Unhappy NFL homecomings for Emmitt, Mariucci, Holmgren
JERSEY CITY, New Jersey - Tony Dungy will be hoping his homecoming doesn't turn out like it did for Emmitt Smith, Steve Mariucci or Mike Holmgren.
Dungy makes his return to Tampa Bay on Monday night when his unbeaten Indianapolis Colts battle the Super Bowl champion Buccaneers.
On Sunday, Smith, Mariucci and Holmgren all were beaten in homecomings.
Dungy, who celebrates his 48th birthday Monday, coached the Bucs for six years but failed to lead the franchise to the Super Bowl.
When he became Bucs coach, Dungy took over a franchise that had made three postseason appearances in 20 years and turned them into a perennial playoff team. But the Bucs advanced only as far as the NFC championship game in 1999. That was followed by losses in the wild-card round the next two years at Philadelphia.
Bucs owner Malcolm Glazer fired Dungy after the 2001 season and targeted Bill Parcells as his successor. After Parcells jilted the Bucs, Glazer sent four draft picks and $8 million to the Oakland Raiders for Jon Gruden. It turned out to be a bargain when Gruden led the Bucs to their first Super Bowl title.
Dungy landed on his feet in Indianapolis and guided the Colts to the postseason, but he experienced more playoff failure with an embarrassing 41-0 loss to the New York Jets in the wild card round.
Now, he takes an unbeaten team to his former home to close out Week Five.
"My only hope is this doesn't get turned into a sideshow," Dungy said. "Playing on Monday night against the defending champions, we're 4-0, that should be the story line. I think that would be a great story line."
But Dungy, who should get an appreciative salute from the fans in Tampa Bay, knows better.
"We had our chances (to win the Super Bowl in Tampa Bay) when I was there," Dungy said. "You don't get many second chances in football."
Gruden seized his first chance with the Bucs, but was quick to credit Dungy for building the foundation.
"I took over a team with a great defense and a great kicker that was well-schooled by Tony," Gruden said. "I left Monte Kiffin as the defensive coordinator when I became coach because I wanted to keep that continuity. I just had to work with the offense and we got better and better as the season progressed and played our best football in the playoffs."
A total of 25 Bucs, including the nucleus of defensive tackle Warren Sapp, linebacker Derrick Brooks, safety John Lynch, cornerback Ronde Barber, quarterback Brad Johnson, receiver Keyshawn Johnson and fullback Mike Alstott, all played for Dungy.
"It's definitely going to be special," Lynch said. "But it's going to be a battle. He's in here trying to beat us and we're trying to beat him."
Making his return to the place where he spent 13 years and set the NFL's all-time rushing record, Smith was stuffed for minus-1 yard on six carries before leaving with a shoulder injury as the Dallas Cowboys rolled to a 24-7 victory over the Arizona Cardinals.
It marked the first time in 206 NFL games that Smith failed to gain at least one yard on the ground. And the Cowboys (3-1) added injury to insult, knocking out Smith in the second quarter with a sprained right shoulder.
Mariucci coached the Niners from 1997-2002 and led them to a 60-43 record, two NFC West titles and four playoff appearances. But that wasn't good enough for Niners owner John York, who fired him three days after a 31-6 loss at Tampa Bay in the divisional playoffs.
Ahman Green made sure Mike Holmgren's second trip to Lambeau Field was a miserable one.
The only coach to succeed in the prodigious shadow of Vince Lombardi, Holmgren won a Super Bowl, took the Packers to another and guided the franchise to six playoff appearances during his seven-year tenure. But Holmgren left Green Bay after the 1998 season to become general manager-coach of the Seahawks.
This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index