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Dungy: Bucs' win 'was bittersweet'

By RICK STROUD, Times Staff Writer

© St. Petersburg Times, published February 21, 2003


INDIANAPOLIS -- The week leading up to Super Bowl XXXVII, Tony Dungy was at home in Tampa watching the city erupt with excitement over a Bucs team he helped build.

And when the Bucs became world champions, Dungy admitted he had mixed emotions.

Dungy, who took the Bucs to the playoffs four times in six seasons before he was fired after the 2001 season, spoke for the first time in detail Thursday about Tampa Bay's championship.

"It was bittersweet," said Dungy, who enters his second season as coach of the Colts. "But I'm happy for those guys, it was well deserved and I'm happy for the city. For the most part, it was good.

"Obviously, you spend five or six years with guys, you want them to do well. But it's like I used to tell the team, every year is a new year and every team is a new team."

Dungy said he appreciated the praise heaped on him throughout the season by Bucs coach Jon Gruden, but he didn't have much communication with his former coaches.

"That, obviously, was flattering. It wasn't necessary, but I appreciated it," Dungy said.

"I tried not to (keep in contact). I talked to some of the coaches as they were going through it. But I really tried not to. I just didn't think it was my place."

Asked about his prediction for the Super Bowl, Dungy said he correctly picked the Bucs to win in a runaway.

"I knew they would destroy them," he said. "I thought they would have a tougher time with Philly than they did with the Raiders. I thought they would've had a tougher time with Tennessee or Pittsburgh. I just thought they matched up really well with the Raiders. I thought it would be a difficult game for the Raiders."

OT OKAY: The league's competition committee met for several days to discuss the system of deciding games with sudden-death overtime. But support for changes in the system is dwindling.

Titans coach Jeff Fisher, the committee co-chairman, said surveys indicated 50-60 percent of coaches want changes. But that would require votes from 24 of 32 teams for approval at owners meetings in Phoenix next month.

"Despite what we anticipated coming in, there wasn't many people pushing for a change," Fischer said. "A number of options were presented, the most common were the two-possession plans. The six-point option was discussed."

Commissioner Paul Tagliabue has said he would like to see changes because the coin toss increasingly has become a deciding factor in overtime games.

Forty percent of the record 25 overtime games in 2002 were won on the first possession by the team that won the coin toss.

Fisher, Dungy, Jets coach Herman Edwards and Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said they favor the current system.

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