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Colts Players Talk: Playing For Tony Dungy

Intro: Pro Football Hall of Fame induction for the Class of 2016 is just days away. What was it like playing for head coach Tony Dungy?


INDIANAPOLIS – The arrow is pointing up for Tony Dungy's eventual induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

After making the final 15 in 2014, Dungy made it one step further last year cracking the top 10.

Is the magical number of five next up for Dungy?

That is what will be debated on Saturday night in San Francisco, where the 46 Hall of Fame selectors will vote on the 2016 Class.

Dungy’s numbers will be the center of the discussion, but what was it like to play for the coach who averaged 10.7 wins per season.

Colts linebacker Gary Brackett (2003-2011):

"I think the impact that the he had on the game of football, and not even the game of football, the impact that he had on the men and the people in the locker room and the impact those men had in the communities is all attributed to Coach Dungy.

"I believe in the saying "the speed of the leader, determines the rate of the pack." In the 2000s we had some great community leaders and that was usually because of Coach Dungy and his faith, his belief system. The Tampa 2 scheme, which he almost created, was definitely attributed to him. His unwavering faith and most importantly winning the right way, because a lot of coaches win at all costs and they don't care who they step over or how they get there and unfortunately that's a majority of the coaches in the NFL.

"It was the first time as a player you made a mistake and this guy wasn't going to scream at me. It was like, 'I let down Coach Dungy.' It was like I let down my dad type of deal. I think letting him down was just so much more meaningful. I think Coach Dungy led us in a way that made an impact around the world."

Colts cornerback Marlin Jackson (2005-2009):

"A different approach to coaching, to not take the almost "task master" approach, yelling, screaming, but a more subtle approach, built on respect and I feel like that was the most powerful thing because like a father, you wanted to play well for him. You were invested in him because you respected him as a man. He also spoke about things in a different manner, talking to us about the importance of us being role models to the young people in the community looking up to us. I didn't have too many coaches say that.

"When it comes to priorities and perspective on life, having God first and foremost, then your family, then football, you didn't hear coaches speak like that. Outside of the accolades and everything that was done on the field, he's special and unique in his nature, approach and style of being a leader and guider of men."

Colts quarterback Jim Sorgi (2004-2009):

"I think it's not only what he did on the field as a coach, the numbers speak for themselves, the winning seasons, the division championships, all that. It's the other stuff, too. I remember after my rookie season, I found out that I had a labral tear in my right shoulder. It kind of snuck up on me all of a sudden. I really couldn't throw the ball effectively. In the summer leading up to my second year, I was sitting in the Training Room, I couldn't do anything all summer. He comes and sits down right next to me and he's like, 'God put you in this position because he wanted you to spend more time with your family or work on something else in your life.' We sat there and talked for 15-20 minutes and talked about everything other than football and this was my head football coach in the NFL, essentially a business. I think that's what makes him so special in the eyes of everybody, not only what he did on the field as a coach.

"I think we all agree he could have coached a heck of a lot longer. He really cut that thing short. He knew that he wanted to spend time with his family, get into other things, help people off the field and you got to commend a guy for that."

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