. (The players) want to improve, they want to do well at their sport, but they really feel good when they know people care about them. That's the thing you try to get across, whatever your style is, that the player is important to you as a person, not just as a performer." 

(on fumble Dungy had in Super Bowl XIII and if he knew Randy White played with a broken thumb)
"Yes, we did know Randy White was playing with a broken thumb. That was a fun Super Bowl for me, much different than it is now. We came in and were very much under the radar compared to how it is now. We had a fun game playing against a great Cowboys team. I told Roger Staubach in the warmups that every other time we had ever played them, he always threw me an interception so I told him to make me a hero, throw me a ball today. He didn't do it, but we're in the fourth quarter, we kicked off, the ball went to Randy White who was in the wedge. He had a broken thumb and wasn't able to hang onto the ball. I actually had the ball on the fumble recovery, but Dennis Winston ended up with it. He took it away from me under the pile. We got up, we were up 35-17, they scored and onside kicked the ball right to me. I said I was going to be the hero, I'm going to close this game. It bounced right off my shoulder pad and they got it and scored again and made it 35-31, so there were about 20 seconds left and another onside kick. I didn't want to be the hero then. I said I hope they kick it to someone else and Rocky Bleier ended up getting it and we closed the game out. It was a great memory. I talked to the team a little bit about that. Even though I was a backup player, I only played there two years, only started two games, and really pretty much had a nondescript career, that anytime we have a reunion, 10 years, 20 years, 25 years, when we have the 30 year reunion, I'm going to be invited even though my role wasn't that big. I still played on a championship team and that's something that you'll never forget. That's something that I want our guys to know, that everyone is important, everyone's got a role and when you win, you feel like a star even if you were or not. " 

(on if he would've been given a chance to play quarterback if his playing days had come a little later)
"It's interesting, I heard all the things about the NFL being different than college ball and I thought that was the case when I got converted to safety. I understand that the guys are bigger in the NFL and I played against Bob Griese and Fran Tarkenton and I looked them right in the eye and they were playing quarterback and I wasn't. I saw different guys play that I thought I could play as well as they did. But I think at that time, especially with African-American quarterbacks, we always look at what they couldn't do and not necessarily what they could do. So you had to be someone like Doug Williams, who could do everything, before you got the 
opportunity. Now I think we look at what guys can do and try to build around that, and more guys are getting an opportunity. It would've been neat to play a little bit later and see if you could do it, but I like the career path that I had. I think the Lord was training me to be a coach anyway and not a quarterback, so it worked out." 

(on how well Colts defense has played the last couple weeks)
"We are playing better. We had two or three games at the end of the regular season where we didn't play well enough to win and that was disappointing to all of us. I think the guys made up their minds in the playoffs just to do what we're capable of doing. We got a few guys back and healthy which helped us. But more than anything, it was just playing fast, playing under control and doing what we're capable of. We knew it was going to take three or four games on the road - you couldn't just have one good game and one off day. I'm proud of them for the way they bounced back and really just playing the way they can play." 

(on thoughts of being with 49ers and what he took away from that year)
"I took a little bit from everything and looking back on it, I can see how the Lord was really preparing me to be a coach. I went into Pittsburgh with Coach Noll, they were in the middle of a championship run. I saw very quickly what a championship team looks like - the things that you did, how coach Noll spreads fundamentals and just being the same day in and day out. Then I got traded to San Francisco. It was Coach Walsh's first year and we won two games that year, but you could see him putting the groundwork together, the things he really believed in. What I saw in that year, even though we were 2-14, nothing could make him waiver from what he believed in. I believe in the short passing game, I believe in being precise, I believe in getting quality players who believe in the system. That taught me a lot, it was really the ground level of how to build a championship team and I probably relied on that more in my first couple years in Tampa than I did in my Pittsburgh experience." 

(Getty Images/Scott Halleran)
(on Bud Grant's influence as a coach and if time management was a factor)
"Time management was definitely one of those factors. Coach Grant put together some outstanding teams. They were very good year in and year out. He believed in consistency and getting good ball players who were good people and allowing them to play. I looked at that, but I also saw a guy who could win, who was very well rounded who did other things, who spent time with his family. They were always the last team to go into training camp, that's one of the things I've tried to do to be fresh at the end of the year. A lot of things like that had an impact on me. Being around Coach Grant when I was in college, playing for Coach Noll, you can be very, very good at what you do and lead a somewhat normal life away from football and that was very important to my professional growth." 

(on the game being decided by Bears offense vs. the Colts defense rather than the reverse)
"I wouldn't be shocked at all. I think the other four units, both special teams and our defense and the Bears offense - I think that's what's going to determine the game. It always turns out that way. We talked about that in the playoffs, that our defense was going to have to step up, and they did in these three games. You never know how it's going to go, but we're confident that we can do well in any type of game. We played an all-field goals game against Baltimore and won it. We played a game where we had to get 30 points in the second half against New England and we won that one. We're comfortable playing any way." 

