Dungy = Odd Man Out

May 31st, 2017

Tampa Bay’s only Pro Football Hall of Fame voter, Ira Kaufman, the most beloved and esteemed columnist in town, has hung his hat at JoeBucsFan.com world headquarters since July 2016. His columns pop here every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and his award winning podcasts fire Tuesdays and Thursdays.


Put a Ring on it.

The curious relationship between the Buccaneers and Tony Dungy took another strange turn with the announcement of this year’s Ring of Honor recipients.

And while there’s no doubt Malcolm Glazer and Jon Gruden belong up on that eastern stadium façade, along with the franchise’s other icons, Dungy once again finds himself the odd man out.

Although Dungy has too much class to publicly question the decision by the Glazers, Tampa Bay’s godfather has every right to think to himself: they’ve got me waiting in the lobby.

When is this man going to get his due?

Elsewhere on this prestigious site, you’ve read glowing reviews about Gruden’s accomplishments in Tampa and how his selection was a no-brainer.

But as you well know, this column often challenges the prevailing wisdom, so here we go again.

Wrong Audible

The first coach hired by the Glazer family turned out to be a Hall of Fame coach. And while Dungy lifted the Vince Lombardi Trophy with Indianapolis, he did his best work in Tampa.

Have we all forgotten what a mess Dungy inherited in 1996?

The Bucs were a national joke, a moribund franchise going nowhere. Apathy reigned at the old sombrero but a rookie coach needed only nine games to turn everything around and spark ticket sales.

By the end of the ’96 season, the Bucs were doormats no longer. Besides building a dominant defense, Dungy was a driving force in the community, imploring his players to help make Tampa Bay a better place to live.

Charitable foundations sprouted up, led by players like Derrick Brooks and John Lynch. The Bucs were suddenly a source of civic pride.

The Glazers make the call when it comes to the Ring of Honor, and that’s their right as the guys who sign the checks.

But it appears they have called an audible in terms of their own protocol.

When Warren Sapp earned a bust in Canton in 2013, he was inducted into the Ring of Honor that fall. No questions asked– even though Sapp played his final four seasons for the Raiders.

The same scenario took place the following year, when Brooks joined Sapp in the Hall, then immediately entered the Ring of Honor.

But that same courtesy was not extended to Dungy in 2016.

Drained The Swamp

Bryan and Joel Glazer attended Dungy’s Hall of Fame induction ceremony last August, but the Bucs did not add an additional Ring of Honor day for Dungy … after having already named Lynch as a new member.

Now Dungy has been bypassed once again.

It’s fitting that the Bucs and Gruden have mended fences since Chucky was fired after the 2008 season. Gruden still lives in Tampa and follows the Bucs closely, but he keeps his distance from the facility.

Tampa Bay has enjoyed only two winnings seasons since Gruden was dismissed following consecutive 9-7 finishes. He is also the last coach to lead the Bucs to the postseason, so his place in franchise history is secure.

That Monday night game against Atlanta will be an event, with 157 ESPN cameras on hand to mark the occasion.

Until Malcolm Glazer was incapacitated by two strokes in 2006, the Bucs were 96-80 in his first 11 years as principal owner, including a Super Bowl title. From 2006 until 2015, Tampa Bay was 58-102.

Draw your own conclusions.

Glazer and Gruden are inextricably liked by that championship season, but Dungy happened to be very close to Malcolm Glazer.

In his Hall of Fame acceptance speech, Dungy singled out the late Buc owner for special praise.

“I’m especially grateful to Malcolm, who was so supportive and so loving and gave me so much practical advice,” Dungy said on that memorable evening in Canton. “Our family enjoyed a phenomenal six years in Tampa and 1997 was probably my favorite year in coaching.

“We made the playoffs for the first time in 15 years and Buc fans went crazy. Those fans still remain special to me to this day.”

There’s little doubt Dungy will have his day in Tampa. It may come next year, or the year after that, and when it comes, supporters surely will show their appreciation for the man who literally drained the swamp at old One Buc Place.

Make no mistake, Jon Gruden and Malcolm Glazer are worthy recipients of the Ring of Honor. But let’s not forget about the man who restored honor to an organization that needed it so badly.

40 Responses to “Dungy = Odd Man Out”

  1. The Buc Realist Says:

    maybe tony dungy’s hall of fame display had something to do with it!!!!!!!

