tampabay.com

Congrats, Dungy

Hundreds of you sent e-mails to congratulat e Colts coach Tony Dungy. Some excerpts:

By Tom Jones
Published January 28, 2007


Coach Dungy not only has been a model citizen, he stands for all that is right with humankind. In an age when everyone asks, "What's in it for me," he teaches the art of giving and reaps the rewards. That he should do so in a team environment is to the good fortune of all involved. His genius has found a home with the Colts; his methods vindicated by the success of his disciples.

K. Michelle Edwards, via e-mail

Congratulations, Tony. This is the second team you have prepared for the Super Bowl. It was a shame you were fired before the Bucs went to the Super Bowl. Good luck and may God continue to bless you, your family and your team.

Kenneth Spencer, St. Petersburg

Your faith in God and belief in yourself has given me hope in my daily life to be who I am, no matter what the circumstances may bring.

Perfecto Leon, Tampa

Part of your legacy will be providing the NFL with four good men who are now head coaches. Tampa Bay misses you.

Ed Shea, Palm Harbor

It's about time you have your Super Bowl day. You did so much for the Tampa Bay area and our Buccaneers. You were able to calm everyone down and get back to the basics of football. You led us to places and playoffs that we hadn't seen in quite awhile. I didn't like how you were dismissed, but wherever you went, I knew that team would benefit from your calm and faithful demeanor. You will always be in the hearts and history of Tampa Bay and the Bucs.

Kelli A. DeGraw, St. Petersburg

I know that Coach Dungy has too much class to say this himself, but somebody has to: Hey, Glazers, how do you like me now?

Jim Barbetto, via e-mail

Today more than ever, kids need a sports personality to look up to. They hear about athletes using steroids, and being arrested and worse. Tony Dungy is a winning coach who shows respect for the players and referees. He is reserved and dignified on and off the field. Football is often violent, and he shows that you don't have to be violent to win games. He will always be a Tampa favorite, even to retirees like me.

Ruth Nolan, Port Richey

We are all aware that it was Dungy's Bucs team that won the Super Bowl. Jon Gruden took the credit, but it was Dungy who put it together. Congratulations for two winning teams. He is one great guy.

William J. Ardiff, Redington Beach

Tony Dungy, in every respect, exemplifies greatness and professionalism. You now have the Super Bowl game that you have deserved for years and should have had here in Tampa.

Mark DeVore, via e-mail

Ever since Tony Dungy left Tampa Bay, I have followed him in Indianapolis. I am now a Colts fan, and I hate the Buccaneers for getting rid of him. I was so excited when he won the AFC Championship Game. I love Dungy because of his strong faith and because he is not a typical coach - he doesn't scream and yell at his players or referees. He acts like the Christian he is.

Ciara Miller, New Port Richey

My wife and I attended a conference in Indianapolis last August, where we stayed at a hotel adjacent to the Colts' stadium. As we were talking with some people from Tampa Bay, we looked up and saw Tony Dungy come out of a conference room and head toward a flight of stairs while talking on a cell phone. We ran toward him shouting, "Tony, we're from Tampa." Tony, halfway down a flight of stairs and still talking on his cell phone, heard our shout. He hung up the phone and walked back up the stairs to greet us and exchange pleasantries about Tampa.

Pat Farmer, Clearwater

Coach Dungy is my idea of a great father, husband, sports figure and coach. He is someone we can all look up to and someone that we can use as a mentor. My respect and admiration goes out to this elite giant.

Carol Smith, Johnstown, Pa.

What a calm, smooth, dignified example of a coach and man he is. I was very upset when he was fired as the Bucs coach. In time, he would have brought the Bucs to the Super Bowl. What a class act.

Agnes Touris, Palm Harbor

Through hard times he always remained a class individual. It goes to show that nice guys don't always end up last. Tony Dungy will always be a winner.

Joe & Kay De Fillippo, Largo

Tony Dungy is going to the show. If Jon Gruden and Bruce Allen want to go, they will have to buy a ticket. Good luck, Tony. You're so special.

Conard Hunter, Brooksville

If you looked up class or gentleman in the dictionary, you would see Tony Dungy's picture. Lovie Smith, John Lynch, Warrick Dunn, Mike Alstott, Mike Tomlin and Monte Kiffin, to name a few, are of the same mold. These fine men will never know the impact they have made on professional athletes and many other people from all walks of life. Who knows, Tony may have started a new trend where it would be cool to be a respectful, law abiding member of society.

