If there are two men you want to get an education in life from, they are Tony Dungy and Mike Tomlin. During today’s ManUp conference, the two shared the stage for the first time in conference history. Dungy showed up by default but still took the time to talk alongside Tomlin, who attended the event in person. Much of the discussion centered around the purpose of the program, fighting the orphan in Western PA, but the conversation also moved Tomlin back to his roots as an NFL coach. And the influence of dingy on him.
In 2001, 28-year-old Tomlin was hired by Dongyi as Tampa Bay’s defensive coach. It was Tomlin’s first job in the NFL and he fiddled with being a coach and dad, having his first child three months ago. Tomlin told the conference exactly how he was feeling.
“I was scared to death.”
Tomlin showed up at the Tampa Bay facility on his first official day on the job, expecting to grind out the next eight months. Dungey summoned Tomlin in his attack, and Tomlin didn’t quite remember why, but what happened next is all that matters.
Tomlin walked into Dungey’s office and the first thing he saw was Dungey’s son there too, playing video games while Dungey did his work. At that moment, something clicked for Tomlin.
“It hit me like lightning.”
Seeing this made Tomlin realize the importance of cultivating and balancing family and football. He was working where he was allowed to. In fact, Dungy . credits for him Head coach, Chuck Noll, for instilling these family values into football. Noll had a family day every Saturday in training, even letting kids and wives into the team coaching field during team practice. Dungey would say that became a culture shock in Indianapolis, something that was never allowed under Jim Morra, and the players had to adapt. Peyton Manning in particular, who loved using those Sabbath practices to clean up any mistakes made during the week. But he also understood Dungey’s point of view and when Manning signed for Denver, he convinced Broncos coach John Fox to do the same.
For Tomlin, seeing Dungey and his son in that office was the perfect picture of balance. A concept and value that Tomlin embraced when he became the head coach and families and children are welcomed during the week in Pittsburgh. There’s always a family day out at the bootcamp, too.
From Knoll to Dungey to Tomlin. Decades of tradition, core values and family. That moment formed from meeting Dungey in his office on the first day of the day.