  2. tmaxcon Says:

    Dungy the clown was ONE DIMENSIONAL ONLY coach…. that is a universally accepted fact. Popularity does not equal greatness. Dungy the clown cost both tampa and indy superbowls because of his ignorance, stubbornness and inability to understand all three phases of football. His career losing playoff record renders him nothing more than an average to below average coach who is popular. popularity does not equal greatness. in most cases it actually is reverse. Dungy is just another religious hypocrite fool who failed to get the job done who gets a free pass in the PC world we live in. He is barely the bucs 4th best coaches. Schiano had a much better football mind than dungy .

    An example of Greatness is Tom Brady’s 5 superbowl rings not the underachieving Dungy’s 2 playoff wins in 6 years. The legend of dungy surpassed reality years ago. The hall of fame has ZERO credibility with dungy enshrined it is just as meaningless as the popularity contest aka pro bowl.

  3. Lamarcus Says:

    Nobody reads ur long and stupid posts tmaxcon. What a life u live

  4. Jimmy Says:

    Paul Gruber: Not in Hall of Fame.

    Mike Alstott: Not in Hall of Fame.

    John Lynch: Not in Hall of Fame.

    John McKay: Not in Hall of Fame.

    All in the Ring of Honor. So Dungy should get in with a worse Bucs resume than Gruden just because he won a Super Bowl with the Colts? Come on, Irv! Did Gruden feed you raisins?

  5. Jimmy Says:

    Yeah, Dungy has too much class. The same guy who did his best to make sure the Bucs didn’t draft Jameis. Bad-mouthed Jameis every chance he had. For that reason alone, the guy should be banned from Raymond James!

  6. D-Rome Says:

    I love ya Ira but I don’t think most Bucs fans are forgetting what Dungy did. No one has forgotten that Tony Dungy turned the franchise around. However, most Bucs fans in 2001 knew Dungy was never going to win a Super Bowl in Tampa. It’s fitting Gruden is honored first.

  7. Stpetebucsfan Says:

    Dang can I be an ass this morning? I know what’s different. LOL

    Correcting spelling mistakes on blogs is really low…typos…autocorrecting devices…and who cares if someone wants to be lazy.

    Same could be said I guess for grammar and word meaning but I just have a hot spot for the misused word “literally”.

    No IRA you’re a writer and you know better. Dungy was an excellent coach but he did not “literally” drain any swamps. Not sure the old Sombrero or One Buc were ever on swamps.

  8. Howard Cosell Says:

    Good point Jimmy^

    Maybe the Jameis diss-stiff-arm plays into the politics of these accolades.

  9. Howard Cosell Says:

    That said:


  10. score more Says:

    I recall one of Tony’s early press conferences and he made reference to turning around the team to be successful like teams such as Dallas & Green Bay. After a few minutes, I noticed hey, this guy is serious. Tony did a great job in laying the foundation. It did take Gruden to finish the job. Kudos to both!!

  11. Bucs4821 Says:

    The regular season numbers all look good for Dungy but he walked into that first meeting in 1996 and had 2 first ballot Hall of Famers and, hopefully, a third Hall of Famer in Lynch. He walks into Indy and Peyton Manning and Marvin Harrison are there to meet him. All he had to do was build a defense in Indy. The offense? Another story. That 1999 defense shut down that Rams offense but could only score 6 points. 3 of those points came after the first play of the game when Steve White intercepted a Warner pass followed by a three-and-out. We all remember the back to back playoff embarrassments in Philly 21-3, 31-9. I remember a Monday night game in Minnesota in 2001 and John Maddon said, “when I think of the Tampa Bay offense… I think 9 points.” I cringed at the time because I knew he was right. Many coaches come in and ‘change cultures’. It happens almost every year. Few of them win Super Bowls. As for Gruden vs Dungy, head to head, many like to bring up that comeback on Monday night in 2003 but no one brings up the 1999 season, certainly Dungy’s best team, when the Bucs lost to Gruden’s Raiders 45-0! Dungy had the better NFL career. I can’t dispute that. But Gruden was the Bucs’ best coach because the only thing that matters is… the ring.

  12. Negative Jeff Says:

    @TMAXON – Spot On! Bravo!!!!!

  13. Yen Says:

    Did someone mention that Schiano had a better football mind than Dungy?? That’s when I stopped reading the comments. . They must have allowed everyone to comment up in here.

  14. Buccfan37 Says:

    Have to give Coach Dungy props for making the Bucs defense better if nothing else. Ending up on tv as an analyst is what leaves me scratching my head as to how that happened.

