AFC East: Tony Dungy

Embattled Miami Dolphins offensive tackle Jonathan Martin did an interview with former Super Bowl winning coach Tony Dungy of NBC Sports. This is Martin’s first interview since leaving Miami in October. In case you missed it, here is the full transcript from the “TODAY” show.

But I thought Martin’s interview was underwhelming. Martin failed to provide specifics or details of what he experienced in Miami’s locker room that forced him to leave the team.

Here are some questions Martin left unanswered:
  • Who were the other teammates? Martin said it wasn’t just Richie Incognito who harassed and bullied him. So who else added to Martin’s strife? Martin would only say it was “more than one” without naming the other people or person. I thought Dungy could have pressed Martin on this issue, which would have provided new insight and potentially another layer to this story. Was Martin harassed by two teammates? Five? Seven? We still do not know.
  • What was the response after informing the Dolphins? Martin explains he told “my coaches immediately above me” that he was struggling. I assume that includes offensive line coach Jim Turner. What was the nature of those conversations? What was Turner’s response? Did Turner ignore Martin and look the other way or inform other coaches and members of the front office? Martin had a chance to detail who in the Dolphins organization knew he was having issues but failed to elaborate.
  • Where is Martin mentally? There were various reports that Martin sought out emotional counseling the past few months. Martin was never asked to confirmed those reports. But moving forward, other NFL teams will be very interested to know where Martin is mentally before thinking of making a future investment. Martin didn’t do enough to convince teams he’s ready other than to say he wants to play again.
  • Detail the “malicious” attack: Martin’s camp said in November there was a “malicious physical attack” on Martin by Dolphins teammates. This interview would have been a good opportunity to explain that alleged event.

These are just a few important issues Martin failed to address. This was Martin’s chance to tell his side of the bullying scandal to the entire country on Super Bowl week, and he could have done a better job.

The NFL will release the full Ted Wells report after the Super Bowl. Hopefully, we will get more clarity on these aforementioned issues that Martin failed to provide.

Joe Philbin fine with new task force

November, 12, 2013
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DAVIE, Fla. – The Miami Dolphins are in the process of adding a new task force to oversee the culture of their fractured locker room. It includes a five-person panel of former coaches Don Shula and Tony Dungy and former players Dan Marino, Jason Taylor and Curtis Martin.

This is an edict from above with Miami owner Stephen Ross, who described the Richie Incognito-Jonathan Martin controversy as a “nightmare.” Martin left the team on Oct. 28 and has since made allegations of harassment and bullying claims.

Ross’ addition of an outside counsel is a strong indication the current leadership failed to establish the proper football culture. That falls on head coach Joe Philbin, who said he’s open to outside assistance.

“Steve and I have been in constant communication throughout the course of this season,” Philbin said during his Tuesday news conference. “I’m for anything that can make our organization better. Steve and I talked about this, and I’m in total agreement and support.”

The NFL is investigating all that went wrong in the Incognito-Martin saga. Ross seemed embarrassed by what happened and promised that changes will be made based on the findings and no one on the Dolphins is absolved.

“I think he’s very serious,” Dungy told ESPN.com Monday night. “I think he’s disappointed that this happened on his watch, and it could have happened to anybody. People ask me how much should a coach know? How much should you be aware of what’s going on? You do have to count on your players, your leadership.”

Dolphins Q&A: Tony Dungy

November, 12, 2013
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TAMPA -- Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross announced Monday that he’s set up a task force to clean up their locker-room culture. One of the members selected to lead that task force is former Super Bowl-winning head coach Tony Dungy.

ESPN.com’s Dolphins team page caught up with Dungy before Monday’s game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to get his thoughts on his communication with Ross, Miami’s in-house culture, and how he plans to help.

Dungy
James Walker: Tony, you have been one of the leading figures on several important NFL issues. How did Ross get in contact with you to join this task force to clean up the culture in Miami?

