NFL COACH OF THE YEAR
Although we’ve only seen scrubs playing for a roster spot in preseason and haven’t even sniffed a real game yet, we are able to hand out the NFLs coach of the year award. Funny enough, the winner will not even be coaching an NFL franchise this year. His contributions have been felt on a more personal level. In the past, he has transformed entire organizations from cellar dwellers to super bowl champions. Instead of transforming a franchise, this time he has transformed a life. In business and in football, the managers that truly are the most sought after and the highest paid are the turn-around specialists. In this case, if Tony Dungy ever decided to return to football, every team would line up to offer him a position with their organization. I have a feeling however that Tony would count this coaching job as his most fulfilling one out of all of them.
Tony Dungys effect on Michael Vick is absolutely astounding. His post game comments after the Eagles final preseason game are enough to give Tony the coach of the year award right now. The transformation that we’ve seen Vick go through simply in front of the cameras is amazing. He speaks with articulation. He talks about how he can get better. He speaks with modesty. He speaks as if he knows that playing football for millions of dollars is a very delicate and once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Roger Goodell couldn’t be happier.
In a day where most athletes don’t say much but….it is what it is, and we just got to go out there and compete….Vick looked at the camera and offered a clear, unscripted, positive yet modest assessment of his performance. He described how he will use the suspension of the next two weeks in a positive way to get batter at his craft. Andy Reid and Roger Goodell must have been tearing up when they heard this.
Whatever Michael Vicks pro football career turns into, he certainly appears to have made a change for the better in the way he carries himself. Tony Dungy has given the performance of his life and took a risk to make a profound impact on the life of a troubled football player. In this case, at least initially, his risk has paid off.
Tony Dungy has turned me into a Michael Vick fan again. Something tells me that if Michael Vick continues on this course he will have a whole league full of fans. My father used to tell me that its not if you fall down, its how you get back up. Vicks humility and transformation from a cocky thug into a sympathetic family man is something that everybody can feel good about. We Americans love a good comeback story more than just a regular player. We want to know that even sports stars with millions of dollars struggle like we do. Just ask Josh Hamilton….
So give credit where credit is due. Tony Dungy is working his magic on a different level this time. He continues to extend his positive influence in any way he can, and there is at least one man that has made a new life because of it…so give him the award right now. Tony Dungy is the NFL coach of the year.