  15. Bucsfanman Says:

    tmax has quite the way with words and Jimmy is spot on with his analysis! That said, we’re the Bucs. We’re the team that went 0-forever, we’re the team that the cheap-a$$ Culverhouse’s owned. We’re the team that enjoyed such a brief moment of success. What the F do we know about winning?!
    Our choices are ONLY Gruden or Dungy! Dungy brought about change, Gruden brought about the Lombardi.
    There’s really no wrong answer. The caveat is that we stink as a franchise. Look at our history! We’ve accepted average for good and good for great because WE DON’T KNOW ANY BETTER! Tmax is not wrong. I don’t agree with his delivery, but there’s truth there.
    Put in perspective like this: Only ONCE since 2001 have the Patriots had less than 10 wins (9-7)! They’re not putting anyone in their ring of honor with the credentials of neither Dungy NOR Gruden.
    Perspective people!

  16. Lunchbox Says:

    When is this man going to get his due?

    How about after the owner and coach that actually won the Super Bowl? I like Dungy, but he couldn’t get us over the hump. His offenses sucked. I always felt like if we could’ve gotten even a decent offense, he could’ve won a couple Super Bowls, but he didn’t. Gruden did. And old man Glazer hired him. Dungy deserves his place, but not ahead of these two.

  17. Brandon Says:

    Tmax had something going there for a minute until he suggested Schiano had a better football mind than pretty much anybody. Does anybody else remember the Bucs against the pass in Schiano’s first season. Hiring Sheridan was the single handedly most stupid move in the NFL that year…a guy that completely flopped in his last attempt at DC with the Giants and brought with him a scheme designed around bad blitz angles and DEs covering RBs and nobody covering WRs or deep. Just simply bad news.

  18. Fanalyzer34 Says:

    Gruden should enjoy his Ring of Honor tribute because that is as close as that a$$hat is getting to having his name forever enshrined anywhere…@tmax talks about Dungy being overrated? Gruden was under .500 in total minus the Super Bowl season. He’s Barry Switzer – he took over a team ready to win and proceeded to run it in to the ground with his arrogance and Bruce “Nepotism” Allen after winning the Super Bowl. He didn’t instill jack except a decent offense that only needed to put up a few more points in the playoffs. Chucky was/is an overrated offensive coordinator with a massive ego that was only further deepened by wininng a Lombardi. Let’s be real – if Gruden was so hot and great, why haven’t other NFL teams beat down his door and backed up a Brinks truck to get a “Super Bowl” winning coach? Because they know the real deal….

  19. BoJim Says:

    Dungy was the man who coached the Bucs into a team the no one wanted to play. Gruden just tweaked the offense. When Dungy left did the team go away too? Sorry Chuckle’s, Dungy should be there first. Still haven’t forgiven Chuckle’s for wasting Alstott.

  20. Bucsfanman Says:

    I love that “fans” are so short-sighted:

    “he took over a team ready to win and proceeded to run it in to the ground” Ready to win on defense maybe, but you can’t win solely with defense now can you? Did he run a team with salary cap issues into the ground along with the two 1st round picks, two 2nd round picks and $8,000,000 the Bucs paid to get him?
    Why no team wanted him? Well, there was the $6 or so million due Jon for the next 2-3 years. And Jon would have to choose to leave the comfort of MNF along with the check he was getting from the Bucs.
    Do Dungy’s credentials really place him at the top of his profession? I’m not even sure that he’s in the top 10 of those that are still waiting! He’s a great man and a nice story. HOF worthy? I respect and love what he did with our Bucs but HOF, that’s debatable.

  21. Buc_The_World Says:

    I love joebucsfan but there are some idiots on this site. I’m done being nice. This disrespect I see from some of these so called “Bucs fans” is mind blowing. Tony Dungy in his entire career has had 1 losing season…1. He had a better win percentage than any coach we ever had. And to the idiot that said well all he had to do was build a defense in Indy you sound stupid. All Gruden had to do was build an offense in Tampa, so what’s your point. I am not so much concerned about who get’s in first but don’t poo poo on Dungy’s contribution to this team. He changed the everything about this team from the culture, to wins, to the nice pretty logo that we have now on the sides of these helmets and jacka$$es are sitting here talking about he was a clown and brought the team down. Are you serious? He may not have won us a Superbowl but he did the next best thing which was to make a a relevant contender. I don’t under stand where this disrespect for Dungy comes from. It’s like eating tuna and crackers for years then somebody comes into your life and the gives you a 4 course top of the line steak dinner, but you want lobster to go with it and they can’t provide it, so you find someone who has the lobster and then you start criticizing the person that got you away from eating tuna crackers even though you are still eating their 4 course steak meal. That’s ridiculous. You can celebrate Gruden and Dungy they were both responsible for our superbowl. Like i said the other day, if Gruden takes over after Schiano or lovie are we still having this conversation.