Tony Dungy: Steve called me. I talked to him several times during their coaching search and since he’s gotten the team. Steve called me and said he wasn’t sure what happened. He’s in the process of finding that out. But he wants to look forward and see how he could ensure their locker room and whole organization was operating in the best way. He wanted to get some former players that he respect and former coaches, and put together a recommendation of best practices.

Walker: After the Richie Incognito-Jonathan Martin saga, how serious do you think Ross is about cleaning up the Dolphins’ locker-room culture?

Dungy: I think he’s very serious. I think he’s disappointed that this happened on his watch, and it could have happened to anybody. People ask me how much should a coach know? How much should you be aware of what’s going on? You do have to count on your players, your leadership. I’m standing around a bunch of guys [in Tampa] who made it happen for me. What I did is set the atmosphere on what my expectations are. But I counted on Derrick Brooks and Warren Sapp to let me know. As a coach you are kind of counting on that.

Walker: You, Don Shula, Dan Marino, Curtis Martin and Jason Taylor all have a lot of clout in NFL circles. Why do you think Ross picked this particular group?

Dungy: I think he wanted to get some ex-Dolphins. I think he wanted to get some guys that he respected that could say, ‘This is how football is. This is normal. This is what we had in great locker rooms and this is how you get it.’ I think he picked some great guys.

Walker: How involved will you be?

Dungy: I’m not sure. We haven’t really talked about it. It’s something I think will be very intensive early on, especially, to kind of set the tone. I just told him I would be glad to do whatever I can to help him out.

Rex Ryan's book doesn't tell all, but enough

April, 27, 2011
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When I heard Rex Ryan was working on an autobiography, I wondered what he could put on those pages that we didn't already know.

Ryan has been an open, nearly unabridged book his entire life. It's one of the main reasons he's so beloved by his players and fans. Since he became head coach of the New York Jets two years ago, seemingly every aspect of his life has been reported.

But it turns out Ryan's entertaining style makes "Play Like You Mean It" a page-turner with fresh ideas and revelations.

About the only aspect of his life not illuminated was last year's foot-fetish storyline, but he did comment on the Jets' other prominent scandals that drew league investigations: the Ines Sainz sexual harassment claim and the Sal Alosi sideline trip of Miami Dolphins gunner Nolan Carroll.

ESPNNewYork.com's Rich Cimini previewed the book and shared some of the sexier passages.

Ryan gave details about the transition away from Brett Favre, revealed his disgust over Tony Dungy's criticism of his language and knocked former players such as safety Kerry Rhodes and defensive draft bust Vernon Gholston.

Ryan called Rhodes "a selfish-ass guy. He wouldn't work and he was a Hollywood type, flashing and needing attention."

While still defensive coordinator for the Baltimore Ravens, Ryan said he warned then-Jets head coach Eric Mangini not to draft Gholston.

"Truth be told, I didn't like the kid coming out of college," Ryan said. "He's a good athlete and a smart guy, but I thought he was a phony."

Ryan also took a dig at New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who last year spat how much he hated the Jets.

"I really don't know Tom Brady, but who wouldn't hate him?" Ryan said. "Look at his life. Actually, look at his wife. Every man in America hates Tom Brady, and he should be proud of that."

Parcells, Bledsoe and the Hall of Fame

February, 9, 2011
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I once heard Tom Donahoe, the former Buffalo Bills president and general manager, call quarterback Drew Bledsoe a future Pro Football Hall of Famer.

Then again, Donahoe used to say a lot of things.

I was reminded of this when taking a glance at players who will make their first appearance on the Hall of Fame ballot for 2012.

Buffalo News reporter Mark Gaughan, who's on the Hall of Fame selection committee and last weekend was elected president of the Pro Football Writers Association, blogged the top newcomers to consider the next few years.

[+] EnlargeBill Parcells and Drew Bledsoe
AP Photo/Ed ZurgaBill Parcells and his former quarterback Drew Bledsoe will be on the Hall of Fame ballot next year.
The lists are helpful in speculating when fan favorites such as Andre Reed and Curtis Martin will get their Canton calls. They both were finalists this year -- Reed for the fifth time, Martin for the first -- but weren't added to the 2011 induction class Saturday.

