Yesterday was a very sad day for football fans as Tony Dungy announced his retirement as the coach of the Indianapolis Colts. For the last couple years it was speculated that Tony would walk away while still at the top of the league. He is noted as the first African-American coach to win a Super Bowl, and he has led his teams to the playoffs for 10 straight years, and the Colts won at least 12 games for the last several years. He has been the model of consistency and class both on the field and off. Dungy, an outspoken Christian, is also one of the few universally respected and honored coaches in the NFL. Interviews with former players are a testimony to the character of their coach, because no one can ever say anything bad about him. He treated people with respect, and while being a very demanding coach never belittled people and worked to bring out the best in people by motivation rather than fear. He is still beloved in Tampa where he was fired (probably one of the biggest GM mistakes pre-Detroit Lions), and has an immense impact on any community he is part of. For Tony, football was temporary. Football was something he loved but it was not the primary focus of his life. He could walk away at any time knowing that his life had a greater purpose to it. It is a great day to celebrate his legacy but we as football fans mourn because one of the best representatives of what is good in sports is gone.
In the era of Plaxico Burress getting his gun off on himself in a club and PacMan still managing to find a way to get himself in trouble with his love of strippers and shootings, the steroid era where baseball itself was compromised, betting circles and point shaving, and everything else that is wrong with professional sports these days, thank you Tony for showing us that there is some good left in the game and the joy that can come from doing something you love