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Nice Guy Finishes First (Warning to hypersensitive atheists: Biblical references herein.)
The Tampa Tribune ^ | Feb 5, 2007 | MARTIN FENNELLY

Posted on 02/05/2007 5:56:58 AM PST by Sam's Army

MIAMI - OK, it didn't rain 40 days and 40 nights, but the deluge was Biblical enough. Anyway, if someone had built an ark, they would have slapped blinking lights and Hooters girls on it and had Prince sing from the crow's nest. It's the Super Bowl, after all.

And then there would have been the problem of finding two of every kind.

There's only one Tony Dungy.

The morning Bible reading earlier in the week, before a walk on the beach with Indianapolis Colts assistant coach Clyde Christensen - yes, that Clyde - was about Moses leading the Israelites out of Egypt, you know, that 40-year scoring drive. They got there just the same.

And so did Anthony Kevin Dungy on Sunday night in the heavy rain at Dolphin Stadium. His Colts won the Super Bowl over the Chicago Bears.

Eleven years after he became a head coach, five years after another rainy night, when he carried his belongings from One Buc Place, and hardly 14 months since he buried his oldest son, Tony Dungy, to use a term his doubters loved, took a football team as far as he could.

To a world championship.

Like he told his players:

"There's going to be a storm. The Lord doesn't always bring you straight through."

Tampa is not in Indiana, but there were doubtless thousands of people rubbing lucky horseshoes Sunday for a good man. Now you can have your Super Bowl trophy and Tony's, too.

This one was for a true believer.

He believed when he turned a joke into a contender in Tampa. He believed when the Bucs kept coming up short, and when he was fired, and when the Colts came up short, too. He believed this season after Jacksonville runners trampled his team, after New England took an 18-point lead in the AFC title game, even after the Devin Hester returned Sunday's opening kickoff for a lightning-quick touchdown and Bears lead.

And those don't even crack the Top 100 in Tony Dungy beliefs.

He Did It His Way He used this week as a platform because he believed it mattered to young coaches everywhere, to people everywhere, that he and his friend, Bears coach Lovie Smith, were African-American coaches making history in Black History Month. There was more, he said.

"Christian coaches showing you can win the Lord's way - that's what I'm more proud of."

He believed that what mattered all his life mattered now. He never changed. He did it his way. Sunday night, his way went all the way.

Most of all, Tony Dungy believed it was all part of God's plan, even losing the Bucs job.

"I remember the TV news showing Tony loading his boxes in the car," Christensen said during the week. "He'd turned a crap franchise into Super Bowl or Bust, and he's loading his own boxes on that rainy night, pitch black, not a soul helping him."

That test was nothing.

The darkest night began with a phone call in the middle of the night. It ended with a funeral.

I went to the visitation for James Dungy. Like everyone else, I received a hug from James' father. Tony Dungy spent the night comforting people. At the church the next day, he spoke.

Bucs personnel executive Doug Williams was there.

"What Tony did the day of the funeral, eulogizing his son, I don't care if you're white, black, green or yellow - it was powerful," Williams said.

Trent Dilfer lost his boy Trevin before Dungy lost James.

"It's a wonderful healing power that Tony's words have had," Dilfer said.

It was part of Tony Dungy's journey.

"Sometimes the Lord tests you with something that looks impossible," he said this week. "To me, one of the joys of going through the battle is keeping the faith and seeing if you can make it. If it's always right there in your hands, you don't have to have faith."

'It's Our Time' At halftime of the AFC title game, he told his players, down 15 points, that he still believed.

"It's our time," Dungy said.

So was Sunday.

Sunday was for Tony Dungy and his players, the guys he'd huddled with in the back of the church at James' funeral, the guys he'd returned to as soon as he could, sooner than any of them could have believed. They mattered like family to the man. All his guys always have.

The Bears' lead faded in the downpour. The Colts powered past them. Even Peyton Manning, Super Bowl MVP, hopped aboard the Deliverance Express.

