Tony Dungy: Teams have stolen signs legally for years

0:45 | NFL
Tony Dungy: Teams have stolen signs legally for years
Wednesday February 8th, 2017

Former NFL head coach Tony Dungy says that teams have been stealing opponents' signals for years legally and that there is a difference between doing so and intentionally breaking the rules.

Dungy responded to accusations made by NFL Network analyst Deion Sanders saying that the Indianapolis Colts stole defensive signals and that people in the NFL knew about it but did nothing to stop it.

"Come on, you don’t walk up to the line and look over here and the man on the sideline giving you the defense that they’ve stolen the plays of. We all knew," Sanders said.

Dungy says stealing signals has been going on since the beginning of organized sports.

"I think we have to go back to what is cheating,” Dungy said to Pro Football Talk. “People accusing us of cheating? I don’t think that’s the case. Stealing signals? You can go back to the 1800s in baseball, you can go anywhere there were signals done, and people were looking and watching and trying to get signals."

Dungy, who is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, coached the Colts for seven seasons, winning a Super Bowl after the 2006 season. He retired from coaching two seasons later and now works as an analyst for NBC.

Dungy referenced a Monday night game against the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2005 where the team thought that former Colts assistant Bruce Arians told his new team the Colts' signals. In the first quarter of that game, a signal was given to receiver Marvin Harrison that Pittsburgh cornerback Ike Taylor thought was a run, but the play was actually a pass that went for 80 yards and a touchdown.

"That’s all part of the game, but doing it legally and illegally, that’s the difference. I hope Deion is not saying we did something illegally," Dungy said. "Of course we got signals when we had an opportunity to do that, and so did Deion.”

- Scooby Axson

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide - from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Seth Davis, and more - delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.