Dungy, at NFL’s Pinnacle, Points Still Higher to God
- Art Stricklin Baptist Press
- 2007 7 Feb
MIAMI -- Tony Dungy closed out a soggy night riding the back of his players with his fists clinched, pointing to the sky, after his Indianapolis Colts captured Super Bowl XLI, 29-17, over the Chicago Bears Sunday night in Miami.
Dungy again used his nationally televised platform to give glory to God during the post-game awards ceremony.
In the awards ceremony in Dolphin Stadium, CBS announcer Jim Nantz asked Dungy to comment on the significance of being the first African American head coach to lead a team to a Super Bowl victory. "I’m proud to be representing African American coaches," Dungy said. "... It means an awful lot to our country."
But Dungy continued: “More than anything – and I’ve said it before -- [Chicago coach] Lovie Smith and I [are] not only the first two African-Americans, but Christian coaches, showing that you can win doing it the Lord’s way,” Dungy told Nantz while holding the Vince Lombardi Trophy given to each year’s NFL champion.
“And we’re more proud of that.”
Dungy and Smith -– whom Dungy hired when he was with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- spent much of the week leading up to the Super Bowl talking about the source of their strength and explaining that one win or loss would not define them as a person.
To hear Dungy give a testimony to his personal faith in Jesus Christ at the biggest of television venues came as little surprise to those who know him best.
“Tony Dungy is going to be the same way all the time, win or lose,” Colts chaplain Ken Johnson said. “God is going to get glory in all situations and He always will with Tony.”
After Monday’s victory parade in Indianapolis and wrapping up some office details, Dungy will return to Tampa for a brief period to rest, spend time with his family and worship in his home church.
He said he will ask his family members again, as he does each year, if he should continue coaching the Colts, but with one year left on his Indianapolis contract, he expects to return. He said Saturday at the Athletes in Action Super Bowl Breakfast that he remains in coaching mainly because of the positive effect he can have on players’ lives and the public platform he has for sharing his testimony.
“I think God’s way is the best way,” he said during one of his pre-Super Bowl news conferences, “and I appreciate the opportunity to share.”
In Tampa, where Dungy continues to have ties to Idlewild Baptist Church, pastor Ken Whitten noted that “Tony Dungy made the Indianapolis Colts very happy, but he made the entire body of Christ happy when he accepted the Lombardi Trophy and gave the credit to the Lord Jesus Christ.
“Tony Dungy is the type of church member every pastor would like to have,” Whitten said. “It was great for him to show God’s way as a coach.”
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