This edition of The Last Word is all about Indy! Jeffrey Gorman, Bob Lamey, Jimmy Matis and Matt Taylor chat about the Indy 500 this weekend with Ed Carpenter, Marco Andretti, AJ Allmendinger and JR Hildebrand. The boys also give their thoughts on the Pacers winning tonight’s big game two against the Heat in Miami.
Show starts today at 6PM on 1070 The Fan, 107.5 FM, and 1070thefan.com!
Posted in Colts Blog
ESPN.com is doing a series on the “Greatest Coaches in NFL History” as part of a commemoration of the 100th anniversary of Vince Lombardi’s birthday.
A group of their best NFL people (one of whom, deservedly, is Bill Polian) comprises the voting panel, and checking in as the 20th-Greatest in their opinion is Tony Dungy.
First off, I am glad Tony is honored. Secondly, I wish he were rated higher. That is my brain and heart speaking.
Tony was my seventh head coach as a Colts publicist. The wonder of that number – seven – was in evidence every day around him.
Tony is one of the few people whose reality far exceeds the image. He does it daily, honestly and easily.
The quote Bum Phillips once made about Earl Campbell holds true for Tony, “I don’t know if he’s in a class by himself, but whatever class he’s in, it don’t take long to call the roll.”
Passed over multiple times in head coaching interviews, Dungy joined Tampa Bay in 1996 and led the Buccaneers to the playoffs four times, once to the NFC Championship game.
He was dismissed in 2001 after consecutive first-round playoff losses, and Jim Irsay hired Tony to be our head coach quickly after that.
Tony’s power and grace could be felt immediately as he entered the building. The smart suit and gold cross on the label were indicators of the man.
His first team address came in normal conversational tone, and he let the players know he never would speak at any higher volume. He never did.
Once when a fracas erupted on the practice field, Tony told players that while he could not prevent fighting in that venue that he did control who played in games. There were no more incidents.
Tony could convey more with less than anyone I’ve seen, and his ability to draw things from within was a special gift.
On more than one occasion, opposing players expressed their regard for him as a coach and person (NFL Films once captured Randy Moss, then with New England, doing so in a very genuine way).
People outside the club asked what it was like working with Tony, and the typical response was, “It’s better than can be explained, and we get to be around him every day.”
Football is a sport of numbers and people, but numbers at the time of his retirement revealed only a bit of his greatness:
- Overall record of 148-79 with a 65.2 winning percentage.
- 148 victories ranked 19th-best in NFL history.
- Had 66.8 regular-season winning percentage (139-69).
- Was 85-27 in regular season with Colts, 92-33 counting playoffs (the winningest Colts head coach).
- One of six head coaches to win 100+ regular-season games in first 10 years of career.
- Directed 11-of-13 teams into the playoffs, reaching three conference title games and one Super Bowl (Super Bowl XLI, where he became the first African-American winner).
- Only Colts head coach with 10+ wins and playoff appearances in each of first seven years.
- Had 10 career double-digit victory seasons and was first coach to defeat all 32 NFL teams.
- Earned 10 consecutive playoff appearances (1999-2001, Tampa Bay; 2002-08, Colts) to surpass Tom Landry (9) for the most by an NFL coach since 1970.
- Earned seven straight 10+-victory seasons (2002-08), tying then the second-longest NFL streak.
- From 2003-08, earned six straight seasons with 11-plus wins, tying the NFL mark, while setting the league standard for the most consecutive seasons with 12-plus victories.
- Only NFL coach to win at least seven consecutive games in five straight seasons (2004-08).
- Won five straight AFC South titles (2003-07).
After a particularly galling 27-point loss at Jacksonville in 2006 where the team allowed 375 rushing yards, Tony stood firmly (even proactively going on network television) to convey we had the players and scheme to win.
Seven games later, the Colts were World Champions and he was hoisting the Lombardi Trophy. Without Tony’s leadership, it would not have happened.
From the Chuck Noll influence (with perhaps more than a bit of Tom Moore), Dungy left a great coaching tree, two of whom on it having Colts connections – Jim Caldwell and Leslie Frazier.
There were so many private moments I had with Tony in seven (there’s that number again) years that will last a lifetime.
Maybe my favorite came after the 2007 season when we had a playoff loss at San Diego and there were rumors he would retire to go about his life’s work.
It was back in Indianapolis and he was heading out of the building to return home to meet with his family. In passing as he was about to reach the door, I stopped Tony to convey what I could in words about what he meant to me in case the next time I saw him would be in a non-working capacity.
He offered thanks and a hug. Then, conveying a message without a word – a wink. I knew he was coming back. We smiled and I told no one the secret.
The way Tony molded players and affected lives is something that spans far beyond any numbers he achieved. It is a gift that keeps on giving, for me and I bet many others.
I will make sure to see the coaches the ESPN panel picks ahead of Tony. I guarantee there will be no finer man. It won’t even be close.