Perhaps that development was fitting for Martin because his coach with the New England Patriots and New York Jets will be on the ballot again. They could get in together in 2012.

Bill Parcells has been a finalist twice, but not since 2002 because rules for coaches changed. They now must wait five years from their last game to be eligible for induction, and Parcells returned to the sidelines with the Dallas Cowboys in 2003.

Is Parcells a Hall of Famer? I know Miami Dolphins fans aren't too thrilled with him these days, but he did add to an already remarkable legacy -- two championships, different teams to the Super Bowl, a few organizational turnarounds -- by guiding the Dolphins from 1-15 to the AFC East title as their football operations boss.

Also on the ballot next year will be Bledsoe, running backs Corey Dillon and Tiki Barber, fullback Mike Alstott, guard Will Shields and coaches Bill Cowher and Marty Schottenheimer.

Bledsoe had a fine career with the Patriots, Bills and Cowboys and ranks eighth all-time in passing yards. But he was a Pro Bowler only four times and never was first-team All-Pro. Bledsoe was helpful in getting the Patriots their first championship, so he does have a ring. But that was Tom Brady's team.

Dillon also was a four-time Pro Bowler and won a Super Bowl with the Patriots. He ranks 17th in rushing yards and never led the league in a major rushing category.

Schottenheimer played for the Bills and Patriots before winning 61 percent of his regular-season games as head coach of the Cleveland Browns, Kansas City Chiefs, Washington Redskins and San Diego Chargers. His 200 victories rank sixth all-time, but his 5-23 playoff record will hurt.

That group of first-time candidates -- plus the newcomers for 2013 -- bodes well for Reed. There won't be any new receivers for him to box out. He already has jockeyed ahead of contemporaries Cris Carter and Tim Brown by making the cut from 15 to 10 in the selection process the past two years. Carter and Brown haven't.

Gaughan highlighted first-year players for next few classes.

2013: Quarterback Vinny Testaverde, offensive linemen Larry Allen and Jonathan Ogden, defensive tackle Warren Sapp, defensive end Michael Strahan.

2014: Running back Shaun Alexander, receiver Marvin Harrison, linebacker Derrick Brooks, safety Rodney Harrison and coaches Tony Dungy, Jon Gruden and Mike Holmgren -- if they don't return to sideline work.

2015: Quarterback Kurt Warner, receivers Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt, tackles Orlando Pace and Walter Jones and linebacker Junior Seau.

Finalists revealed for inaugural Shula Award

January, 19, 2011
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The NFL has announced 28 finalists for the inaugural Don Shula NFL Coach of the Year Award.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell created the award a year ago "to honor exemplary football coaches at all levels of the sport that display the integrity, achievement, and leadership demonstrated by the winningest coach in NFL history."

Candidates must be active coaches at the youth, high school, college or pro levels.

Those nominated from AFC East clubs:
  • Buffalo Bills: Tom Goddard from Clarence High in suburban Buffalo.
  • Miami Dolphins: George Smith from St. Thomas Aquinas High in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
  • New England Patriots: Ian Cotterell, a youth league coach from Brookline-Jamaica Plain.
  • New York Jets: Clayton Kendrick-Holmes from SUNY Maritime College in the Bronx.

Five teams nominated their own head coaches: the Baltimore Ravens, New Orleans Saints, New York Giants and Seattle Seahawks.

The Tennessee Titans nominated assistant Mike Heimerdinger, who was diagnosed with cancer in November but kept coaching while undergoing chemotherapy.

The judging panel includes Shula, Goodell, former Oakland Raiders coach John Madden, former Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy, former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, Gen. Raymond Odierno (commander of the U.S. Joint Forces Command), IBM boss Sam Palmisano and Aplington-Parkersburg athletic director Aaron Thomas (son of legendary prep coach Ed Thomas).

The winner of the national Shula Award will receive $25,000 and will be invited to the Super Bowl.

Is Vince Young on Dolphins' or Bills' radar?

