Guest / Limited Access /

For many people, football is religion. Superstar players are deified, weekly games are strictly observed, and everyone—devoted fan or not—watches the Super Bowl.

But for Tony Dungy and Lovie Smith, football has not taken God's place.

The head coaches of the AFC champion Indianapolis Colts and the NFC champion Chicago Bears, who will lead their teams in Super Bowl XLI on Sunday, have a lot in common. As has been well documented, they share the distinction of being the first black head coaches in the Super Bowl. They are close friends, having coached together with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for five years. They are also Christians.

"God is the center of my life," Smith told the media during a Super Bowl press conference earlier this week. "It controls all that I do. I hope I don't have to spend my time telling my players I'm a Christian. I hope they see it in my life every day."

Smith and Dungy are not just Christians when the spotlight shines on them. Their day-to-day coaching styles and set of priorities stand out among a league of coaches obsessed with winning at all costs.

The coaches in the headlines this regular season have been highlighted because of their animosity (Bill Belichick), duplicity (Nick Saban), and postgame electricity (Dennis Green). With only two coaches left to write about, the tenor of the articles has clearly changed.

"He does things the right way," Dungy said of Smith after the Colts and Bears each won their conference championship games. "No profanity, no intimidation, just helping his guys the best he can—and that's the way I try to do it. I think it's great that we're able to show the world not only that African-American coaches can do it, but Christian coaches can do it in a way that we ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Read These NextSee Our Latest
Recommended
Sex, Money ... Pride? Why Pastors Are Stepping Down
What's causing some well-known leaders like C. J. Mahaney (and John Piper before him) to step aside is not what you might think.
TrendingHow 727 Megachurches Spend Their Money
How 727 Megachurches Spend Their Money
Leadership Network and Vanderbloemen find what determines pastor salaries (and who might be most underpaid).
Editor's PickWhy Can't Men Be Friends?
Why Can't Men Be Friends?
Men and women alike increasingly say they are lonely. It doesn't have to be this way.
Comments
Christianity Today
Christian Coaches Face Off for Super Bowl XLI
hide thisAccess The Archives

In the Archives

February 2007

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.