Tomlin One of Four Former Dungy Assistants Now Head Coaching in the NFL
INDIANAPOLIS – Tony Dungy always figured it would happen.
And when Mike Tomlin did get a head coaching job, and now that is in his second season running a division-leading team, Dungy – in his seventh season as the Colts' head coach – didn't and doesn't bother hiding his pleasure.
Tomlin, the head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers, is one of four former Dungy assistants currently working as the head coach of an NFL team.
And Dungy said there is a pride in his former assistant's success. A great deal of it.
"It is great," Dungy said this week as the Colts (4-4) prepared to play the Steelers (6-2) at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pa., Sunday at 4:15 p.m.
"You always think you're a pretty good judge of talent, and you hire people that you think are pretty good. To see other people hire them after you do, it makes you feel good, especially for the African-American guys that have gotten a chance, an opunity.
"Mike, I don't think, got any special privileges, any special treatment, it's just that people got the opportunity to see how good he was, and that's great."
Herm Edwards, who coached under Dungy from 1996-2000 in Tampa Bay, coached the New York Jets to playoff appearances in 2001, 2002 and 2004. He is currently in his third season as the Kansas City Chiefs' head coach, having coached the Chiefs to a playoff appearance in 2006.
Lovie Smith, who coached under Dungy in Tampa from 1996-2000, is in his fifth season as the Chicago Bears' head coach, having coached the Bears to Super Bowl XLI and playoff appearances following the 2005 and 2006 seasons.
Rod Marinelli, who coached under Dungy from 1996-2001 in Tampa Bay, is in his third season as the head coach of the Detroit Lions.
Tomlin, in his second season as the Steelers' head coach, coached under Dungy in 2001 when Dungy was the head coach at Tampa Bay.
The Steelers won the AFC North last season's, Tomlin's first.
"Mike was one of those guys who really understood the game," Dungy said. "He was very smart, and he had a great way of communicating to his players. He was the guy you could tell was smart without him telling you he was smart.
"I just felt very quickly on that he was going to do some special things, and he has."
Dungy is 5-2 against former assistants, having lost to the Jets (Edwards) in the 2002 playoffs and the Bears (Smith) in the regular-season opener this season. The Colts beat the Jets (Edwards) in 2003, the Bears in 2004 and in Super Bowl XLI (Smith) and the Chiefs in the 2006 playoffs and last regular season.
The Colts will play the Lions on December 14.
In other Colts news, Dungy on Thursday discussed the need to continue the improved efficiency and penalty avoidance it showed against the New England Patriots this past Sunday. After being penalized 28 times in the previous three games, the Colts were penalized once – and assessed no yardage – against New England.
"It's concentration and it's (being) technique-sound to a certain extent, trying to do things right," Dungy said. "It was a big part of us winning the game. There weren't many penalties in that game against New England, but the one that hurt was obviously the one they got for the late hit,
"It was kind of an effort penalty. You couldn't really fault (Patriots tight end David) Thomas at all. It was just one of those things that happened, but if you can avoid free yardage, and giving the team extra downs, it certainly helps.
"From that standpoint, it was a good day – not beating ourselves."
Also on Thursday, the Colts released their second injury report of the week, with safety Bob Sanders (not injury-related/rested), cornerback Kelvin Hayden (hamstring), tackle Ryan Diem (ankle), wide receiver Roy Hall (knee) and tight end Tom Santi (shoulder) listed as not participating in practice and defensive tackle Dan Muir (hamstring) was listed as being limited.
Also this week, the Colts awarded game balls to wide receiver Anthony Gonzalez (offense), safety Bob Sanders (defense) and kicker Adam Vinatieri (special teams) for the team's 18-15 victory over New England Sunday.