January, 5, 2011
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The Tennessee Titans are parting ways with quarterback Vince Young, a Heisman Trophy finalist, rookie of the year and two-time Pro Bowler who apparently lost a battle of wills with head coach Jeff Fisher.

The Titans announced they will either trade or waive Young before next season. They must wait until Feb. 7 to waive him. He can't be traded until March 4. Young reportedly has a $4.25 million roster bonus due March 10.

[+] EnlargeYoung
Grant Halverson/Getty ImagesVince Young could be a good fit in either Miami or Buffalo.
Young won't be unemployed next season. Could he find a home in the AFC East?

We can rule out the New England Patriots and probably the New York Jets, too.

Young could be considered an upgrade over Mark Sanchez, but Sanchez is the Jets' franchise quarterback. The Jets also have a wildly uncertain offseason ahead with so many soon-to-be free agents and high-priced older players.

But the Miami Dolphins and Buffalo Bills look like possible landing spots.

The Dolphins are down on Chad Henne, their supposed quarterback of the future who was benched during the season and never generated faith within the organization. In a radio interview Tuesday, star receiver Brandon Marshall criticized Henne's unwillingness to challenge defenses.

Young would provide the Dolphins with a totally new dynamic -- a mobile quarterback with a winning track record. Young not only would stimulate Miami's disenchanted fans, but also a stagnant team that ranked 30th in points, 21st in total offense, 21st in rushing offense and 16th in passing offense.

But the Dolphins can't make any decisions about whether Young would be a fit until they determine what to do with head coach Tony Sparano. He's still in place, but owner Stephen Ross reportedly has been flirting with Stanford head coach Jim Harbaugh and former Pittsburgh Steelers coach Bill Cowher.

The Bills would be another intriguing possibility. Head coach Chan Gailey is a big fan of incumbent quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, but Gailey has had success in the past with running quarterbacks.

Gailey was the Pittsburgh Steelers' offensive coordinator when Kordell Stewart was there and impressively used Tyler Thigpen while the Kansas City Chiefs' play-caller.

Plus, Bills owner Ralph Wilson isn't averse to chasing a big name. The Bills pursued Michael Vick before the 2009 season, according to Vick's adviser, Tony Dungy.

Then again, with the third pick in April's draft, the Bills almost certainly will have the option to select Auburn quarterback Cam Newton if they wanted him badly enough.

Would you like to see Young wearing your team's colors in 2011?

Broncos video bust entangles Patriots

November, 29, 2010
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The NFL's latest videotaping scandal has drawn out the New England Patriots, much to their annoyance.

As I wrote Saturday when the NFL announced it was punishing the Denver Broncos for filming a San Francisco 49ers walk-through prior to their game in London last month, Spygate has re-emerged as a hot topic.

Broncos head coach Josh McDaniels was the Patriots' quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator under Bill Belichick when the Spygate story unfolded in 2007 and 2008.

Steve Scarnecchia, the Broncos videographer who was fired for shooting the 49ers walk-through, was on the Patriots' video staff from 2001 through 2004, when some of those infamous violations were committed. He's also the son of Patriots offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia.

"Fox NFL Sunday" insider Jay Glazer reported McDaniels told his coaching staff in a Friday meeting that what the Broncos did in London wasn't as bad as what the Patriots did for years.

Glazer on McDaniels' description of what happened in New England: "That was practiced. That was coached. That was worked on."

The Broncos' transgression was a popular subject on Sunday's various NFL shows.

NBC Sports analyst Tony Dungy on McDaniels reportedly making the Patriots admission: "That is really a violation of honor code of coaches. You talk to your staff, 'Here's what we do at our place. We don't talk about what anybody else does. What happened in the past.' I don’t think he should have talked about that."

Dungy on severity of Denver's violation compared to New England's: "If he’s referring to videotaping, that's a completely different story than stealing signals. If you're videotaping walk-throughs, opponents' practices, that is really, really a serious allegation."