As Ron Meyer would say, “Call off the dogs and (put) out the fire, that hunt is over.”
Tags: Bill Polian, Bum Phillips, Chuck Noll, Earl Campbell, indianapolis colts, Jim Caldwell, Jim Irsay, Leslie Frazier, Tom Landry, Tom Moore, Tony Dungy, Vince Lombardi
Posted in Colts Blog
Each morning Colts.com will take a look at the top headlines surrounding the Indianapolis Colts from around the globe. What is the local and national media saying about the Colts?
Take a look below at the top five pieces from Friday, May 24th.
By: Staff, Indianapolis Star
Thanks to a tremendous 2012-2013 seasons for a pair of Indianapolis finest professional athletes, the state capitol is starting to garner some attention with Andrew Luck and Paul George.
The Indianapolis Star ranked the top 26 city duos taking into consideration players 26-years and younger in the four major sports.
The duo of Luck and George find themselves No. 3 on the list behind San Francisco’s Buster Posey and Colin Kapernick and Washington D.C.’s Robert Griffin III and Bryce Harper.
Here is the analysis of Luck and George:
Luck (23): A Pro Bowler in his rookie season, the No. 1 overall pick in 2012 was tabbed as the best quarterback prospect since John Elway. Not bad company. Luck set a rookie record for passing yards in a single game (433 vs. Miami) and recorded the most wins by a No. 1 overall pick in his rookie season leading the Colts to the postseason. Colts fans were spoiled with Peyton Manning, but Luck has helped ease the pain of No. 18’s departure… and then some.
George (23): After showing glimpses of his All-Star potential in his first two seasons, George broke through in 2013 earning All-NBA third team, the NBA’s Most Improved Player and an All-Star apperance in guiding the Pacers to the Central Division title and Eastern Conference finals. Danny Granger’s injury thrust George into a more prominent role and the Fresno State product has been more than up to the challenge.
By: Tom James, Terre Haute Tribune-Star
James followed in a similar fashion to the pieces we saw yesterday on the Colts Wednesday OTA open to the media.
He mentions about Luck finally being able to take part in all of the Colts OTA schedule, along with the quarterback’s high praise for new wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey.
“Darrius had been great. He’s been a great addition. He has great speed, obviously, and he’s got a real knack for football,” he said. “He’s played a lot of football and he understands situations. He’s a good force in the wide receiver rotation. He’s done a phenomenal job so far.”
James provides a brief update on who didn’t participate in Wednesday’s OTA and talks about running backs coach David Walker’s assessment of the running back position.
By: Paul Kuharsky, ESPN AFC South Blog
ESPN is in the process of a project that ranks the top 20 coaches in NFL history.
At No. 20 checks former Colts leader Tony Dungy.
The piece highlights Dungy’s greatest accomplishment of helping the Colts capture Super Bowl XLI.
Kuharsky points out an excerpt from the book “The Power of Habit” that mentions Dungy.
“Champions don’t do extraordinary things,” Dungy would explain. “They do ordinary things, but they do them without thinking, too fast for the other team to react. They follow the habits they’ve learned.”
Tags: Andrew Luck, David Walker, Delone Carter, donald brown, Tony Dungy, vick ballard
Posted in Colts Blog, COLTS DAILY HEADLINES
The NFL is an ever-changing league.
New offensive and defensive schemes are implemented every year with trends and fads making for endless nights for coaches around the NFL.
One of those tendencies has caused for deeper and deeper backfields in the recent years.
Personnel departments all over the NFL know the need for more than one reliable threat in the running game and position coaches echo the same notion
“Most people are going to use two, if not three (running backs), unless you are fortunate enough to coach in Minnesota where you give one guy (Adrian Peterson) the ball the majority of the time,” Colts running backs coach David Walker said earlier this week.
Last season the Colts utilized a trio of backs who carried the ball at least 32 times.
Injuries late in the season forced Walker to rely heavily on Vick Ballard and while the rookie was extremely productive, his running backs coach knows that for long-term success a stable of runners is needed.
“We’ve got a group of guys that have different skill sets but within the realm of offense, they all can be solid contributors,” Walker said.
“So whenever your number is called, be ready to contribute and play to a high standard. We don’t really look to what guys can’t do, we look to what guys can do and put them into situations where they can have success.”
In 2012, Brown began the season as the starter but a knee injury forced Ballard into the No. 1 role, where he thrived.
Walker knows that the guy who is getting 20+ carries in September might not be in the fold later in the season.
It’s life in the NFL and to prepare for that Walker feels the Colts have a trio of established backs that will each hear their number called in 2013.
“We’ve got a good group and really we’ve got to continue to develop the third guy because just like last year and the season before, at some point, whoever is third on our depth chart is going to be starting a football game and helping us have to win,” Walker said.
“What we realize is we’re going to need three very capable backs to get us through the season.”
Tags: David Walker, Delone Carter, donald brown, vick ballard
Posted in Colts Blog