The Hall of Fame Ring of Excellence is among three iconic symbols that represent the elite status of being a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Dungy and Harrison received their Hall of Fame Gold Jackets on Thursday night of Enshrinement Week in Canton, and unveiled their Bronzed Bust during the Enshrinement Ceremony two days later. All three symbols – the Gold Jacket, the Bronzed Bust and the Ring of Excellence – will be displayed during the Hall of Fame Ring of Excellence presentation. Dungy and Harrison will wear their Hall of Fame Gold Jackets and each of their Bronzed Busts have been temporarily removed from the Hall of Fame to make their way to Indianapolis for the Ring of Excellence ceremony. The President of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, David Baker, will be on hand to present the rings during halftime of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Colts game on Thanksgiving day.
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Dungy was enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame for his contributions to the Game as a coach, but he began his football career as a player. During college, he was the quarterback for the Minnesota Gophers from 1973-76 before he was signed as a free agent by the Steelers as a safety. He was a member of the 1978 Steelers Super Bowl XIII championship team. Dungy’s career as an NFL player came to an end in 1980, and then he was quickly hired by Pittsburgh as the defensive backs coach in 1981. He served as an assistant coach for 15 years in the NFL including stints with the Steelers, Kansas City Chiefs and the Minnesota Vikings. While serving as the Vikings’ defensive coordinator from 1992-95, his defense was ranked first in the NFL.
In 1996, Dungy received his head coach position when hired by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Bucs were in desperate need of a strong leader and Dungy was the answer. Dungy inherited a team that had suffered 12 double-digit loss seasons over the previous 13 years, and he instantly turned the fortunes of the franchise around earning playoff berths in four of his six years as head coach. His success at the helm included the franchise’s first division title since 1981 with an 11-5 finish in 1999. He was relieved of his duties after the 2001 season, but was hired by the Colts eight days later.
During Dungy’s seven-year reign as Indianapolis’ head coach, the Colts enjoyed unparalleled success posting 12 or more wins in all of those seasons except his first when they finished 10-6. The team claimed five division titles and advanced to the playoffs every year of Dungy’s tenure as head coach. In 2006, Dungy guided the Colts to an AFC South Division title and capped the season with a thrilling 38-34 win over the New England Patriots in the AFC championship game. Dungy became the first African American head coach ever to win a Super Bowl when his Colts defeated the Chicago Bears in Super Bowl XLI. Dungy earned NFL Coach of the Year honors in 1997 and 2005.
Harrison was selected by the Colts in the first round (19th overall) of the 1996 NFL Draft out of Syracuse and went on to spend 13 seasons in Indianapolis. His first year, Harrison earned All-Rookie honors when he led the Colts in receptions (64), receiving yards (836), and total touchdowns (8).
The eight-time Pro Bowler had a breakout season in 1999 establishing himself as one of the NFL’s elite receivers. Teamed with Peyton Manning, Harrison racked up 115 receptions for a league-leading 1,663 yards and 12 touchdowns that year. The performance began a remarkable string of eight straight years with 1,000 or more yards receiving and 10 or more touchdowns.
As a six-time All-Pro and an eight-time All-AFC selection, Harrison achieved most of his success with Manning as his quarterback. In 158 games together, the duo connected on 953 passes for 12,766 yards and 112 touchdowns, the most completions, yards and touchdowns by a quarterback-receiver tandem in NFL history. His 143 catches during the 2002 season remain an NFL record.
Harrison played for Dungy on the Colts Super Bowl XLI winning team. A member of the NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 2000s, Harrison retired following the 2008 season with 1,102 career receptions for 14,580 yards and 128 touchdowns – all of which were Colts records at the time of his retirement.
Dungy and Harrison became the 13th and 14th longtime members of the Colts franchise to earn election into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Other Colts who made their way to Canton previously, include: RAYMOND BERRY, ERIC DICKERSON, ART DONOVAN, WEEB EWBANK, MARSHALL FAULK, TED HENDRICKS, JOHN MACKEY, GINO MARCHETTI, LENNY MOORE, JIM PARKER, BILL POLIAN and JOHNNY UNITAS.
Dungy is also the 24th coach and Harrison the 25th modern-era wide receiver to earn Bronzed Busts in Canton.
Fittingly, Dungy and Harrison entered the Hall together. During his Enshrinement speech, Dungy had the following to say about Harrison and his many other players and colleagues during his 32 seasons in the NFL.
“I'm so honored to be in the same Hall of Fame class as . We spent seven years together, and I know how hard Marvin worked, how much he sacrificed to be the best, the very best he could be. But that just exemplifies every one of those guys, all of our players were so special. I want to thank that group of men – Steelers, Chiefs, Vikings, Bucs and Colts – not only for their dedication on the field, but for buying into what we wanted off the field, for embracing their roles as leaders in the community.”