NBC Sports analyst and former Patriots safety Rodney Harrison on whether this scandal will dog the Patriots: "First of all, it won't be a distraction. This team is 9-2 and Belichick is a mastermind, absolutely a mastermind of keeping guys focused on the task at hand. In 2007 this similar situation happened to us, and as players we said 'Someone's attacking our coach. We're going to protect him.' We went out there, went 16-0, 18-1 overall, and we blew everybody out by 20, 25 points."

Harrison on McDaniels talking about Patriots practices: "Josh is a good guy, and I felt like he was a loyal guy. He was a guy that Bill Belichick gave an opportunity to, and it really surprised me that he would come out and say something like this."

CBS Sports analyst Bill Cowher: "As far as the punishment, no, it's not enough. The precedent was set when the New England Patriots were fined, Bill Belichick himself over $100,000, and draft picks should be taken away. I know they say [Steve Scarnecchia] acted independently. I don't agree with that because I think in every room, in every building, the dynamics, you always have to answer to a superior. I have a hard time believing this was done independently. It was not heavily fined enough. Draft picks should have been taken away."

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Brady shrugs at Childress' sign-stealing talk

October, 26, 2010
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Minnesota Vikings coach Brad Childress on Monday accused the New England Patriots of stealing defensive signals back in 2006 and relaying them to Tom Brady.

The Patriots won the Monday night game 31-7 in what Childress called "a surgical procedure."

"These were some of the all-time great signal-stealers," Childress said. "In fact, that's what was going on. They were holding, holding, holding. We were signaling from the sideline. They were good at it. It's like stealing signals from a catcher."

Brady paid his weekly visit to Boston sports-radio station WEEI on Tuesday and responded with a non-denial.

"We've been called a lot worse than that," Brady said in a transcript produced by ESPNBoston.com. "That game was so long ago. ... I remember us executing pretty well that night."

Brady noted while signal-stealing was common in the NFL at the time, that has been eliminated by defensive coordinators radioing their calls through helmet headsets.

"That's come and gone," Brady said. "That's been not a part of football here for a long time, and we've still won a lot of games. In '07, they changed the rule and so forth. I don't buy a whole lot into that. The team that's going to win this weekend is the team that plays better. I can promise you that."

Brady also reacted to the stinging comments Childress made about Brett Favre after Sunday night's loss to the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field.

Brady suggested Bill Belichick wouldn't speak publicly about Patriots players like that.

"I think every head coach has different styles to motivate their players.," Brady said. "Coach, he doesn't ever do that to anybody. It doesn't matter if I threw seven interceptions. He would never do that. But there's no doubt that he's going to bring that up to me at some point, probably right away, to say in front of the team, as well. He's going to make the point that he needs to make in order to try to get his players to play better.

"Coach Belichick does that. Tony Dungy did that. Everyone does that in different ways. We're all big boys. We can handle the criticism. If we don't do something well, we know that we didn't do something well.

"Often times, players are their harshest critics. When I don't play well, I know it. Sometimes it does hurt your ego a bit when somebody tells you you've got to do it better. But that's the truth. If that's what you need as a player, then in the end you'll be pretty happy that someone actually came out and said it because maybe that will motivate you a little bit more to get it improved."

Harrison: Suspensions will curb head shots

October, 18, 2010
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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The headline of a Sporting News preseason yearbook feature on Rodney Harrison once called him "The Last Assassin" for the way he ruthlessly hammered ball carriers. He walloped a defenseless receiver or two in his day.

But the former New England Patriots safety claims the only way to rid the NFL of players delivering helmet shots is to skip the fines and dole out suspensions.

"You didn't get my attention when you fined me five grand, 10 grand, 15 grand," Harrison said on NBC's "Football Night in America" set Sunday. "You got my attention when I got suspended, and I had to get away from my teammates, and I disappointed my teammates from not being there."

In the NFL culture, some ultra-aggressive defenders view fines merely as investments or necessary employment fees. Many wouldn't be on a roster if they weren't capable of delivering the big hit. So when they get flagged for a helmet-to-helmet blast or for nailing a receiver who's watching the ball, an occasional fine is part and parcel.

"But you have to suspend these guys," Harrison said. "These guys are making millions of dollars."