  22. Greg Says:

    Gruden deserved to get in before Dungy, he’ll get up there eventually

  23. Miko Says:

    never mind the owners and coaches…there’s a long list of players to be honoured before this hoopla should take place
    …..”The purpose of the Buccaneers Ring of Honor is to recognize the individuals who have made the significant contributions to the history of this franchise.”-Brian Glazer
    …that statement points to the likes of Mark Cotney, Steve Wilson, Richard Wood, Wilder, Nickerson and of course – Barber…Ricky Bell too

  24. Fanalyzer34 Says:


    See Baltimore in 2000, the ’85 Bears, every Steelers team in the early to mid 70s as teams who without having dominant offenses. The year the Bucs won the super bowl – the offense wasn’t dominant (actually, the offense only went from 20.3 points per game in 2001 to 21.3 in 2002). If four picks and 8 million dollars was worth that – I’d love to sell you a used car at the same price of the new Rolls Royce-LOL.

    In regards to Gruden and MNF and the cushy job at BSPN – he did a great thing selling the public on his Chucky persona and has capitalized. Good For Him. However, there is is a reality that isn’t talked about under the glow of a Lombardi – No one is beating down the man’s door to coach in the NFL.

    In terms of Dungy’s HOF credentials, they are eerily similar to John Madden. He was a huge reason (along with Pops Glazer) that the Bucs turned from a laughing stock to an annual contender.

  25. '79Defense Says:

    It amazed me in the years following the SB win how people would actually criticize Gruden for it. Incredible. The whole “he won with Dungy’s team” bit. NOBODY seriously had the Bucs picked to win it all that year. Gruden came in, made some good changes, motivated the team and got it all done.

    I loved Dungy too, but don’t have a problem with Gruden going in first.

  26. Phil Says:


  27. Bucsfanman Says:

    @Fanalyzer- We can argue the finer points of this all day. In the end, Gruden did with the Bucs what Dungy could not, win a SB.
    Dungy deserves so much credit for that. I cannot argue that point. What I find troubling sometimes is the omission of Gruden’s accomplishments here and in Oakland. He’s a polarizing figure and one who easily became the target of fans once reality set in as to the hefty price paid.
    Dungy simply allowed his loyalty, an admirable trait, to get in the way of offensive success. No, we did not “light it on fire” Gruden’s 1st year. It was more than that. It was the swagger he brought, the energy. How many times did we scream at the TV for Dungy to get in someone’s face? Or act excited? Any emotion? He was stoic, the exact opposite of “Chucky”.
    Dungy deserves to be in the Ring of Honor, that is not up for debate.

  28. Keir Says:

    Another great article Ira! You brought up some very valid points and I agree that they should have both gone in together to illustrate the importance that both had in getting this team its first championship. Malcolm makes it hard because he is their Dad and im sure they felt he should go in with another great and if the choice was anyone it would be Gruden, because of his decision to get him and what Malcolm gave up ( Cash and draft picks ) to get him here. Keep the great articles and podcasts coming Ira!!!

  29. tmaxcon Says:


    why don’t you go count the number of Steeler offensive players in the hall of fame from the 70’s might surprise you sir…. Dungy failed. He did not get the job done simple as that. He produced garbage assistant coaches edwards and lovie failed in two locations marinelli gave us that wonderful 0-16 enough said on that… tomlin is not a dungy guy. one year does not earn that. second tomlin does not have the same philosophies on defense or game days. Being a nice guy and winning in the regular season means absolutely nothing if you embarrass yourself year in and year out in the playoffs. Dungy is not a great coach by any measure. There are 3 phases to football and he barely was good at one. his game day management and coaching scared was hard to watch. too many of you get caught up in the meaningless popularity and nice guy garbage when on field results are all that matter. Dungy failed

  30. tmaxcon Says:


    2 playoff wins in 6 years does not deserve to be in a ring of anything other than possibly a toilet bowl ring.

