There are a few coaches that are eligible to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2014. None of them, however, deserve the vote more than Tony Dungy.
Dungy coached in the NFL from 1981, starting as a defensive backs coach for the Pittsburgh Steelers, until 2008 as the head coach of the Indianapolis Colts. As well as the Steelers and Colts, Dungy coached for the Kansas City Chiefs, Minnesota Vikings and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Prior to being a coach, Dungy played safety for the Steelers and was a part of the Super Bowl XIII-winning team.
As a coach, Dungy won the 2006 AFC Championship and Super Bowl XLI. In 2010, he was inducted into the Indianapolis Colts’ Ring of Honor. When he led the Colts to a Super Bowl victory in 2006, he became the first African American coach to do so, and joined Mike Ditka and Tom Flores as the only people to win a Super Bowl as both players and coaches.
But Tony Dungy was more than just a coach.
He is widely remembered for his role as a mentor and leader, not just a guy that got in his players faces and yelled at them when they made a mistake on the field. He didn’t belittle or scream at his players. Instead, he took mistakes and helped players learn from them.
Dungy stresses that coaches should be teachers and should put faith and family ahead of football, something that many have trouble with today. He was a players’ coach, and was there for them through thick and thin both on and off the playing field.
The perfect example of his involvement in a player’s life is Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick. Dungy would often visit Vick while he was in prison and became a father figure in his life. Vick attributes much of the man he is today to the help and guidance that Dungy gave him.
When the voters gather to place their ballots for the 2014 Hall of Fame class, Tony Dungy deserves to be at the top of their list.