Dexter Rogers

Dexter Rogers

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Indianapolis Colts have quietly set a high standard of excellence on and off the field

The Indianapolis Colts have endured a lot of changes in the off season yet many things remain the same. Peyton Manning is still there poised for another strong year. Reggie Wayne will be sharp as ever and Anthony Gonzalez is fast becoming a great receiver.

But the team lost head coach Tony Dungy to retirement. The great Marvin Harrison wasn’t resigned, which was a shock to many Colts fans. It’s hard to believe a receiver of Harrison’s stature cannot contribute at least as a third receiver.

They are some key questions with respect to the health of the team as well. Can Joseph Addai finally live up to his potential while staying healthy? Can defensive guru Bob Sanders simply get healthy and contribute consistently?

The latter will find a way to work itself out over time. But there’s a story that’s gone a bit unnoticed regarding the Indianapolis Colts off the field. We all know Tony Dungy retired after last seasons playoff exit leaving Jim Caldwell to talk over the helm.
Caldwell inherits a great team as he takes over for the soon to be Hall of Fame coach while simultaneously trying to put his stamp on the franchise.

Dungy compiled a 148-79 record including playoff games. Dungy also won at least 12 games for six consecutive seasons. That’s never been done before by any head coach in history.

But let’s move beyond the latter.

In the NFL coaches get selected one of three ways. Announcers hype up the next great coach from the collegiate ranks who may leap to the NFL. Or some former coach lurks in the wings and comes out of the commentating both to take over for a coach on the hot seat. And finally a coach retires and anoints their successor.

Without question the Colts are first rate franchise. Dungy was a great coach and he hand-picked his guy. It’s the first time in NFL history that an African American coach hand-picked his successor with the organizations blessings.

It was a little known occurrence that wasn’t talked about much in the media but it was significant. In the NFL you have coaching trees. It’s when coaches of great success have young coaches who excel under their tutelage and achieve success on their own. Bill Walsh had a tree that included Mike Holmgren, Dennis Green and Jon Gruden. Bill Parcells has a tree that included Bill Belichick and Sean Peyton. And now Tony Dungy has his tree that includes Lovie Smith, Mike Tomlin, Marvin Lewis and now Jim Caldwell.

This is significant because it demonstrates African Americans can excel in the NFL in other capacities other than being players on the field. This expands the dream formation of aspiring African Americans who want to stay in the game once the cheering stops. It’s hard to achieve that which you don’t see. We’ve seen Tony Dungy and Lovie Smith square off in a Super Bowl as head coaches. We’ve just seen Mike Tomlin win a Super Bowl last season. Now Jim Caldwell is getting his shot to lead. All of this is on Dungy’s watch and under his tree.

Without opportunity nothing is possible. Let’s not forget the Colts front office. Dungy’s tree was allowed to blossom because of Jim Irsay and the Indianapolis Colts organization. They provided Dungy the opportunity to work his magic and they trusted his judgment in running the team his way. The Colts organization has quietly set an example of inclusion.

Dungy didn’t get the head coaching job because he was an African American. He was selected because he was the best man for the job who happened to be African American. Much applause goes to the Indianapolis Colts organization. They’ve set a high standard of excellence on the field by recently winning a Super Bowl and off the field by selecting the best men for the job irrespective of color.

1 comment:

Capitão N said...

It shows a perfect organization about this team. Colsts fans hope this job to give us the SB one more time. NandoMachado16.