Green could learn from his prodigy, Tampa’s Dungy

His wide receiver was robbed of an obvious reception by the referees.
Shaun King, his rookie quarterback, looked like one man playing against an underrated defense. This from a quarterback thrust into the starting job after Trent Dilfer, his blatantly mediocre starter, broke his collarbone.
His Pro Bowl backfield was held to less than 100 total yards rushing, thereby single-handedly killing any hopes of scoring any points on their own.
His team lost in the NFC Championship Game by a baseball-like 11-6 score.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ season is over. After spending six months and countless hours in the offseason perfecting and patching together a team worthy of backing up its Super Bowl aspirations, it was over.
Done. eleven to six, after shutting down one of the greatest offensive machines in NFL history.
His defense was so incredibly brilliant the entire season, single-handedly carrying them to a division title and first-round bye. The defense beat Washington’s high-octane offense in the playoffs.
That was where the Bucs were supposed to have been chopped. There was no way they could keep up with the Rams’ track and field team.
But Dungy’s team did. For 60 minutes they harassed, pressured, covered and tackled like they were the best defensive team in football.
They still are.
After the Rams game, Dungy was his usual cordial self. He was quiet, insightful and above all, classy.
When Bert Emanuel’s pass was overturned and ruled incomplete, a look of shock and utter confusion ran over Tony Dungy’s face. He called an official over, had a quick conversation, then put his headset back on.
The consistent lack of offense, something that has plagued Tampa Bay in the Dungy-era, was the main reason he lost the conference championship. Dungy said he and the organization will spend the offseason looking for more creative offensive plays and players.
These are signs that Dungy is not like most other coaches. In this new age of slug-it-out, arena-league offensive aeronautics and celebratory dancing, there is Dungy: The old-school master who knows offense wins TV highlights, defense wins championships.
As the defensive coordinator for the Vikings from 1992-95, Dungy’s squad had, overall, the top-ranked defense in football. Green gave Dungy the go-ahead and it was Tampa-ho in ’96.
Look at Dungy’s current and former team and you’ll see just how far he has lapped his former boss. Dungy is happy just as a coach, he doesn’t have to run everyone in the organization out of town to elevate himself. He doesn’t need all the power.
When the Buccaneers were thumped 47-0 against the bumbling Oakland Raiders, he didn’t stand up after the game and say, “We played for 60 minutes,” like Green did after being humiliated by the Rams. There is no self-denial. He makes decisions that are genuinely best for his team, not for his ego. When things don’t go right, he says so.
Dungy hasn’t won a Super Bowl yet — you do have to score more than six points a game to win — but his turn is coming. He is proof that a good coach doesn’t need to scream or address people with postgame profanity-laced tirades. There is a sense that he has total authority and respect from players and coaches alike. No tantrums or ego, just a classy man that coaches quality players.
There is an undeniable sense that he wants to win as badly as anyone. Some coaches can win by intimidating players. Others try and win with emotional halftime speeches. Still many absorb themselves in so much scouting and preparation that they sleep in their office three times per week.
Dungy is a rarity. Rare is the head coach of a professional sport that coaches his team, does some preparation for the next game or season and goes home.
Jimmy Johnson was offered most of the Florida peninsula to take over the Buccaneers job after leading the Cowboys to two Super Bowls. He turned it down in favor of Miami.
Guess which coach is burned out?
Mark Heller covers men’s basketball and welcomes comments at [email protected]