NFL News of January 17, 2004

One was knocked for his inability to win the big game. The other saw a team he once headed win a Super Bowl the first season after he was fired.

Peyton Manning and Tony Dungy were well aware of the stigmas surrounding their NFLcareers entering the 2003 season. So the quarterback and the coach decided to have a chat about the matter.

“Tony and Peyton sat down together during the offseason,” said CBS analyst Phil Simms, recalling a recent conversation he had with Dungy. “They both basically said, `Let’s get through the regular season. But for the two of us, it’s all about the playoffs.’

And vindication.

Manning has silenced his critics, leading the Indianapolis Colts into today’s AFC Championship Game against New England with two of the most impressive back-to-back performances in postseason history. Dungy can stifle his detractors if the Colts reach Super Bowl XXXVIII one year after Tampa Bay won its championship under Jon Gruden.

—Alex Marvez, The South Florida Sun-Sentinel “Wins ease criticism of Dungy, Manning”

The Patriots intercepted Manning 4 times (3 by Ty Law) to defeat the Colts 24-14. Dungy and Manning won Super Bowl XLI against the Chicago Bears following the 2006 season.

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