Tony Dungy is now the 23rd coach to be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, entering the most elite fraternity in the NFL.
“I’m now the 10th Steeler from the Super Bowl XIII team to be enshrined,” said Dungy near the beginning of his speech, “but you could have won a lot of money in 78 if you bet that I’d be one of those 10.”
Dungy’s career was often tested, going undrafted out of college, playing just three seasons before leaving the league, and his coaching career wasn’t always easy either.
“Losing my job (with the Buccaneers) in 2002 after a playoff loss was another painful disappointment,” said Dungy, “but God used it to lead me to a blessing. That’s when Jim Irsay called and gave me the opportunity to join him and Bill Polian in Indianapolis.”
Dungy will undoubtedly be remembered among most NFL fans as the head coach of the Colts in a dominant decade in the 2000’s.
“The most satisfying part was doing what Jim talked about in that first phone conversation,” explained Dungy, “connecting with our community and making the colts an integral part of the Indianapolis landscape. I’d like to thank big time Jim and Bill and the Colts fans. You made us feel like native Hoosiers, and our family loves you.”
Dungy also made a point to thank all his players, asking them to stand during one part of his speech.
“There’s no doubt these guys are responsible for me being up here today,” said Dungy. “I thank you guys. I love you, every one of you.”
A man of great faith, Dungy also honored his parents and upbringing in playing a major role in his success.
“My dad always preached to us and set our goals high and to not complain about negative circumstances, just look for a way to make things better,” he said. “My mom taught us that as a Christian, your character, your integrity, and how you honor God were so much more important than your job title. One of her favorite Bible verses was Matthew 16:26, ‘What would it profit a man to gain the whole world but forefit his soul?’ and I know that she’s happy to know that her son never forgot that verse.”