Dungy joins NBC's Football Night in America
Early last NFL season, NBC Sports Chairman Dick Ebersol was riding in a car with announcer Al Michaels and said the one missing piece on NBC’s Football Night in America broadcast was a former coach. Ebersol asked who would be the best choice if NBC ever did hire an ex-coach.
According to Ebersol, Michaels said, "Any conversation about a former coach should begin and end with Tony Dungy.’’
That conversation ended Wednesday when NBC announced Dungy, the former Bucs and Colts head coach, would join the Football Night in America studio show on Sunday evenings. The network also added former NFL player Rodney Harrison to the show, which precedes the Sunday night game of the week.
"This is keeping myself involved in the game I really love,’’ Dungy said.
After coaching the Bucs from 1996 to 2001 and the Colts from 2002 to 2008, Dungy, 53, left coaching after last season. He did so to move back to Tampa to do ministry work and spend more time with his family, including going to his son’s high school football games. Dungy's son, Eric, will be a senior at Plant High next school year.
"I really didn't go into this offeseason thinking about TV at all,'' Dungy said. "Dick asked if I would like to do the Super Bowl because it was in Tampa. He said to see how I liked it. It turned out to be a great experience and it was a lot of fun. Then we started kicking things around. I didn’t want to miss my son’s high school football game and some of the ministry things I do during the week. But, basically, this job is just Saturday and Sunday, so I talked to my wife and we thought we could make it work family-wise.''
Dungy and Harrison join the broadcast team of Bob Costas, Keith Olbermann, Dan Patrick and Tiki Barber. Ebersol said NBC will announce more changes to the studio show's format in the coming months, but did indicate the show will spend more time talking about its game of the week and less time reviewing what happened earlier in the day.
"Over the past few years I've enjoyed getting to know Tony through numerous production meetings and his work on our Super Bowl coverage, and have been impressed by the way he handled himself not only as a coach and communicator but more so as a human being,'' Ebersol said. "What I learned is that in addition to his obvious Super Bowl credentials, Tony is a gifted storyteller. That was confirmed by his outstanding work on our Super Bowl studio show.''