INDIANAPOLIS, IN - JANUARY 31: NBC studio analyst Tony Dungy looks on during the Super Bowl XLVI Broadcasters Press Conference at the Super Bowl XLVI Media Canter in the J.W. Marriott Indianapolis on January 31, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
It's probably safe to say that when Tony Dungy retired from coaching in 2009, that was when things began to fall apart. Oh sure, the Colts made the Super Bowl the year after he retired, but that was just a one-time flash not unlike Bill Callahan getting the Raiders to the Super Bowl the year after Jon Gruden was sent to the Buccaneers. Dungy's absence left a major void in terms of coaching, public relations, and in player development.
Today, word came out of Anderson, IN (where the Colts are opening their 2012 training camp) that Tony Dungy will be returning to assist the franchise that he coached to a Super Bowl victory in 2007:
#Colts owner Jim Irsay having ex-HC Tony Dungy at Anderson University for first practice. Will spend time with Chuck Pagano.— Mike Chappell (@mchappell51) July 28, 2012
Ex-HC Tony Dungy expected to give #colts HC Chuck Pagano advice/suggestions on varoius topics. Will be nice to see Tony. Blast from past.— Mike Chappell (@mchappell51) July 28, 2012
It's interesting that this request from Irsay is happening now after an offseason which saw the Colts owner fire pretty much everyone in the Colts organization that had any connection to Dungy, including the man Dungy groomed as his successor: Jim Caldwell.
Having Dungy at the first practice will certainly be exciting for some of the older players who cut their teeth during his time as head coach. Few people can work a room like Dungy, and few coaches have such a lasting impact on an NFL franchise.
Smart move by Irsay.