The speculation is over as early Monday afternoon; Tony Dungy made the announcement that he would officially retire from the National Football League.
This announcement marks the end of the career of a man who's contributions to the sport of professional football are both limitless and inspiring.
Dungy is a former NFL defensive back who took his knowledge of the game into the coaching ranks in 1981 and has been an active part of coaching in the NFL ever since.
Highlights of his impressive coaching career include being both the defensive backs coach and the defensive coordinator for the Pittsburgh Steelers from 1981 to 1988.
He later went on to become the defensive backs coach of the Kansas City Chiefs from 1989 to 1991.
He was the defensive coordinator of the Minnesota Vikings from 1992 to 1995.
He helped revolutionize the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' defense and turned around the franchise. During his six seasons coaching in Tampa, they posted a 56-46 record that included three playoff appearances, one division championship, and one trip to the NFC Championship game in 1999.
When he became the head coach of the Indianapolis Colts in 2002, the success continued.
He posted an astounding 92-33 record with the Colts. During his seven years coaching in Indianapolis, the Colts made it to the playoffs seven times, won the division title five times, went to the AFC Championship game twice and won a Super Bowl in 2006.
In doing so, Tony Dungy became the first African-American head coach to win the Super Bowl.
The accolades do not end there.
Dungy's 139-69 record in the regular season is the highest winning percentage of any coach in NFL history. He is also the only coach in history to lead his team to the playoffs in 10 consecutive seasons.
But beyond his impressive accolades might lie the most important contributions that Tony Dungy made during his career.
He has always been known as a "nice guy". This phrase is simple, but relevant.
Unlike many coaches in the National Football League, Dungy motivated his players by the use of positive and knowledgeable encouragement.
The combination was very effective.
In instances where many coaches feel the need to get angry or animated, Dungy was always the coach to keep his cool and motivate his players with superior knowledge of the game as opposed to violent aggression.
As a result, players were more willing to play hard to win for him because they did not want to disappoint a person who meant so much to them.
At least, that was Peyton Manning's opinion of Dungy (see America's Game: The 2006 Indianapolis Colts).
The perfect example of this "quiet strength" took place during the 2006 AFC Championship game.
When the Colts fell behind 21-3, Dungy was one man who never lost faith in the ability of his players.
He continued to walk up and down the sideline and remind his players that it was still "their time". At halftime, he insured his players that they could in-fact beat the New England Patriots.
The combination of great coaching and great plays on the field resulted in a comeback unlike anything that had ever happened in the history of the NFL. The Colts rallied from 18 points down to win the AFC Championship game by the final score of 38-34. It was the largest comeback in Championship Game (or Super Bowl) history.
I'll never forget that game.
Tony Dungy will be missed by myself and fellow Colts fans around the world. I personally could never thank him enough for all that he has done for the organization.
It was Dungy that was able to harness a team full of promise and help them reach their potential.
Yes, the success of the Colts can not be limited to one man, but there is a great deal of credit due to the man who helped organize and lead such a great team to the heights that we have reached.
The NFL will miss one of the finest coaches in the history of the sport. He is without a doubt a future Hall of Famer and it will be a true honor when he is inducted.
He was a great coach and an even finer human being.
For all of his contributions to the sport of professional football and the team of the Indianapolis Colts, I have to say thank you Tony Dungy.
And god bless you...you deserve it.
Everyone please help me earn the POTD with this article, I've been working hard to get one and it would be such an honor to earn it with an article in Dungy's tribute.