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Professionalism in the NFL

January 13, 2009

I read this article a couple of days ago, and I figured today (the day after Tony Dungy announced his retirement) would be the perfect time for a rebuttal. The post states that for the past four years, both Tony Dungy and Brett Favre have considered retiring. It then goes on to say that Dungy isn't hit with the same criticism for his one foot in/ one foot out mentality. These statements are correct, but do you know why he isn't criticized as harshly or at all? Because Tony Dungy is a professional.

Brett Favre typically takes months to decide, leaving the team and organization on hold. He actually retired, twice. When or if he comes back, he expects the team to cater to his needs. A couple of seasons ago the Packers were so certain on his retirement (mind you, it was due to his own statements) that they drafted Aaron Rogers with a first round pick. Favre reacted by not helping Aaron Rogers with the adjustments needed for the NFL. He leaves the organization on hold, during the most important planning periods for the following season. Its no wonder, the Packers forced him into an answer. If not, they could have been possibly dealing with this act for years to come leaving them always a step or two behind their competitors in the off season.

On the other hand Tony Dungy is the epitome of professionalism. He typically takes a week, goes home and mulls it over with his family. After the week is done, his decision is made and the team can move on to important business; i.e. free agency, the combine, and the draft. He has never retired, let the Colts hire a new coach, and then decided to come back ruining the post-Dungy Colts. Lastly and maybe the most telling part, is that he doesn't use texting as a way of communication between himself and the front office. When he makes his decision the Colts know it is final, they can move on knowing Tony won't call closer to the season to tell them he will meet them at training camp.

Don't get me wrong, every player and coach in the league have the right to mull their future over every off season. Working for the NFL is a demanding job that doesn't leave much time for families. As for players, their bodies are on the line. They need to decide if they can undergo the rigors of another grueling season of practice, travel, games and punishing blows to the body. Yet they need to think about more than themselves when making this decision. The team depends on players and coaches for timely decisions. If they didn't have that, nothing would ever get done. That is why Tony Dungy is a professional and Brett Favre is not.



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