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The Hall of Fame case for former Colts head coach Tony Dungy

Taking a look at the Hall of Fame case for Tony Dungy, the former Colts head coach who is a finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2016. The class will be announced on Saturday, February 6, 2016.

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The Indianapolis Colts have three people represented among the Hall of Fame finalists this year.  The franchise's leading receiver in Marvin Harrison, their leading rusher in Edgerrin James, and last but not least, their winningest coach in Tony Dungy.

Dungy's career as an NFL head coach wasn't as long as many others, but he made the most of it.  In 13 seasons, Dungy went 139-69, good for a career .668 winning percentage - a mark that ranks 12th all-time.  Eight of the eleven coaches ahead of Dungy in terms of career winning percentage (minimum of 50 games) are in the Hall of Fame, while two of the other three coached five seasons or less.  Dungy spent six seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1996-2001) and then seven seasons with the Indianapolis Colts (2002-2008), making the playoffs in eleven out of 13 seasons.  He won a Super Bowl with the Colts, and his 10.7 average wins per season ranks first in NFL history among coaches who coached at least five seasons.  Dungy is a member of the Colts' Ring of Honor and was named as a second-team member of the NFL's All-Decade Team of the 2000s (Bill Belichick was ahead of him).

During his tenure in Indianapolis, the Colts were consistently among the best teams in football.  Dungy compiled a phenomenal 85-27 record in Indy (.759), winning over three-fourths of his games during his seven seasons there.  Furthermore, in each of his seasons with the Colts they made the playoffs, while in six of them the Colts won at least 12 games.  They won five division titles, an AFC Championship, and a Super Bowl title as well during Dungy's tenure there.  He became the first African-American head coach to win a Super Bowl, as well as just the third to win a Super Bowl both as a player and as a coach.

Though his time with Tampa Bay wasn't as statistically impressive, the job he did with the franchise was still nothing short of tremendous.  He took over one of the worst and most miserable franchises in football and turned them into a contender.  In the 20 years of Buccaneers history before Dungy arrived, the franchise had just two 8+ win seasons and only one double-digit victory season.  In Dungy's six seasons in Tampa Bay, they won at least eight games in five of them and won double-digit games in three of them.  After a 6-10 first season, the Buccaneers wound up making the playoffs in four of the next five seasons and made the NFC Championship game in 1999, holding the "Greatest Show on Turf" Rams offense to just 11 points, though falling short.  The job that Dungy did in turning around the franchise shouldn't be ignored either.

Furthermore, Dungy's notable accomplishments make his case even stronger.  As already mentioned, he was the first African-American head coach to win a Super Bowl, a landmark achievement.  He helped create the "Tampa 2" defense, and he is now known as the conscience of the NFL as one of the most respected figures in and around the game.  Dungy helped completely turn around the Buccaneers franchise and had outstanding success with the Indianapolis Colts.  He has now been a Hall of Fame finalist in all three years of eligibility, which is a very good sign for his eventual chances of getting in.  With that said, however, it wouldn't at all be a surprise to see him have to wait a little longer.  He has a strong case for being inducted and it seems that the voters think so as well, meaning that it is likely that Dungy will eventually be a Hall of Famer.  It remains to be seen, however, just how long it will take for him to get in.