Patriots safety Brandon Meriweather was flagged for launching himself at Baltimore Ravens tight end Todd Heap, one of multiple dubious head shots around the league Sunday. Heap was defenseless. Meriweather went helmet-to-helmet.

New York Jets safety Jim Leonhard also was called for unnecessary roughness for drilling Denver Broncos receiver Brandon Lloyd along the sideline on a long third-quarter completion. The 15 yards helped the Broncos score a touchdown on the drive. But replays showed Leonhard used his shoulder.

Meriweather likely will be fined. He wasn't ejected, but Patriots coach Bill Belichick, clearly upset, yanked him. Meriweather eventually returned because safety Jarrad Page hurt his left calf.

"It's not the fine that's going to do it," NBC studio analyst Tony Dungy said. "These guys are not doing this on purpose, but they've got to lower their strike zone, change it. We had this with the quarterbacks a few years ago, and we got the defenders to change. You have to protect these receivers. Some of these guys may be out two or three weeks, and the only way to make it fair is have these defenders sit out if they damage someone."

Harrison explained his target area was "right on the chest. You're taught to separate the guy from the ball. ... Now all of a sudden, as you're coming, you start raising up a couple inches. Now it's helmet to helmet. Now they're going to have to reprogram these players to start hitting lower, by the waist."

Rex Ryan, Tony Dungy speak their peace

August, 19, 2010
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After some back and forth through the media, New York Jets coach Rex Ryan and former Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy spoke directly to each other about their differences.

"I wanted him to know how I felt," Ryan said. "We talked man-to-man. He told me his position, and I definitely told him my position. It was good."

Dungy was critical of Ryan's prolific use of profanity in last week's season premiere of HBO's "Hard Knocks." Dungy even suggested commissioner Roger Goodell get involved because Ryan's behavior shined a bad light on the NFL.

Ryan on Wednesday expressed disappointment in Dungy's public comments, saying Dungy "unfairly judged" him. Ryan phoned Dungy and left a message to talk about the situation and to invite him to Jets camp.

"He knows some people I know," Ryan said. "There are a lot of positive things being said about me ... We'll leave it at that. We look forward to having him come up and see what we're all about."

Ryan perturbed with Dungy's criticism

August, 18, 2010
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New York Jets coach Rex Ryan called Tony Dungy and left a message to invite him to training camp.

That was Ryan's response upon learning Dungy had publicly scolded him for foul language. Dungy, making an appearance Monday on the "Dan Patrick Show," claimed he wouldn't hire Ryan because of the way he spoke in last week's season premiere of "Hard Knocks."

"I've been a big admirer of Tony Dungy, and I'm sure a lot of people are," Ryan told reporters Wednesday, "but he unfairly judged me, and that was disappointing to me."

Ryan said he invited Dungy to camp to "spend some time with me and the organization, and maybe he'll have a different take on it."

Dungy was offended enough by Ryan's colorful use of various four-letter words that he advocated NFL commissioner Roger Goodell get involved to protect the league's image. Dungy also said he wouldn't hire Ryan to coach his players.

"I personally don't want my players to be around that," Dungy said. "I don't want to be around that. It's hard for me to be around that, and if I were in charge, no, I wouldn't hire someone like that.

"Now, I've been around F-bombs, so it's not like it's new. But I just don't think that has to be part of your every-minute, everyday vocabulary to get your points across."

Ryan was dismayed with Dungy's reaction.

"I'm always going to be myself, and I'm a good person," Ryan said. "Just because somebody cusses doesn't make him a bad person. Just because a guy doesn't cuss doesn't make him a good person. I'll stand by my merits."

Rex Ryan doesn't speak Dungy's language

August, 17, 2010
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Tony Dungy wouldn't have qualms with Michael Vick running his huddle.

But Dungy asserted he wouldn't want Rex Ryan to coach his players.

Dungy, while visiting the "Dan Patrick Show," was asked what he thought of Ryan's proclivity for profanity. Ryan delivered a stream of expletives in a speech to the New York Jets in last week's season premiere of "Hard Knocks" on HBO.