(on players who were integral to the team, but can't compete due to injury)
"You feel bad about that. Anthony McFarland went through that in Tampa - where he was a starter - a big part of it and got hurt. He enjoyed it, but it really wasn't the same, not playing. But that's the message I've had for the team all the way through the playoffs. Don't assume you're going to get back, there are a lot of guys here that would love to be in this that don't have the chance, so we've got to take advantage of it." 

(on comparing Marvin Harrison as one of the all-time great receivers)
"When I came (to the Colts), I knew (Marvin Harrison) was a very good player. I didn't realize how great he was, and then watching him in practice and seeing him play the last five years, he's as good as anybody who's ever played. I try to think of Lynn Swann and John Stallworth, who I saw every day, and Cris Carter, who I saw everyday for four years. Marvin is in that same caliber. He just is exceptional. I didn't see Jerry Rice day in and day out, but other than that, he's better than anybody that I've been around." 

(on Marvin Harrison's numbers in the postseason being low)
"I think people go in, when I was a defensive coordinator that's how I went into big games, saying we've got to make sure that the number one weapon doesn't beat you. When we played games like that, other people have had to step up, that's how New England went in. They rolled the coverage over top of Marvin just about every play. He caught some balls, but it really opened up the middle of the field and we knew in the second half that we were going to have to work the middle of the field and Dallas Clark, our running backs and Ben Utecht were able to do that (and Brian Fletcher). I think it's just a matter of Peyton (Manning) doing what it takes. Marvin's had some big games when he's gotten single coverage. If we get single coverage, he'll catch a lot of balls. If we don't, then the other guys are going to have to catch them." 

(on rookie impact this season)
"In this day and age, you have to have your young people come in and play specific roles for you. That's been the case since the salary era got going. Fortunately Bill Polian believes that, we've got coaches that believe that. They are not looking for veteran players. We haven't been a team that's gone after a lot of veteran free agents. We try to pick guys knowing what they can do for us and then it's the coach's job to get them going. We've got a great assistant coaching staff and those guys allow the players to get going early and we have that expectation and I think that helps. When we lost Edgerrin James, there was no question that Joseph Addai was going to have to play a big role for us and Gene Huey did a great job getting him ready and that's what it takes." 

(on personality style difference of Dungy and Bill Polian)
"I think the Lord put us together for a reason. It's kind of like a marriage where opposites attract. I think it's been very good. He's been good for me to give me a little more sense of urgency and I think I've been good for him to make him a little more patient. I think we balance off each other very well, but it's fun. We've had very few, if any, disputes on how we want to go, how we want to progress with the team. I think it's been a good balance. I've really, really enjoyed working with him and he's been good for me." 

(on pros and cons of facing Lovie Smith and Lovie having an advantage)
"No, I don't think there is really any advantage. The one thing the both of us know is that neither team is going to change much. We're going to try to be fundamentally sound and do what we do. There is not going to be much trickery. It's going to be who is going to be able to execute their game plan the 
best. I don't think from a strategy standpoint that it's going to matter at all." 

(on Lovie characterizing Sunday's game by being a game like two brothers playing on-on-one)
"It's just very similar, that's exactly right. Whenever you play against your brother, you want him to do well, but you want to win. I think back to Michael Jordan and he talked about playing his sons and wanting to let them win, but then when it got 9-9, he had to go ahead and make that basket because you never ever want to let that family member beat you. That's the way it is, but you're also happy that he's there. On this big stage, I wouldn't want anybody else to be there other than Lovie because I have so much respect for him and he's done a great job. So it's going to be very similar to that." 

(on offensive coordinator Tom Moore not having higher national profile)
"Tom doesn't have a higher national profile because he doesn't want one. He's very quick to give everyone else the credit, to deflect the credit. He's done a great job for 30 years in the NFL and he's done a great job with Peyton. I think because the fact that he's old school and he's a ball coach, that that's what he wants to 
do, that's why he doesn't have a great profile. He's a tremendous coach and has been for 30 years." 

(on Tom Moore recruiting Dungy)
"He came and met me at my high school in 1973 and showed me a videotape of what this offense was all about. He said, "Here's what happens, you go to the line of scrimmage, I give you three or four plays, you look at the defense and if you see this, you do that." And I watched that video and I thought, wow, this would be fun, that's what I've always wanted to do and he sold me on that. He worked with me and developed me as a quarterback, as a thinker and helped me develop as a person. No question I wouldn't be here today without working under Tom for those four years in college."


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