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Tony Dungy, coaching genius

Returning from his son's funeral to coach a game against the Cardinals, Mike Doss and the Colts defense stopped Arizona on 4th and goal to win the game. Doss ran over to the sideline after recovering the game-winning fumble, and handed Dungy the game ball; a powerful memory in the minds of many Colts fans.
I was depressed yesterday (and I'm still saddened today) regarding the news about Sean Taylor. I didn't have much drive to blog. I bummed around the Colts blogosphere, reading articles here and there. I remember, roughly two years ago, when Tony Dungy's son died, and his death made me feel the same as Taylor's. I came across a post over at 18 to 88 that discussed Dungy's coaching and how he (compared to other coaches) is probably the most innovative coach in the NFL right now. Dungy gets a tremendous amount of attention and respect because of his character. He's always called a great man, but you hardly ever see people call him an innovative or great coach:
I was glad to hear the conversation about "Is Dungy a genius?". Listen, he's added more innovation to the game than Holmgren or Billick. His record is far superior. He's one Super Bowl away from being mentioned with the greatest to ever coach the game. He definitely deserves as much credit for being a great coach as those two. Listen, he gets lots of love from the media, but always for being a great man. That's wonderful, and ultimately the more important reason to be praised; I'm just saying that he deserves props for his ability as a coach. At the end of this season, we'll update the numbers for his Hall of Fame credentials. This year has been one of his finest jobs. It's easy to forget that this great defense he has installed is starting players who have almost exclusively only ever played for Indianapolis, and is featuring new starters at a boatload of positions.
I personally think that Dungy and Belichick are the two coaching greats of their respective generations. Belichick has three rings, but Dungy managed to do what Belichick couldn't: Make two different clubs contenders. Belichick was nothing until a 6th round pick named Tom Brady fell into his lap. Dungy got to the NFC title game (and nearly won it) with Shaun King as his QB.

I'm glad some are discussing Dungy's greatness as a coach. For years, morons, idiots, jerk-offs, and schmuckzillas questioned his ability to coach. Anyone who did this simply didn't know anything about football (Gregg Easterbrook, Bill Simmons, the entire ESPN NFL Countdown crew, most Boston-based writers, Mike Florio, and Terry Bradshaw), and any further opinions about football from these idiot hacks should be dismissed outright.

Dungy's first Super Bowl win validated what most of the intelligent world already knew: That Tony D was a great coach as well as a great man. He's brought more innovation to this game than any other coach in the modern era. Several NFL clubs use the Cover 2 defense he "created" along with Monte Kiffin, and you are seeing many clubs adopt the no-huddle offense he perfected with Tom Moore and Peyton Manning. New England, Cincy, and Pittsburgh all run a variation of Indy's offense now, and contrary to what many think, Dungy had a strong hand in perfecting Tom Moore's offense.

The NFL has taken notice, replacing Bill Bilichick's mug in the copyright ads they run ("This telecast is copyrighted by the NFL, and is expressly..."). In the old video, Bilichick was montaged with Vince Lombardi and Bill Walsh. Now, Tony Dungy is in there with Walsh and Lombardi, sans Bilichick. I'm sure that livens up New England fans. I'm sure we all give a crap.

It's nice to see Dungy get the respect he's always deserved, and I agree with Deshawn Zombie that this season has been Dungy's best as a coach. The team has been hit hard with injuries. They lost numerous key players in the off-season and pre-season. Freeney is now gone for the year. Yet, despite all these loses, the Colts are as tough and good as we've ever seen them. Even without Freeney, this defense is scary good. And when guys like Marvin and Ugoh get healthy, you know #18 is going to want to get in his groove.

That's all a tribute to Dungy: Coaching genius, and a great man.