Dungy expressed dismay over the blue language. Patrick asked if Dungy would hire Ryan for his staff.

"I would not," Dungy said. "I personally don't want my players to be around that. I don't want to be around that.

"It's hard for me to be around that, and if I were in charge, no, I wouldn't hire someone like that. Now, I've been around F-bombs, so it's not like it's new. But I just don't think that has to be part of your every-minute, everyday vocabulary to get your points across."

Revising history for Patriots, Dolphins

May, 15, 2010
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The NFL Network produced a "Back to the Future" segment in which host Rich Eisen and analysts Warren Sapp and Jamie Dukes wondered how one reversed event from way back would've altered the course of history.

The first two scenarios referred to AFC East teams.

What if the New England Patriots didn't benefit from the tuck rule against the Oakland Raiders in the 2001 playoffs?

Facts or possibilities to consider:

  • Patriots don't win their first Super Bowl.
  • Patriots don't win any Super Bowls.
  • Pittsburgh Steelers go to Super Bowl XXXVI.
  • Jon Gruden takes Oakland to the Super Bowl.
  • Gruden stays in Oakland, doesn't go to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
  • Buccaneers don't win Super Bowl XXXVII.
  • St. Louis Rams win two Super Bowls in three years.

What if the Miami Dolphins signed Drew Brees in 2006?

Facts or possibilities to consider:

  • Dolphins don't sign Daunte Culpepper.
  • Nick Saban stays and doesn't go to Alabama.
  • Owner Wayne Huizenga doesn't hire Bill Parcells to run football operations.
  • Dolphins don't draft Ted Ginn
  • Dolphins don't draft Chad Henne.
  • New Orleans Saints don't win Super Bowl XLIV.

Ryan: Doing it his way

January, 23, 2010
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FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Jim Caldwell quietly eased into his promotion as Indianapolis Colts head coach. The transition was virtually seamless when Tony Dungy retired, abdicating to his designated heir.

Rex Ryan
Kirby Lee/US PresswireRex Ryan has the swagger, but will he have the win?
Then there's Rex Ryan, the New York Jets coach who arrived with an eruption and set about an upheaval of an entire organization's persona.

This was no caretaker of successes past. Ryan, with a magnetism as large as his physique, a gravitational pull as it were, quickly became the center of the Jets' universe.

Ryan and Caldwell will intersect orbits Sunday in the AFC Championship Game. Rookie head coaches never have squared off for a conference title. One of them will be the fifth rookie coach to lead his team to the Super Bowl.

AFC South blogger Paul Kuharsky wrote about Caldwell's straightforward and succinct approach to coaching the Colts. He won 14 regular-season games, an eye-popping amount, yet only two more than the year before.

Ryan, meanwhile, finished the regular season 9-7, the same record as the Jets did last year under Eric Mangini. But their versions couldn't have been more different.

"This wasn't about Eric," Ryan said this week at the Jets' facility. "This was about me coming in. I was going to be true to myself. I never really needed to get advice from anybody else. I was coming here, open minded. I just wanted to put our plan in place, and that was what I focused on. It wasn't about things were done this way or that way. That meant nothing.

"I could have followed anybody here, but I was going to try to put together what I thought was a vision for our team and building a winner."

Ryan has transformed the culture in Florham Park. The Jets toiled under the austere watch of Mangini, who was fired after falling short of the playoffs with Brett Favre slinging interceptions about.

Now the Jets are all about fun and smack talk. The players are free to speak their minds, and with Ryan in charge their minds entertain fanciful thoughts. He talks them up like they're superstars. He makes bold predictions about meeting Barack Obama in the White House and being Super Bowl favorites after barely qualifying for the playoffs.

"You've got to prove him right," Jets safety Kerry Rhodes said. "If he has that much confidence in you to say that you're the best, you've got to go out there and prove it for him.

"When he says stuff, he's not just saying it to say it. At the end of the day, he's held accountable for what he says. If you don't live up to what he said, it kind of gives him a slap in the face."

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