It didn't validate or vindicate the head coach. He insisted that he didn't need this for that. And that this isn't an end-all. There are bigger things.

We believed.

It was enough to see a good man unfold those arms and raise them in triumph, to smile for everyone there and everyone who wasn't - like mom, dad and James.

Dungy went for another walk Sunday morning. He got lost along the way. He meant to walk a mile, but made a wrong turn.

"We ended up walking about two-and-a-half hours," he said.

It gave him time.

"I thought about just the journey."

His celebratory baptism was Gatorade. And it was out of Tony Dungy's hands when all those souls lifted him onto championship shoulders for a victory ride in the rain.

Now that's part of the journey too.

Let it rain.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: colts; dungy; superbowl; tonydungy

1 posted on 02/05/2007 5:57:01 AM PST by Sam's Army
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To: Sam's Army

2 posted on 02/05/2007 5:59:32 AM PST by silent_jonny ("Blessed are the peacemakers" -- Matthew 5:9)
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To: Sam's Army

An impressive testimony, no doubt.

I have to quibble though, when he said that he and Lovey Smith were the "first Christian" coaches to coach a Superbowl. I gotta figure he mis-spoke on that one.

Surely, of the 80 coaches before them, there is at least one Christian.


3 posted on 02/05/2007 6:00:27 AM PST by bondjamesbond (Have you ever noticed that whatever the problem, the government's solution is always "more taxes"?)
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Comment #4 Removed by Moderator

To: silent_jonny; Miss Didi; Molly Pitcher; Miss Marple; lysie; Jemian; kstewskis; Victoria Delsoul; ...

Outstanding!


5 posted on 02/05/2007 6:04:01 AM PST by Northern Yankee ( Stay The Course!)
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To: bondjamesbond
A Christian coach in the Super Bowl?


6 posted on 02/05/2007 6:04:21 AM PST by TexasNative2000 (Is this tagline governed by McCain-Feingold?)
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To: bondjamesbond

I have to agree. Interesting that it is even a topic in today's climate, however.


7 posted on 02/05/2007 6:05:21 AM PST by Sam's Army
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To: TexasNative2000

I gotta admit, the man with the hat came to mind.

You know, NFL coaches aren't allowed to dress that way anymore? They have to wear the NFL licenced logo stuff on the sideline or pay a fine.


8 posted on 02/05/2007 6:06:23 AM PST by bondjamesbond (Have you ever noticed that whatever the problem, the government's solution is always "more taxes"?)
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To: Sam's Army

what's up with the dateline being Miami, OK?


9 posted on 02/05/2007 6:06:45 AM PST by GodfearingTexan
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To: TexasNative2000

Of course God would have a Christian coach for His team. :)


10 posted on 02/05/2007 6:08:57 AM PST by AmericaUnited
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To: bondjamesbond

Tony didn't use the word 'first.' He only used the word Christian.


11 posted on 02/05/2007 6:15:15 AM PST by rwilson99 (Al Gore causes Global Cooling.)
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To: bondjamesbond

How about Joe Gibbs and the Denver coach (I am getting old and name memory is getting to be a problem)?


12 posted on 02/05/2007 6:19:19 AM PST by Coldwater Creek (The TERRORIST are the ones who won the midterm elections!)
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To: silent_jonny
Every Tampa Bay Fan knows that this is Tony's second SuperBowl Ring. After the death of his son, Tony seriously considered leaving the Colts, instead, he spent less time on the team, and more time on his family, and ministry. And he still won. That is part of what he meant by proving you can win, in a Christian way.
13 posted on 02/05/2007 6:21:26 AM PST by mission9 (Be a citizen worth living for, in a Nation worth dying for...)
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To: bondjamesbond

He didn't say that they were the first Christian coaches. He said that they were Christian coaches showing that you could win doing it the Lord's way.


