Tony Dungy almost pulled Peyton Manning before comeback in Tampa

Michael David Smith
ProFootball Talk on NBC Sports

The Colts are honoring Peyton Manning on Sunday, and Manning’s former coach is recalling one of his greatest moments as one that nearly didn’t happen.

Tony Dungy said this morning on PFT Live that when he thinks of what it was like to coach Manning, he thinks of the incredible 38-35 overtime win over the Buccaneers in 2003, a game that the Colts trailed 35-14 with four minutes left in the fourth quarter. That game looked so hopeless, Dungy said, that he almost pulled Manning from the game to keep him from getting hurt.

“We’re three scores down with four and a half minutes to go and I’m saying, ‘We ought to take our first group out, cut our losses and go home.’ And Tom Moore, our offensive coordinator, said, ‘I don’t know if I’d do that.’ And about 12 minutes later we’re going in the locker room with a win, scoring 24 points in that time. That was Peyton. Ultimate competitor, a guy who could do things that you didn’t think were possible, and a guy who really wanted to win,” Dungy said.

It’s easy to see why Dungy thought it was over: Until that game, no team in NFL history had won after trailing by 21 points so late in the fourth quarter. But Peyton Manning could sometimes make the impossible possible.

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