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Hall of Fame: The Case for Tony Dungy

What stands out on Dungy's resume and why it's often difficult for a coach to get into Canton



]( --- This is the third year of eligibility for Colts Super Bowl winning head coach Tony Dungy to be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, with Dungy being a finalist each of those three years. Not only that, but inside the Selection Committee room, Dungy took another step closer to getting into the Hall last year by surviving the first cut of 15 finalists down to 10, something he didn't do in his first year of eligibility.

The first African-American head coach to win the Super Bowl has an impressive resume. Among head coaches with at least 50 wins, Dungy's winning percentage of .668 is 9th all-time, with all but one coach above him on that list already in the Hall of Fame. Dungy's winning percentage is also still better than Patriots head coach Bill Belichick (.664).

Among coaches with at least 5 years in the NFL, Dungy averaged 10.7 wins per season, the best mark in NFL history. Dungy also racked up 11 playoff appearances in 13 years as a head coach in Tampa Bay and Indianapolis.

Tony Dungy won 139 games as a head coach from 1996-2008. As the head coach of the Colts from 2002-2008, his 85 wins were 2nd only to the Patriots (86). Overall, Tony Dungy's teams from 1996-2008 were also second with those 139 wins, again behind only the Patriots (140).

Dungy's 9 playoff wins from 1996-2008 with the Colts and Buccaneers would be good for 4th over that span, behind only the Patriots, Steelers, and Eagles. In just his years with the Colts, Dungy's 7 playoff wins is tied for 3rd over that span.


The other Hall of Fame factor with Tony Dungy is the seemingly universal respect the NFL community has for him, which has continued into his time as an analyst for Football Night in America on NBC.

Dungy was the man who met with Michael Vick while in prison and vouched for him to get a 2nd chance in the NFL, during a time when it was extremely unpopular to have that opinion. After retiring from the Colts, his prison ministry took up much of his time. It's why NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell asked Dungy to continue his mentorship of Vick as his comeback developed.

Colts UpClose analyst Jim Sorgi had his own story to tell about Dungy's leadership.

"The numbers speak for themselves - the winning seasons, the division championships, and all that. It's all the other stuff too. The leader of men," said the former Colts quarterback. "After my rookie season, I found out I had a labral tear in my right shoulder...He comes and sits right down next to me and says, '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. When you're ready, come back to football.'"


Sorgi said the conversation went even deeper than that.

"We sat there for like 15-20 minutes talking about everything other than football," said Sorgi. "This was my head football coach in the NFL, essentially a business. I think that's what makes him so special."


What could make it difficult for Dungy to get it into Canton this year is the fact that he is not categorized the same way as former Colts General Manager Bill Polian when he was enshrined last year.

Polian was classified as a Contributor, nominated by a separate Contributor Committee. As a coach, Dungy is grouped with players as one of the 15 Modern-Era Finalists. Only five of those Modern-Era Finalists are enshrined each season.

"Let's say you're trying to compare Marvin Harrison, a wide receiver, with Alan Faneca or whatever, a guard or defensive lineman. Now, you throw a coach into the mix," said Indy Sports Central writer and Hall of Fame Selection Committee member Mike Chappell. "It's difficult, because at your core, you want to say you value players more than coaches."

Chappell did say Dungy graduating past the first cut to the final ten last year works in his favor this year, but the format makes it difficult for coaches.

"Does he get in? I don't know," said Chappell. "You're trying to weigh the value of a coach against players. Players generally get the nod over that."

Chappell will present in front of the Committee for Marvin Harrison and Edgerrin James. The member from Tampa Bay will do so for Tony Dungy.

The Annual Pro Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee Meeting will be held on Saturday, February 6, 2016, in San Francisco when the 46-person Selection Committee meets to elect the Class of 2016.

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