14 posted on 02/05/2007 6:24:48 AM PST by good old days (Way to go, Colts!!!)
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To: bondjamesbond

Joe Gibbs is way ahead of those guys. I'm sure there were other christian superbowl coaches before Joe, too. Mmm, maybe Don Shula and George Allen, who met in Superbowl 7. Who knows. A very wonderful testimony, all the same.


15 posted on 02/05/2007 6:24:58 AM PST by rabidralph (Hoo-ray, Beer!)
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To: Sam's Army
(Warning to hypersensitive atheists: Biblical references herein.)

LOL!

What a great testimony. Classy guy!
16 posted on 02/05/2007 6:33:26 AM PST by poobear (Carter & Clinton - 'The Latter Day Church Of Jew Haters & Horndogs')
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To: bondjamesbond
"Christian coaches showing you can win the Lord's way - that's what I'm more proud of."

No "first" in that quote.

17 posted on 02/05/2007 6:33:43 AM PST by ohioWfan (PRAY for our President and our troops!!)
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To: Sam's Army
"I am unashamed of the Gospel of Christ...."

Tony Dungy is an example of boldness and consistency in Christ, and perseverence in faith that we all can look up to.

18 posted on 02/05/2007 6:35:17 AM PST by ohioWfan (PRAY for our President and our troops!!)
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To: rabidralph
Repeating......Tony didn't say they were first.

I'm sure he knows about his brothers in Christ who preceded him.

While I'm sure God doesn't care about winning football games, He does help His children who desire to do their best for HIM.

That's the message here, IMO.

19 posted on 02/05/2007 6:39:16 AM PST by ohioWfan (PRAY for our President and our troops!!)
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To: bondjamesbond

I am sure he misspoke. I remember that Joe Gibbs and Dan Reeves are Christians, and the Redskins and Broncos held a joint worship service the Saturday before the Super Bowl.


20 posted on 02/05/2007 6:41:28 AM PST by GAB-1955 (being dragged, kicking and screaming, into the Kingdom of Heaven....)
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To: Sam's Army

My husband and I heard Tony speak at a small Fellowship of Christian Athletes meeting many years ago.

What a gracious and courageous man.

Hallmarked by humility, which the LORD loves, and is a light in this present darkness.


21 posted on 02/05/2007 6:41:36 AM PST by bperiwinkle7 ( In the beginning was the WORD,,,,,,,,,,,,,,)
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To: ohioWfan
No "first" in that quote.

It was in the broadcast. Clear as day.

I gotta figure he mis-spoke, though. Not going to hold it against him.

22 posted on 02/05/2007 6:50:45 AM PST by bondjamesbond (Have you ever noticed that whatever the problem, the government's solution is always "more taxes"?)
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To: rwilson99; good old days

It was during the broadcast that he said they were the first. But those speeches are always pretty chaotic, so it's not surprising that things don't come out right every now and then. I wouldn't hold it against him.


23 posted on 02/05/2007 6:53:13 AM PST by bondjamesbond (Have you ever noticed that whatever the problem, the government's solution is always "more taxes"?)
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To: ohioWfan
Repeating......Tony didn't say they were first.

Aw, c'mon. Don't make me go find this silly thing on You Tube. It doesn't really matter though. Don't get hung up on that.

24 posted on 02/05/2007 6:55:38 AM PST by bondjamesbond (Have you ever noticed that whatever the problem, the government's solution is always "more taxes"?)
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To: poobear
What a great testimony. Classy guy!

Unfortunately, that doesn't seem to have been part of the title of the published article.

25 posted on 02/05/2007 6:56:13 AM PST by tacticalogic ("Oh bother!" said Pooh, as he chambered his last round.)
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To: bondjamesbond

I played it back and he did not say that they were the first Christian coaches.


26 posted on 02/05/2007 6:59:51 AM PST by good old days (Way to go, Colts!!!)
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To: Sam's Army; scott says; mainepatsfan; Perdogg

NFL ping.


