Two words sum up my review of Tony Dungy's book, Quiet Strength: Deeply inspirational. It doesn't matter what your background and interests are, everyone should read this book. You don't have to be a Colts fan. You don't have to even be a sports fan. You don't have to be a Christian, although Dungy's Christ-centric lifestyle is quite an inspiring model, especially when compared to the lifestyles of others in the game.
This isn't a football book. If you're looking for the X's and O's of how the Colts won the Super Bowl you'll need to look elsewhere. This is a remarkable story about a remarkable man and his journey up to now. Although it's easy for all of us to look at the positives in Dungy's life, especially since it's only been about 5 months since the Colts won the Lombardi trophy, this book outlines the many, many challenges and setbacks he's had along the way; but it's how he's responded to each and every one of those situations that make him an excellent role model.
I had often wondered why a search of "Tony Dungy" on Amazon yielded nothing until this book came out. The reason behind that is explained in the Introduction: as a very quiet, private man, Dungy didn't see the need to hype is career/life in a book. Or he didn't until he realized it could be used to help others, and that's precisely his goal with Quiet Strength. Much has been written about his outreach to teens in trouble after his own son committed suicide in 2005. Seeing this man in action and hearing him speak recently, I have no doubt these reports only scratch the surface. Dungy is a remarkable person who impacts everyone around him.
Dungy isn't one to operate with a bunch of smoke and mirrors. Even his advice on building a solid team would be considered pretty dull by today's standards. It's mostly "do what we do, whatever it takes", etc. No fire and brimstone, which is one of the reasons he probably looked like less of a winner after Jon Gruden was able to replace him in Tampa and win it all in his first year. Fortunately for good guys everywhere, Dungy proved once and for all that Leo Durocher was wrong and they can finish first! Further, the Colts success in 2006/2007 can be directly attributed to Dungy's stick-to-it attitude and approach.
This book caused me to look at Colts owner Jim Irsay differently. I've always assumed he was a cold mercenary, just like his dad. You remember Bob Irsay...he's the guy who moved the Colts from Baltimore to Indianapolis without telling anyone. Not that Jim wouldn't consider pulling up stakes as well, but it was interesting to read Dungy's story of how Jim first contacted him. It was immediately after Tampa let Dungy go and Irsay presented a vision for the team that reminded me of the old Art Rooney days in Pittsburgh. Irsay even went on to tell Dungy that money wouldn't be an issue and to make sure "your agent doesn't screw up the deal"!
Read this book and you too will discover that football is just one small but important piece of Tony Dungy's life. It's how he's dealt with all the other aspects of his life though that truly make this a outstanding book. Just when I thought there were no players/coaches in professional sports worthy of having your child look up to, Tony Dungy proved me wrong.