For the first time since the 2001 NFL season, Indianapolis Colts fans will no longer bear witness to the man whom can be attributed nearly all of the success that the last seven years has brought Indianapolis. In a small way, seeing Tony Dungy on the sidelines at all was a small victory for the Colts.
Dungy was the man. There was and is no simpler way to describe it. He brought dedication, maturity, responsibility, and success to an organization so starved since its fabled days in Baltimore.
A devout Christian, Tony preached camaraderie, ethics, and morals in the locker room—on the football field he preached respect, behavior, and success. Tony was the epitome of what Indianapolis needed—that is, the Colts were in need of a rallying point; someone they could lean on to provide great insight on and off the football field.
Regardless, that fabled face will no longer grace the sidelines of the Lucas Oil Stadium in the 2009-2010 NFL season; but not to say there won’t be similarities.
In his stead, the Colts hired longtime Dungy assistant, Jim Caldwell. While Caldwell, emotional and candid, and Dungy, calm and determined, couldn’t differ more in their sideline conduct, their philosophies vary little, if at all.
The new regime, under Caldwell, plans on utilizing most of the tools and strategies that made Dungy so successful during his term in Indianapolis. Jim Caldwell is also an outspoken religious man who believes that lessons are taught and learned with actions—not words, much as Dungy was. Perhaps one of the most intriguing aspects of Caldwell is that he—like Dungy and many before him—places as much emphasis on community assistance as on winning football games.
Indianapolis Colts Owner Jim Irsay and Team President Bill Polian’s excitement to welcome Jim Caldwell to the team as head coach is unmatched—not even by that of Indiana as a whole, which is no mean feat in itself. After the changes that have taken place in the offseason, it’s hard not to draw parallels between the Dungy-Caldwell change and the Walsh-Seifert change in San Francisco in the late 1980s.
"I really think it is kind of like that," Irsay said. "It's really about saying 'We've been great, but we need to be better, push it harder, do the things we need to do to make us better.' That's what I'm excited about."
I can tell you right now, that’s not all we as fans are excited about. However, it does seem like a good starting point, right?
- Dexter Lee [Gonzo] VSN