Tony Dungy excited to return to Indy for Colts’ 10th anniversary of SB XLI title

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MIAMI GARDENS, FL - FEBRUARY 04: Quarterback Peyton Manning #18 of the Indianapolis Colts celebrates with the Vince Lombardi Super Bowl trophy next to head coach Tony Dungy and is wife, Lauren, and CBS sports broadcaster Jim Nantz after winning the Super Bowl XLI 29-17 over the Chicago Bears on February 4, 2007 at Dolphin Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – A pair of dates are circled in red on Tony Dungy’s calendar and each will expose his emotions.

The first: August 6, when the former Indianapolis Colts coach is formally inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio as a member of the Class of 2016.

“You think about the cream of the cream of the NFL being in there,’’ Dungy said Wednesday on a national conference call. “To think that you’re going to be in that group is still hard to believe.

“I’m humbled, but it still doesn’t seem real. It’s going to be awesome. It’s going to be very special.’’

The second: November 20, when the Colts celebrate the 10th anniversary of their Super Bowl XLI championship over the Chicago Bears at halftime of their meeting with the Tennessee Titans at Lucas Oil Stadium.

It’s hard to imagine any of the contributors to that world championship missing the opportunity to relive the experience of handling the Bears 29-17 on a rainy February 4, 2007 night in South Florida.

Dungy will be there, front and center.

“It’s going to be awesome,’’ he said. “It’s hard to believe it’s been 10 years already, but I look forward to it so much.

“Coming back together and reminiscing about all the sacrifices and everything, the work that those guys put in to make it happen, it’s going to be special.’’

Most observers believe the 2005 Colts were a more complete, better group. They were dominant for much of the season en route to a 14-2 record, but dropped a 21-18 decision to Pittsburgh in their first playoff game. A contributing factor was the death of James Dungy in December. The organization never fully recovered from the emotional and personal loss.

Dungy insisted the ’06 edition was “special.’’ It posted a 12-4 record, then ran the table in the postseason despite facing numerous obstacles.

“That ’06 team, I’ve said many times, wasn’t our most talented team,’’ Dungy said. “But it was the team that went through adversity, that stuck together, that (was) dedicated to each other.

“For that reason, it’s probably my favorite team. Not just because we won, but for all the things we had to overcome. Had some tremendously tough times.

“Gary Brackett losing basically his entire family. Reggie Wayne giving us a big victory against Jacksonville, then finding out his brother had died in a car accident that morning. Things like that you just don’t forget.

“Coming together to support each other and help everybody get through those times and still hang together and succeed, that’s always going to be a special group in my heart. To get together and celebrate is going to be a really joyous occasion.’’