NBC football analyst Tony Dungy raised some eyebrows with his commentary on Sunday Night Football, sharing his belief that the Bears defense quit during their loss to the Packers.
If you’ll recall, these were Dungy’s comments after a Jamaal Williams touchdown run after the Bears down by a 41-10 score in the third quarter:
"That is the Bears' defense, basically, giving up here." – Tony Dungy
— JJ Stankevitz (@JJStankevitz) November 30, 2020
And this is how the Bears have since responded:
"I'll never question our guys quitting." Matt Nagy says he disagrees with Tony Dungy's comment about the #Bears giving up with poor tackling.
— Zack Pearson (@Zack_Pearson) November 30, 2020
Bears DC Chuck Pagano on Tony Dungy's assessment that the defense had "given up" against GB: "Our guys NEVER give up. I'll fight anyone tooth and nail on that one."
— Mark Grote (@markgrotesports) December 3, 2020
"I don't think anyone here has quit. " – #Bears safety Tashaun Gipson on Tony Dungy's comments about the defense giving up.
— Zack Pearson (@Zack_Pearson) December 3, 2020
Tashaun Gipson didn't appreciate Tony Dungy's suggestion the Bears' defense gave up Sunday night: "That's unfortunate for somebody to put that out there on us. … When you talk about quitting, that's an effort, that's a pride thing."
— Chris Emma (@CEmma670) December 3, 2020
I wish the Bears would’ve pushed back harder against the Packers offensive players last Sunday. But that’s neither here nor there. Instead, what’s in front of us is a set of players and coaches up in arms over a member of the NFL fraternity insinuating they quit. And that’s a pretty big charge to level on a team. Moreover, that’s a major accusation to come from a Super Bowl winning head coach who is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. No wonder the push-back is real (and firm).
Calling someone a quitter is the among the worst things you can say to a player. There isn’t anyone who has participated in a competitive sport at any level that wouldn’t be offended if someone called them a quitter. That it came from someone in the booth is one thing. But for it to come from a former NFL coach who has a Super Bowl ring, has gotta sting!
I’m wholly uncomfortable saying players who play such a dangerous and violent game just flat-out quit. But also, I don’t want to push too hard on Dungy for sharing an honest assessment in real time. We want our broadcasters to keep it 100, right? That’s what Dungy was doing. And as someone who appreciates a straight-shooter, I can vibe with someone sharing an honest thought from their perspective.
In the end, the Bears should be upset that Dungy believes they quit. Any player worth their salt would be. But that means they should also take a good, long look in the mirror as they assess themselves after turning out the way they did in the biggest game of the year under the brightest lights.