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. "It means a lot," Dungy acknowledged. "I'm very proud to represent African American coaches."
But Dungy continued: "More than anything, [Bears coach] Lovie Smith [also an African American] and I, we're Christian coaches and this shows 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.
"We're more proud of that than anything."
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."
Colts owner Jim Irsay, who earlier in the week spoke of his own personal renewal of faith through a drug rehab crisis, also used the post-Super Bowl celebration to spotlight God's hand on his team.
"I know God bonded us as such a tight team and looked after us on this journey," Irsay told Nantz and millions of TV viewers worldwide.
"We're going to give it all to God again."
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 Lombardy 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."