Tony Sparano Jr. grew up around football, following his dad from coaching stop to coaching stop across the country. His father, Tony Sparano, spent nearly three decades in the NFL as either an offensive line coach, tight ends coach, offensive coordinator and head coach.
All the while, Sparano Jr. was watching how his dad coached. Now in his 13th year as an NFL coach, Sparano Jr. is still heavily influenced by his dad, who died in 2018.
"I remember my dad was always really passionate," Sparano Jr. said. "He wasn't someone that was going to yell and scream and demean guys. My dad loves his players and was always really, really appreciative of the amount that they sacrifice in playing the game.
"And so the biggest thing I took away from it was the relationships he had with the players and how he was always eager to correct them, to help them get better as opposed to demean or disrespect in any way just showed me a different way that things could be done. It's something I believe in a lot.
"... You're not going to hear me out there swearing at guys and doing all that. That's not my style"
With the Colts, Sparano will be tasked with coaching an offensive line that both has talent but also collectively didn't play up to its standard in 2022. Quenton Nelson is a three-time first-team AP All-Pro, Ryan Kelly is a three-time Pro Bowler, Braden Smith earned a contract extension before the 2021 season and Bernhard Raimann and Will Fries showed promise last season.
"I see a lot of good players that we've got to get back together playing as one group," Sparano said. "I think that's the biggest challenge is we got guys that have been good players here that have been good players in this league before and played at a high level, and then we've got some exciting young players as well that I know I have high expectations for and am eager to help develop and get their careers off the ground in a really positive way."
Sparano will go about working to get the most out of the Colts' offensive line, then, by following his father's example with a coaching style he's made into his own.
"It's the one that's most authentic to me," Sparano said. "I've always fortunately had players respond very well to it and I'm confident our guys will here as well."