Tom Colbert, Dunedin

I often let my friends know that Tony Dungy is the only Bucs' autograph I own. He seems to have an innate understanding of people, and his Christian leadership lends a calm to his team.

Carol DiMura, Seminole

What would YOU do for a ticket?

Among numerous fans who undoubtedly all thought they had a great idea by offering advertising space on their bodies in exchange for tickets is a Chicago-area woman who boasts of extra room because she is 30 weeks pregnant. And, she notes in her ad on Craigslist: "FYI I have no stretch marks whatsoever."

See you there?

As if all the parties and events and activities throughout the week aren't enough - and as if tickets to the game aren't expensive enough - the NFL is setting up a Touchdown Club in the parking lot of Dolphin Stadium for sponsors and their guests to have a three-hour pregame soiree. The good news is you, too, can attend, just by paying the price of admission: $595.

eBay item of the day

We're not sure why, but you can buy wood tags to put on your doorknobs engraved with WELCOME COLTS or WELCOME BEARS. Just $5.95 each.

Headline we don't expect to see

Gruden offers Dungy Super Bowl advice

Web site of the day

Check out longsnapper.com, where Chicago's Patrick Mannelly offers nearly everything you'd need to learn his trade: a training guide, technique tips, instruction and recruiting advice. And he offers private lessons at $150 an hour.

We want more ...

Scoop on exactly what you get for the thousands it costs to go to some of these Super Bowl parties.

We want less ...

Whining about how the Bears and Colts didn't get any respect.

Can you say corporate excess?

Motorola is taking over a 10-block stretch of South Beach's Ocean Drive for most of the week, according to ESPN.com, with plans for a Bellagio Las Vegas-style fountain and light show choreographed to music, a Jumbotron showing highlights of previous Super Bowls in Miami and an end zone dance contest judged by NFL players Chad Johnson, left, Steven Jackson and DeAngelo Hall, with two game tickets going to the winner.

Compiled by Marc Topkin and Gary Shelton with information from researcher Caryn Baird and Times wires.

Only in Miami

Combine sunshine, beaches and barely dressed beautiful people together the day before the Super Bowl and you have what is billed as the "sexiest sporting event of the year:" VolleyPalooza. About 350 top fashion models - men and women - are expected to compete Saturday in a beach volleyball tournament and participate in a Speedo swimsuit show, that, of course, benefits charities.

Party time

South Beach is going to be jumping all week. One of the more interesting bashes should be Penthouse magazine's Goin' Deep Super Party, at the Mansion club. Tickets, available for $1,000 through teamonetickets.com, include a show by rapper Snoop Dogg, a live DJ performance, food and an open bar. But the featured attraction will be the 20-plus Penthouse Pets mingling throughout the club.

Tough ticket

Why are Super Bowl tickets so hard to get? There aren't many for sale. The distribution:

NFL 25.2%

Colts 17.5%

Bears 17.5%

Dolphins (host) 5%

Other 29 teams 1.2% each

Could you describe the South Florida lifestyle in five words?

Like Cleveland, except for ... everything.

If you are Tony Dungy or Lovie Smith, what are your biggest concerns as far as distractions?

The football game. It could definitely take the players' minds off the issues at hand. Like a player might be at a club in South Beach, having a good time, and suddenly somebody asks him about, I don't know, the zone defense, and then he'll start thinking about it, and his night is RUINED.

Normally, is it the heat or the humidity?

It's the tourists. Ricardo Tubbs or Sonny Crockett? JLo or Gloria Estefan? Scarface or Nick Saban?

Tubbs, because he shaved more. Gloria is our home girl and a great lady. And definitely Scarface (Al Pacino), who has more integrity than Nick and is more likeable. Also, Scarface would have done a better job coaching the Dolphins.

The Super Bowl will be a success in Miami if ...

The evacuation goes smoothly.

125,000 Visitors expected in South Florida for game-related events.

90,000 Hotel rooms in Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties

$5,540

The average price for a game ticket went up 6 percent in the past few days because of high demand by Bears and Colts fans, according to an analysis by the organization Seat Smart.