"Tony Dungy had been a converted quarterback turned defensive back playing for the Steel Curtain under Bud Carson. He watched Carson use his athletic linebackers and physical defensive backs in zone coverage behind a devastating four-man rush in the 1970s. He was struck by Carson’s idea to drop his middle linebacker into the deep middle to assist his safeties in coverage while allowing his quick and instinctive outside linebacker to assume more underneath responsibility.
Monte Kiffin had successfully adapted the 4-3 Under defense while a defensive coordinator at Nebraska and Arkansas to aggressively stop the run and generate a strong pass rush with a read-on-the-run philosophy. Collaborating with Floyd Peters, another believer in the 4-3 Under, with the Minnesota Vikings in the late 1980s, Kiffin helped make stars out of DT Keith Millard and DE Chris Doleman.
In 1992, Dungy and Kiffin found themselves on the same defensive staff in Minnesota under Dennis Green. You can imagine the discussions in the Vikings’ coaching offices. Dungy had seen firsthand how dropping the middle linebacker into the deep middle addressed many of the coverage weaknesses in the Cover-2. He also well knew what kind of defensive linemen it took to make the system successful and knew that the Stunt 4-3 that drove much of the success of the Steel Curtain was hard to run without four elite linemen. Running the 4-3 Under had generated nearly 40 sacks in one season for Kiffin’s duo of Millard and Doleman. Pairing the 4-3 Under (and Over) with the Carson Cover-2 tweaks seemed a perfect match.
The marriage of those two concepts in Minnesota became the foundation of the Tampa-2."
Nice history of the Tampa-2. Don't forget Rob Ryan has been running the 4-3 under in our nickel packages very frequently for 2 years now. Read the rest here: