AFC South: Lionel Taylor
Tony Dungy is a patient man who's been dealt with patiently.
So it is difficult for him to watch so much turnover in the ranks of his coaching brethren.
He was asked Wednesday about the news of four coaches fired since the regular season ended, and it brought him to a nice story about Mean Joe Greene.
"It's all about Super Bowls now," he said. "If you feel like you have a Super Bowl team and you don't go to the Super Bowl, then making changes seems like the way to go. Continuity says a lot and does a lot. Joe Greene told me a story when I first got with the Steelers. Joe had been there, came in 1969, they weren't winning, it was Coach [Chuck] Noll's first year, and they're making progress, winning a game or two more, but still not there. He's watching the Miamis and the Oaklands at that time. He went into Coach Noll's office and said he was finished and packed his car up, packed his stuff out of his locker and left. Lionel Taylor was an assistant coach and Lionel went and got him and talked him into coming back. Two weeks later they put Franco [Harris] in the lineup -- Franco was a rookie -- and the rest is history. Joe told me, 'I almost quit that close to something special.' Patience is hard. It's hard, and people can't always see that they are close, that they are making progress when you don't have the wins. The easiest thing to do is be impatient and change for change's sake, but it's not always the best."
Dungy went on to talk about how grateful he is for the continuity he's enjoyed in his career as a coach.
"I know coaches in this business that have moved a lot and been different places," he said. "We have moved, most of the time, by choice, and we've been able to stay places six or seven years. That's pretty unusual. I'm thankful for that all the time. I wish [the business] was different, but we kind of know that's the profession we have when you sign up for it. I got fired after three playoff years [in Tampa Bay], so it's not necessarily not having success. If you don't do what everybody thinks you should do, you have to make a change. Owners like Dan Rooney, guys who stay the course and understand that change for change's sake isn't always the way to go, are a dying breed. I'm thankful that I've worked for Dan and [Tampa Bay's] Malcolm Glazer and Jim Irsay. It has been a blessing."