What your view of sports and life would be if you had too many concussions
So, I wake up on Super Bowl Sunday morning to find out Tony Dungy was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. That’s just fucking sad. I’m going to cut to the chase here. I’ve written my thoughts on Tony Dungy more than once; the things relevant to this discussion can be found here and here. I could take the easy way out and just make this post an exercise in block-quoting, but there’s some things I’ve said that with the passage of time need a bit of expansion.
The bottom line is that if the Pro Football Hall of Fame is for the honoring of greatness, then Tony Dungy has no business being there. Absolutely none. Before all you dipshit Colts fans sharpen up your crayons to write me some hate mail, be prepared to address the following points:
1) The Only Case for Dungy’s Induction is his Win-Loss Record
The best way to describe this…well, I’ve already done that.
First, let’s talk about Tony Dungy, the coach. I’m not saying he was a bad coach, but he sure as hell wasn’t the great coach people want me to believe he was. Dungy had an outstanding regular season record (139-69 in 13 seasons) but so did lots of other coaches. Go look at the list of guys who have better winning percentages than Dungy, and the first thing you will notice is that you never heard of at least half of them. Why? Because it is the post-season that matters, and this is where Dungy couldn’t get it done; he’s a sub-.500 playoff coach.
I know, this is the part where you’re going to tell me Dungy won a Super Bowl – which means this is the part where I define “accidentally successful.”
- Dungy was matched up against Lovie Smith; unless the earth opened up and swallowed the stadium, one of those two had to win.
- Lovie Smith thought it was a good idea to keep Rex “3 turnovers, but fuck it, I’m going deep anyway” Grossman on the field.
- Tony Dungy has the lowest playoff winning percentage of any Super Bowl winning coach.
I rest my case…accidentally successful.
The point here is that you can win all the regular season games you want. Wins in January and now February are the ones that matter. That leads us to the next argument Dungy defenders will need to counter.
2) His Win-Loss Record is Irrelevant Because He Didn’t Win When It Mattered
The problem with using Dungy’s win-loss record as a benchmark for “greatness” is it assumes regular season wins matter. Regular season wins are only important in so far as a coach must have enough of them to get to the playoffs, because that’s where “greatness” is really determined.
To better illustrate that point, let’s take a look at a select list of coaches based on having more than Dungy’s 139 regular season wins.
Would you like to hazard a guess as to the total number of Super Bowl wins in that group? Zero. Bud Grant and Marv Levy are in the Hall of Fame because they won in the playoffs. Sure they both lost four Super Bowls, but they had to win enough play-off games to get there. Nobody else on that list is getting into the Hall of Fame.
Now we need to compare coaches who are statistically similar to Dungy, meaning coaches with between 90 and 140 regular season wins with a single Super Bowl victory. You tell me how many guys on this list could be considered truly “great.”
Give up? I’ll tell you. Hank Stram is in the Hall of Fame because he won three AFL championships before his Super Bowl win with the Chiefs. Weeb Ewbank is in the Hall of Fame because he won two NFL championships with the Giants before his Super Bowl win with the Jets. John Madden is in the Hall of Fame as much as a broadcaster than as a coach, and Mike Ditka is in the Hall of Fame for his career as a player. There’s precious little “greatness” in what’s left, just as there’s no “greatness” in Dungy.
For the final nail in the “regular season wins” argument, there’s a very interesting list of coaches all with less than 100 such victories and who also have multiple Super Bowl championships.
Don’t even try to tell me that if you were picking a coach for your team, you wouldn’t take the bottom guy on the last list over pretty much anybody else on either of the others.
It’s very telling when your own former owner basically says he would have more Super Bowl rings if his head coach and his quarterback weren’t choke artists. Jim Irsay may be a bit flaky, but he’s absolutely right…11 Colt playoff appearances; 7 Colt “one-and-dones.” Dungy didn’t win it mattered; there’s no debating that.
3) Will Anybody Besides Me Have The Guts To Tell You The Real Reason Dungy Was Inducted?
This is the part where we must look at why Dungy got in before a host of people who deserve it far more than he does. Obviously, there’s Jerry Kramer. Scroll down and you’ll see the badge I proudly display supporting that cause. There’s guys like Alex Karras, Jim Marshall, or Randy Gradishar…that list is plenty long; feel free to add whomever you please to that discussion. It won’t take long to grow that list beyond all practical discussion.
Let’s say you want to keep that discussion strictly to coaches. Dick Vermeil took two different teams to Super Bowls, won one, and might have 200 career wins if he hadn’t taken a decade-plus sabbatical at his peak. Jimmy Johnson won two Super Bowls with a team he built from scratch. Don Coryell invented the modern passing game every team uses to this day. Now, you can spend your time constructing an argument based on what truly is criteria for induction, but you’ll just be wasting all of our time.
There’s two main reasons for that. First, the Hall of Fame is simply a museum, and enshrinement in that museum is completely dependent on the whims of the select groups of people empowered to make those decisions. In other words, whatever criteria we might come up with won’t mean a goddamn thing. We don’t get a vote.
Secondly, when decisions are “made by committee,” it is impossible to keep politics out of the discussion. We will never know what sort of things get discussed behind closed doors, but it also isn’t hard to ascertain the National Football League, its ancillary institutions, and the media which covers it all have a distinct agenda which is ruled by the inverted McCarthyism known as “political correctness.”
Tony Dungy was inducted into the Football Hall of Fame for no other reason than he was the first black coach to win a Super Bowl.
There it is. Welcome to the “elephant in the room” nobody wants to acknowledge. I’m sure I’m going to be called all sorts of names for saying that, but what other reason is there? The Hall of Fame loves to enshrine moments. The only reason Joe Namath is in the Hall of Fame is for guaranteeing the Jets victory over the Colts in Super Bowl III. The only reason Bob Greise is in the Hall of Fame is because he was the quarterback of an undefeated team. Given that, are you really expecting me to believe the need to preserve moments combined with the current cultural sensitivities of the “Rooney Rule” NFL didn’t factor into this at all? Not one bit? Really?
I know nobody wants to admit this, but think about it. There’s two arguments outside of the “first black coach to win” aspect, and I’ve just debunked both of them. Before you send me a bunch of crap calling me a “hater,” understand that I’m not blaming Dungy for his induction; it’s not like he could vote for himself. Rather, I’m pointing a finger at the Hall of Fame voters who have denied people who actually deserve enshrinement so they can feel better about themselves by appeasing the gods of “political correctness.”
Let’s face it. America is a country where we are actively lowering standards so we can achieve some twisted vision of social engineering. Sports are one of the last true meritocracies left in this country, and Tony Dungy’s induction into the Hall of Fame represents the fact the “Rooney Rule” mentality has seeped into the Hall of Fame. Call it what you will…”Rooney Rule”…”Affirmative Action.”…it matters little. It shouldn’t matter Dungy is a “black coach;” only that he’s a “coach.”
“Political Correctness” is just “Jim Crow” dressed up in modern American liberalism, because despite what we may like to admit, we still haven’t realized Martin Luther King, Jr’s “Dream” about men being judged on the content of their character rather than the color of their skin. As long as were are worried about the color of the coach’s skin rather than the depth of his competency, we will never realize it.