To the bolded, I'm not sure why you feel it has to be all or nothing. Dungy had his faults, Manning his, and both men needed each other. Being critical of one doesn't have to be because you're trying to prop the other one up.
Also, a side note on Meeks, it was bitter sweet that the defense turned itself around in the playoffs in 2006, because that likely saved his job. He was dead weight on our coaching staff, and our units constantly underperformed on his watch. To his credit, we had a good year in 2007, defensively, but that was also Bob Sanders best year, and when Freeney and Mathis got hurt, the defense went down the drain. Not that that's Meeks' fault, but he wasn't a good coach.
And that actually highlights what I think was Dungy's biggest drawback, is that he was loyal to a fault. I mentioned in another thread how he dragged Christensen along with him at every turn, despite underwhelming results. Meeks and Russ Purnell should have been dismissed years before Caldwell took over, and it's telling that those are the very first moves Caldwell made once he became the head man. Dungy also played his cards to get Caldwell the head job, essentially holding Irsay and Polian hostage during the offseason after 2007, until they agreed to promise the job to Caldwell. Irsay and Polian should have had the sense NOT to agree to this, as it wound up being one of the most ill-advised decisions of their partnership, and likely cost Polian his job. But this was Dungy's doing.
I am not questioning Dungy's motives or his character; as I said, I think he is a very good person, and I respect him for everything he did. But he had his faults as a coach and as the main decision maker for a football team, probably because the win/loss record of the football team wasn't as important to him as his relationships with his people. And maybe that's not a fault, depending on how you look at it, but it's one of the reasons I say he held the team back.
He also helped key players on this team develop into better players and people, including Manning. He was instrumental in helping us become one of the most disciplined teams in the league, on and off the field. Some might have found his cool demeanor lacking, but he took great pride in showing that you can win at the highest level without being a drill sergeant, and he said as much on the podium after the Super Bowl win. He deserves many, many accolades.
But he's not above reproach. And just because someone mentions some of his shortcomings doesn't mean that they are only interested in shielding Manning from criticism.
I don't think it has to be all or nothing but when someone starts the post with Dungy won a Super Bowl with Peyton Manning and a returning Bob Sanders that is an attempt to belittle Dungy on that Super Bowl run. It's not exactly like we road Peyton Manning's back to the Super Bowl ring. Don't get me wrong we don't win that Super Bowl without Peyton Manning but it's not like he threw 20 TDs and no INTs as we road only him to the Super Bowl. Like I said in my post I think the key to us winning that Super Bowl was that we didn't have to ride Manning to the ring. He didn't have to be perfect he just needed to be good. So I am all for giving others credit. I am just tired of people who feel the need to try to give all the credit to Manning and Sanders for that ring. No we don't win it without them but we don't win it without the o-line, Addai & Rhodes, Jackson & Hayden, Booger, AV, Marvin Harrison, or Tony Dungy either just to name a few.
I am not saying Ron Meeks was the best coach in the world or even that great. However, had we fired him after the Jags game in 2006 like just about everyone not named Tony Dungy wanted there is in all likely hood no Super Bowl run that year. Dungy had the vision to just stay the course and more importantly knew the adjustments to make so the defense could get better. People love to talk about things Dungy got wrong and yes he did get things wrong but he deserves credit for what he got right too and not panicking and firing Ron Meeks in the middle of the season was one of the things he got right.
You can say dragging Christensen around is a bad thing but even Pagano kept him. So maybe he was a slightly better coach than you are giving him credit for.
Again, I didn't say Dungy was perfect I didn't even say he was the best coach of his generation. He wasn't. To this point though he is easily the best coach in Indianapolis Colts history and yet people try to down play everything he did and treat him like he was Jim Caldwell. Tony Dungy will be a Hall of Fame Coach and to this point he is the only coach in Indianapolis Colts history who can say that. So rather than trying to always down play Dungy or talk about how he was overrated how about giving some credit where credit is due. Saying he was good is not saying he didn't have his faults. The man was a darn good coach and we were lucky to have him as our coach. Make no mistake about it he was the missing peace for us to become a NFL power house because before he came in the team was regressing even with Peyton Manning. We don't win a Super Bowl without Peyton Manning or Bill Polian and only Tony Dungy but we don't win a Super Bowl with Peyton Manning and Bill Polian and no Tony Dungy either.
Also I have news for you if you think it was only Tony Dungy who wanted Jim Caldwell to be the Colts next coach you are flat out wrong. There is no way that happens without Irsay and Polian agreeing to it and what exactly about Bill Polian leads you to think his ego would cave to the demands of someone even like Dungy? Caldwell got the title he did because at the time he was being interviewed by the Falcons for their Head Coaching job so the Colts do what all teams do with a coach like that they want to keep. They gave him a promotion and a pay raise. That's how Chris Polian got promoted too because that was the Falcons first plan hire Chris Polian as their GM and bring Caldwell in as the Head Coach. The Colts took steps to keep their guys and the Falcons went in another direction.