Super Bowl coaches Dungy, Smith known for Christian testimony

MIAMI (BP)--Super Bowl XLI will feature two teams making their first super game appearance in two-plus decades, two Midwestern teams separated by only a couple hundred miles, but most importantly two coaches who are strong believers in Jesus Christ.

Head coaches Tony Dungy of Indianapolis and close friend and fellow Christian Lovie Smith of Chicago gave credit to God following their respective teams' victories in the conference championships Jan. 21.

“The Lord set this up in a way that no one would believe it,” Dungy said following the Colts' win over New England. “The Lord tested us a lot this year, but He set this up to get all the glory.”

The news that two witnesses for their personal faith in Jesus Christ would have a two-week international spotlight for their beliefs thrilled Christian leader William Pugh, executive director of sports ministry Athletes in Action, a branch of Campus Crusade for Christ.

“We are so excited to see the Bears and Colts in the Super Bowl,” Pugh, a close friend of both head coaches, said. “We could not have picked two better coaches to represent all that is good about sports.”

AIA organizes and runs the annual Super Bowl breakfast the day before the game. Last year, Dungy was the keynote speaker just weeks after his son’s tragic death, giving an inspirational message about God’s love in the best and worst of times.

Smith is in his first tenure as a head coach and hasn’t had the public opportunities to share his faith like Dungy, but he has told the Chicago media he believes in Christ, listens to Christian music when driving his car and does not smoke, drink or curse.

“I’m so happy for Lovie who does things the right way, without cursing and shows things can be done differently,” Dungy said of Smith. “We give God all the credit.”

Dungy has served as the cover spokesman for a special Super Bowl witnessing video and tract. Several of his players, including star tight end Dallas Clark, put out a special faith-based DVD titled "Power to Win" about their faith in Christ and their need to honor Him in all that they do.

While the media will concentrate on the game itself, the men in charge of leading their teams to the big game plan on sharing the most important things in their life, something that has nothing to do with runs or passes or even the final score.

Baptist Press sports correspondent Art Stricklin is beginning his fourth year of coverage on the spiritual side of the Super Bowl and will be on site at Super Bowl XLI.

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