Saturday, February 03, 2007

Tony Dungy and the Colts' Final Step

After two long weeks, the Super Bowl is finally just a day away. Instead of trying to break down the game (which would be a fruitless endeavor - go to the real experts on that), I just wanted to be able to write a post expressing my rooting interest for the Colts tomorrow. And it's really nothing against the Chicago Bears - got nothing against them. But it would be so much more satisfying for me to see the Colts win, because it would be the culmination of a long road to success that has been filled with obstacles that could have crippled others. And naturally, a win would taste especially sweet for their venerable leader, Head Coach Tony Dungy.

Much like the Pittsburgh Steelers (in fact, when you look at the two teams and the paths they took to championship status, they're almost mirror images of one another) last year, an Indianapolis win would confirm that you always have a chance when you dig deep and believe in the seemingly impossible.

Who believed that they were championship material at the start of these playoffs, when the defense played like a sieve and they were up against a formidable AFC field? Who believed that they could come back from an 18 point deficit against their longtime tormentors in the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship game? And who believed that even with a 38-34 lead in the final minute of the AFC Championship, they would win with the balance of the game in the hands of the Colts defense going against Tom Brady?

Obviously, the Colts believed in themselves - if they didn't, they wouldn't be at the point they're at now. And that's a testament to the leadership that Coach Dungy has provided. In my opinion, getting his team, and himself to persevere and learn from years of professional near-misses and personal tragedies and win a Super Bowl would be a more impressive accomplishment than coaching a team that suddenly rose up and won it all in the span of a year, a la the 1999 Rams.

If the Colts lose, from everything I've heard about Dungy, I feel confident saying that he would not let the loss define him or his legacy - not that he particularly cares about his "legacy." He's too well-rounded of a man to let that happen. But for a man that has gone through the struggles that he has gone through in recent years (watching his old team, the Buccaneers win a Super Bowl the year after he was fired; enduring the Colts' series of playoff failures in recent years; most significantly, somehow carrying on after the suicide of his son last year), he deserves to have a taste of the other side. After putting in all the work that he has, and maintaining his faith in more difficult circumstances than any of us would care to do, it only seems right that he get to have the incomparable feeling of having won a Super Bowl.

If the Colts do in fact win, I hope people will take more from it than just the thrill of having watched a Super Bowl victory. I know that I'll be looking at it as confirmation that no matter how hopeless it seems, any obstacle can be overcome with strength of will and belief in yourself and those around you.

1 comment:

Caitlin M. said...

As always, a beautifully written post. I also admire Tony Dungy, and as you know, I'm a Manning fan. But God help you for rooting against Chicago once again. They'll probably lose, but geez, where's your girlfriend-loyalty?

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