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
RecommendedDon't Be Ashamed to Listen to Your Heart
Don't Be Ashamed to Listen to Your Heart
Desire gets a bad rap in Christian circles. Jen Pollock Michel explains why it shouldn’t.
TrendingMark Driscoll Steps Down While Mars Hill Investigates Charges
Mark Driscoll Steps Down While Mars Hill Investigates Charges
(UPDATED) Driscoll offers 8-step solution to followers: 'Current climate is not healthy for me or for this church.'
Editor's PickWhere Are the Female Christian Rappers?
Where Are the Female Christian Rappers?
As more women top the charts, their Christian counterparts struggle to break through.
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.