Banks' Shots (cont.)
Posted: Wednesday February 7, 2007 12:00PM; Updated: Thursday February 8, 2007 9:26AM
Dungy is a man who always thinks before opening his mouth, and he made a point of saying in the post-game that he was even prouder of setting an example as a Super Bowl-winning "Christian coach'' as he was of being the first black coach to win it all.
To me that was a not-so-subtle reminder to all those critics who over the years labeled him too nice or too soft-spoken to really cut it in the demanding world of NFL coaching. It was Dungy's way of saying that the intimidation tactics of coaches such as Jon Gruden, Bill Parcells and Bill Belichick aren't a prerequisite to winning and winning big.
And speaking of Belichick, it was a classy gesture by him to call and wish Peyton Manning good luck on Friday of Super Bowl week, and it was equally classy of Manning to make sure news of Belichick's call was made public via the Boston Globe.
I didn't get a vote in the Super Bowl MVP balloting, but if I had, I think I would have split my ballot between Colts running backs Dominic Rhodes and Joseph Addai, who produced 264 yards of offense and a touchdown on 51 touches. That said, Peyton Manning's selection was entirely defensible given the accuracy of his performance while playing in a steady rain.
Once Dallas fills it coaching vacancy, it'll be the 16th coaching change in the NFL in the past two years, although to be exact it's only 15 of 32 teams making a switch with Oakland double-dipping. That's a remarkable rate of turnover on the sidelines, and it could have been even more pronounced if men like Tom Coughlin, Marty Schottenheimer and Romeo Crennel hadn't barely staved off a firing.
Will the last player to pull out of the Pro Bowl please hit the lights as you leave? What a joke to label this one an all-star game. It should be henceforth be known as the Alternate Bowl, because there will be a heck of a lot of Pro Bowl alternates suiting up Saturday in Hawaii. Even one of the alternates -- Baltimore linebacker Ray Lewis -- had to drop out due to injury.
Why, you could almost make an all-star team out of the guys who were voted in but won't appear.
The Chargers starting secondary figures to have at least a 50 percent new look next season. Safety Terrence Kiel, with his host of legal problems, is a lock to be released in the coming weeks. Chargers general manager A.J. Smith has told some he doesn't want any Bengals-type characters issues on his roster, and has promised to clean up "a little bit of our mess.''
Cornerback Drayton Florence also is on shaky ground. The Chargers believe last year's first-round pick, Antonio Cromartie, is ready to play, and Florence's costly personal foul penalty against New England in the divisional playoffs only helped to bury him a little further on the 2007 depth chart.
Without peeking, tell me the last team to beat the now-Super Bowl champion Colts this season? That's right, it was the David Carr-led Houston Texans, 27-24, at Reliant Stadium on Christmas Eve. Indy won all five of its games that followed.
Don't look now, but the NFL Scouting Combine opens in Indianapolis in two weeks. Free agency cranks to life in 23 days, the NFL Draft is a mere 80 days away, while Hall of Fame weekend and the start of the preseason schedule is a few days shy of six months out.
Offseason? What offseason?
Don Banks covers pro football for SI.com.