Tony Dungy on the Pats-Colts: It’s Ali-Frazier

Posted on October 30, 2007 
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Yesterday on “Movin’ The Chains” on SIRIUS NFL Radio, hosts Shannon Sharpe and Bruce Murray spoke with Indianapolis Head Coach Tony Dungy about this weekend’s match-up between the Colts and Patriots.

Sharpe: “If you look at it, it’s not a Super Bowl match-up, but I don’t know if there’s ever been a more anticipated, a more hyped regular season game than what you have here. This might be, if this was cartoons, this is Godzilla vs. Megalodon.”

Dungy: (laughs) “I think you’re right. I had never been involved in one until last year, the Manning Bowl opening day. That had a lot of hype for the regular season, but this has been building for five or six weeks. And, to me, I guess I look at it like when I was in high school and it was Frazier against Ali. Ali was the people’s champ and he had been the greatest and all of a sudden Frazier comes along. But they said now Ali’s back and he’s better than ever. And it was, it was just an unbelievable situation and I think this is the same thing. People are saying, hey, New England was the champ. They’ve been away for a couple of years. Now they’re reloaded. For both teams to be undefeated, it’s great for the NFL, it really is.”

Sharpe: “How do you approach this game? Obviously you did a great job because they’re trying to get your guys after the [Carolina] game to talk about New England and Jeff Saturday and Reggie Wayne and all your guys said, ‘Look, we’re going to worry about New England starting on Wednesday. Right now let’s talk about Carolina and how well we played today.’”

Dungy: “Right. And I told them everybody’s been wanting to hype this for three weeks so there’ll be plenty of time for hype and everything. Let’s just enjoy this victory. The thing we’ve got to keep in mind [is] it is a regular season game. It’s not the Super Bowl. The loser doesn’t go home. All it is going to determine is who is the best on November 4th. And that team may or may not be the best. We beat New England two or three years ago and people wanted to give us the trophy at that point and we didn’t win it. And all I heard last year was how San Diego had the most talent and the best team and they didn’t win it. So it’ll be a big, huge game. It’ll be great for TV but it will just tell who was the best on that particular day.”

Sharpe: “[People] are saying [the Patriots] are running up the score. I said you’ve got [Redskins head coach] Joe Gibbs who is making $6 million a year, you’ve got a defensive coordinator that is making $2.5 million, you’ve got an offensive coordinator that is making $2 million a year. It’s not Bill Belichick’s job to keep the score down. It’s his job to put his team out on the field, run their offense and it’s your job to stop them.”

Dungy: “That’s the way I look at it. Everybody does what they can do to get their team to play the best that it can be. Sometimes you need to work on things. Who knows what’s going on in that coach’s mind? So I’ve never worried about that. I’ve always felt that way, that it is our job to stop them. Sure, you worry about your quarterback getting hurt or some of your key guys. I don’t think anyone in the NFL worries about that. You have to go out there and play the game, you play for 60 minutes.”

Murray: “[The Patriots] score on the first drive every time. They put up big numbers in the first half. How significant to you is the first 15 minutes of the game on Sunday because, if you become one-dimensional you’re one of those teams that could throw it every time and it wouldn’t matter. But you still don’t want to fall too far behind. How much of a premium do you put on that first quarter?”

Dungy: “Well, you are going to have to buckle down and play your game and not get consumed by the hype. I think the fact that we were 18 down on them last year, our guys aren’t going to panic if we get behind.”

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