Tony Dungy is Just Uncommon

Yesterday, Indianapolis Colts Coach Tony Dungy announced his retirement. Although known as a great football coach, Dungy also leaves a legacy of being “uncommon.” This article from the Minneapolis Star Tribune, “Tony Dungy: Uncommon decency,” reflects on Dungy’s uncommon character and the impact it has made on many–especially his players.

Star Tribune columnist Jim Souhan writes, “How often do we see a coach of Dungy’s success and stature leave the job on his own terms, dignity intact, soaking in admiration from every corner of the country and every profession entwined with his?

Maybe never, before now.

The most successful NFL head coaches tend to believe they’re Pattons in headsets. They win championships and earn the admiration of those closest to them, but they usually succeed either in spite of or because of a God complex. They leave bodies and careers strewn in their wake.
I got to know Dungy when he worked for the Vikings, when he found a way to produce spectacular results while earning the admiration, even the love, of his players.


Football historians will remember Dungy for breaking a racial barrier. Those who know Dungy prefer to think of him as unique in another way.

People performed for Dungy because they admired him. They never wanted to disappoint such a charismatic and decent man.”

It is only fitting, then, that Tony Dungy’s second book, Uncommon: Finding Your Path to Significance, is releasing next month. Not only is Dungy uncommon, but he is encouraging the rest of us to be uncommon as well. It takes a lot of strength and courage to stand against the grain–let’s follow Dungy’s example and become uncommon people. The world will notice and wonder why.