You will find different checkmarks on calanders when you ask people to put down a time when the Bucs really changed things around under Tony Dungy. You'll get everything from the date he was hired, to the day we drafted Sapp and Brooks. Most people forget the steps along the way and the terrible start to 1996 that forged the season that started it all. But a little known fact about two starters who really messed up and embarrassed the coach, may have been the catalyst that started it all.
In this week of reflection as we wear the uniform of the 1976 team, celebrate the 1979 team, we also have to think about the last team to wear Orange, the 1996 team, Dungy's first Bucs squad.
There is a fantastic similarity to Dungy's message and Coach Raheem Morris'. Dungy refused to let his team make excuses. In fact, in his book "Quiet Strength", he lists the excuses he felt his team could come up with..
- We have a new coaching staff
- We have to learn a new offensive and defensive system
- We have sub-par facilities
- We have a young quarterback
- We never get the benefit of the doubt from officials
- We have distractions over a stadium, and we may move cities
- We never win in the cold
I scratched out the ones that dont apply in 2009, but amazing how many do huh?
Instead, Dungy told his team they had these things expected of them...
- Be a pro
- Act like a champion
- Respond to adversity; dont react
- Be ON TIME; Being late means its not important or you cant be relied upon
- Execute; Do what your supposed to do when your supposed to do it, all of the time, not almost, ALL THE WAY.
- Take ownership
- NO EXCUSES, NO EXPLANATIONS.