ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - The ultimate pep talk for an Albuquerque high school football team on the verge of breaking a record for losing came straight from the mouth of Tony Dungy, who won Super Bowls as a player and a coach.
The packed gym at Albuquerque High School roared as coach Tony Dungy walked onto the stage Thursday.
He stood before students, staff and the school’s football team Thursday morning. The team is on course to break a record for the most losses in the state after 37 consecutive defeats.
Dungy said he knows their pain.
“I can empathize with what you guys are going through,” Dungy said.
Dungy took on the tough task of taking the job as head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1996 when they, too, were running down the losing lane.
“Everybody was telling me, 'You don’t want to go there,'” Dungy said.
Dungy said he didn't listen, and he told the Albuquerque Bulldogs to do the same.
The pep talk he gave to a group of grown men decades ago would be the same words of encouragement he passed on to the Bulldogs.
“You'll determine if we stay where we are or we get better and we continue to improve,” Dungy said. “But, you gotta take the challenge.
“Everybody is just shocked. Nobody knew why he would pick Albuquerque High,” offensive lineman Devin Winn said. “It means a lot to us, the football players and the school, that he could be here.”
It just might be the pep talk they need.
The players are pumped, but the question is will they win the big game against the West Mesa Mustangs Thursday night.
“You guys have a big game tonight. You're excited, fired up, and we're planning on you going out and getting the job done and winning,” Dungy said.
The last game the Albuquerque Bulldogs won was in 2010. The team now shares the record with Santa Fe High for the most consecutive losses.
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