January 13, 2009

Dungy retires

by Dan Bilicki In: Football

If you thought the NFL playoffs were weird, the coaching changes this offseason are getting up there too. Three times since the playoffs have started, the winningest coach active in the league has left their team. Surprising, right? Well, first, Mike Holmgren resigned from the Seahawks in a move we’ve expected all season. Then, the Broncos surprisingly dumped Mike Shanahan the next day after their stretch run collapse. Holmgren had 161 wins, Shanahan 146 and Dungy 139.

Note: In case you were wondering, next in line are Bill Belichick with 138 and Jeff Fisher with 128. I don’t see those guys getting the axe anytime soon but, then again, did anyone see the Shanahan firing coming?

Dungy leaves us with a great regular season legacy, leading his teams – the Bucs and Colts – to 11 consecutive winning seasons. His only losing season was his first as head coach – 7-9 with Tampa in 1996. But Dungy’s playoff record is rather dubious. He went 9-10 including his Super Bowl win in 2006 – the only Super Bowl he made it to. If you take away his four wins that post-season, his 5-10 record looks more like an inferior coach than one that should be lauded as a great.

In a few years, when he’s Hall-eligible, I’m sure we’ll all look back at how Dungy broke a racial barrier by becoming the first African-American coach to win the Super Bowl, but the fact is that he might have been worse than his record indicated. Coaching a team with Peyton Manning is like coaching a colleague, not a QB.

But hey, in a few years, we might even see Dungy on the sidelines again, it seems that good, “retired” coaches don’t stay that way forever, right Bill Parcels and Joe Gibbs?

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