  31. tmaxcon Says:


    dungy the clown won 2 playoff games in 6 years THAT IS NOT A CONTENDER!!!! THAT IS A AVERAGE TEAM at best. great defense on a poorly coached bad football team by a one dimensional clown. results speak for themselves. the bucs were not contenders under the clown they were pretenders with a one dimensional team. great defenders handed to him by Whyce. can you imagine how embarrassing it would have been if dungy did not inherit so many great players from Whyce. Whyce deserves the ring more than Dungy and his pathetic 2 playoff wins. dungy and his scared coaching style held the bucs back. he did more harm than good. the nice guy crap is meaningless. win or go home

  32. Bucs4821 Says:

    It was a hefty price tag. Two first round picks and two second rounders and $8 million to the Raiders in exchange for your favorite team to win a Super Bowl. They mortgaged everything they had to take their shot before the window closed. And it paid off !!! If you were told at the time that you’d see the Bucs win a Super Bowl but… there was going to be a backlash in the years that followed it, would you have taken it? Of course you would. If someone proposed that right now, you’d take it as well. It’s all about the ring. That’s what they play and coach for and that’s why we keep watching. How many fans in Buffalo, Arizona, Atlanta, Cincinnati, etc. would trade their history for the Bucs’ for that ring?

  33. Bob Higginbotham Says:

    Excellent article Ira! Your standards stand tall and are consistently high!

  34. Fanalyzer34 Says:


    No one said the steelers didn’t have HOF’s on offense. But scoring 16 and 21 points in Super Bowls isn’t considered great offense (even during the 70s). Case in point -the Steel Curtain is the primary point of reference for those teams – not an offense that was average at best.

    I’m not a huge fan of using coaching trees as an indicator of a HC success. But don’t forget that Lovie took a team with Rex Grossman to a super bowl. Did Dungy win the big one in Tampa? No. But to use that solely as the total story of his time in Tampa lacks objectivity. Did Gruden win the SB? Obviously. If he were in Tampa for that one season only – it’d be cool to judge him solely on that. But he wasn’t there just one year. The other six have to be accounted for.

  35. K2 Says:

    When Gruden won the super bowl…we heard day after day how he did it with Dungy’s team. Dungy will some day be included in the ring of honor…its really too bad that we still can’t give Gruden any credit. Sorry Gruden, Tampa still refuses to celebrate with you…instead too many campaign against you. There are too many in Tampa that want to choose sides instead of recognize two “great coaches.”

  36. JimmyJack Says:

    Tmax doesn’t know anything about Buccaneers football. He doesn’t understand that Tony built a Championship defense here. He doesn’t understand how the players that won the SB learned how to dominate football games from Tony Dungy. He is in complete and utter denial about the impact Tony had because he is still bitter about losing playoff games because of the offense.

    If Tony Dungy doesn’t create the most prolific defense of our time here in Tampa Bay we would never have been good enough to win that ring in 2002. Tmax you may believe that the Tampa2 Defense didn’t help us win the SB but I’m here to tell you that your wrong. In fact it makes you damned ignorant.

    I wish you wouldn’t embarrass us as knowledgeable fans by posting these awful opinions. But keep going it proves your ignorance.

  37. DBS Says:

    Such a shame if Dungy was so great with the defense he could not get the job done in 6 years. But in comes Gruden and he puts together an offense then lets Monte be Monte and the first year gets the job done.

  38. Buc1987 Says:

    Tony Dungy is in the HOF before Gruden. That should be good enough. If Dungy belongs in the Hall, most certainly Gruden does too. Let alone the ROH!

  39. BucsFanatic35 Says:

    Sorry Ira, I love what you Do but you Missed the Ball on this one just as so Many others Have so please Allow me to Enlighten Folks on the Facts.
    First I Love Dungy for what He Did in Changing the Culture of this Team and Making us Relevant that can Never Be Taken Away from Him.
    But Now for the Facts of why this Decision was the Correct Move.
    As We all know this is the 15th Anniversary of the SB and Gruden and Malcom were Always Gonna Be put in ROH Together. Now for all the Good Dungy Did here He could not get it done in the Playoffs thats just a Fact.
    As Much as Fans Don’t want to Admit it Grudens Tenure in Tampa was Much More Successful, 1 Lombardi Trophy, 1 NFC Championship, 3 Division Titles (More than any other Bucs Coach in History)
    Where as the Players were the same when He took over it was not the Same Team, from Day 1 Gruden Came in and Challenged them to Be Better that Great and they Answered the Call.

    PLEASE any Buc Fan that Has Not Watched the Documentary of our SB Run it is a Must watch Video for any Die Hard Fan…

  40. Mike Johnson Says:

    Say Ira, the Bucs cannot ignore the fact we were the laughing stock of the NFL for a very long time. I was there..and so were you. I remember when you could get 2 free tickets to the game with a 50 dollar purchase from Winn Dixie! Thats how bad we were. Dungy was instrumental in turning this thing around. And us ole school guys know it. I got no problem with Chucly getting his..But Dungy needs to be next.