27 posted on 02/05/2007 7:00:44 AM PST by cgk (Republicanism didn't make Conservatives a majority. Conservatism made Republicans a majority. [NEWT])
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To: bondjamesbond
Surely, of the 80 coaches before them, there is at least one Christian.

Pehaps the first outspokenly so.

28 posted on 02/05/2007 7:02:46 AM PST by JimRed ("Hey, hey, Teddy K., how many girls did you drown today?" (Hello, I'm a TAGLINE virus. Please help m)
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To: Sam's Army

Ah yes, you had your Superbowl over there didn't you. It didn't really get much airplay over this side of the pond, they mentioned it on one of the radio stations I listened to yesterday. Hope you all enjoyed it anyway.


29 posted on 02/05/2007 7:13:27 AM PST by induk
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To: bondjamesbond
I listened to him, and I didn't hear him say they were the first.........just that they were Christians doing it 'the Lord's way.'

Every Chriatian who cares about football even a little bit knows about Tom Landry and his unwavering testimony for Christ. It doesn't make sense that Tony said he was first does it......even by mistake? Maybe you just inferred it because they were talking about his being the first African American?

I'm not trying to make a 'big deal' out of it. Just aiming for accuracy, that's all.

30 posted on 02/05/2007 7:16:10 AM PST by ohioWfan (PRAY for our President and our troops!!)
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To: bondjamesbond

Joe Gibbs/Redskins?


31 posted on 02/05/2007 7:19:41 AM PST by Finalapproach29er (Dems will impeach Bush if given a chance.)
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To: bondjamesbond

Vince Lombardi, the driving force behind the concept of a Super Bowl was a devout Christian. So devout, in fact, that he would not allow the Packers to play on Thanksgiving, as he believed they belonged at home with their families on that day!


32 posted on 02/05/2007 7:21:45 AM PST by Redleg Duke (Heaven is home...I am just TDY here!)
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To: silent_jonny

Does anyone know who the beautiful woman is?


33 posted on 02/05/2007 7:48:43 AM PST by Hildy (RUDY IN 2008)
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To: bondjamesbond
Why is there such a concerted effort to put the word "first" into Tony Dungy's quote, and then get indignant about it?

I saw this start on the thread last night.

He most certainly did NOT say first. And the way he deflected all of the media hoopla, to a Christian reference was absolutely wonderful.

34 posted on 02/05/2007 7:55:29 AM PST by A Citizen Reporter
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To: Northern Yankee

Appreciate the ping!


35 posted on 02/05/2007 8:04:07 AM PST by Guenevere (Duncan Hunter for President....2008!)
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To: Northern Yankee

Wonderful! Thanks, J.


36 posted on 02/05/2007 8:17:50 AM PST by lysie
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To: lysie; Guenevere

Always a pleasure!


37 posted on 02/05/2007 8:27:43 AM PST by Northern Yankee ( Stay The Course!)
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To: TexasNative2000

Tom Landry, Don Shula, and Vince Lombardi; all very devout Christians.


38 posted on 02/05/2007 8:29:34 AM PST by Northern Yankee ( Stay The Course!)
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To: bperiwinkle7

Thank you. Your page became our morning devotion. In His Name. Peace I leave with you. Tony: storing up Treasures in Heaven.


39 posted on 02/05/2007 8:37:12 AM PST by rusureitflies? (OSAMA BIN LADEN IS DEAD! There, I said it. Prove me wrong.)
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To: Redleg Duke
Agreed about Lombardi, but didn't Alex Karras, Joe Schmidt, and the rest of the defense just tear them apart in 1962, on Thanksgiving Day? (Nov. 22, 1962)

The "Look Out Bart" block was established!

40 posted on 02/05/2007 8:52:29 AM PST by Northern Yankee ( Stay The Course!)
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To: Hildy

Not sure, but I think she's his wife, Lauren Dungy. Did a Google search on her and the pics look like her.


41 posted on 02/05/2007 9:07:40 AM PST by NCC-1701 (To boldly go where no FReeper has gone before. Live long and prosper.)
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