(Dan Rooney photo courtesy of the Pittsburgh Steelers)
(Tony Dungy cover photo courtesy of the Indianapolis Colts)
Talk of Fame Network
Tony Dungy won 67 percent of his games as a head coach, was the first African-American coach to win a Super Bowl and never had fewer than 10 victories in each of his last seven seasons, retiring after a 12-4 finish. So he knows what success looks like, feels like and should be like – which means he knows what he’d tell NFL owners looking for the next Tony Dungy.
And Dungy, a Hall-of-Fame finalist for the third straight year, passed on that advice when we caught up to him on the Talk of Fame Network’s latest broadcast – essentially, telling all owners to do your homework … and follow the Pittsburgh Steelers.
“I’ve talked to owners … and they’ve called me … and they’ll say, ‘What do you think of this person or that person?’ “ said Dungy. “And I tell them — everybody that I talk to in the hiring business: ‘Go talk to Dan Rooney, and do what he does.’ It’s a pretty simply formula. Figure out what kind of team you want to have, and then look for the coach that fits that. And don’t worry about what people think; what I think; what writers think; what fans think. Get the person you’re comfortable with who’s going to give you the type of team you want, and then stick with him. It’s not that hard.’ ”
Rooney, of course, is owner of the Steelers, a franchise that’s had three head coaches in the past 46 years. Tennessee, meanwhile, has had three (including interim coach Mike Mularkey) in the past three seasons, with the Titans an example of epidemic that has swept through today’s NFL — namely, teams that look for the quick fix … then blow up the building when they fail to achieve it.
The problem, Dungy, said is as easy to remedy as it is to identify.
“I think they (owners) get so enamored with: Is this going to be a popular choice? Is this guy going to be effective? Do we need to settle our quarterback situation?,” he said. “We’ve got all these other agendas, and it’s not about that at all. It’s about who can lead your team in the way that you want it.
“I’m looking at Philadelphia now and hearing all this stuff about Chip Kelly and, ‘Well, we need someone who’s more people-friendly and gets along with people and can bring the building together.’ Well, if you knew that in the first place – if that that’s what you wanted – then maybe that wasn’t the guy to hire. It just doesn’t seem like that hard of a process to me.
“They could’ve talked to my son, Eric, who played out there (the University of Oregon) for four years, and he could’ve told them: ‘If you want an offensive genius who can move people around that’s Chip Kelly. If you’re looking for somebody to make everybody warm and fuzzy that’s not him.’ It’s not that hard to do that kind of research and figure out what you want.”