- (Photo: AP / David J. Phillip)
Indianapolis Colts' Tony Dungy made history as the first black coach ever to win the Super Bowl. And taking advantage of the trophy stage, Dungy was more proud to have won the big game "the Lord's way."
"I'm proud to be the first African-American coach to win this," said Dungy during the trophy ceremony Sunday night, according to the Associated Press. "But again, more than anything, Lovie Smith and I are not only African-American but also Christian coaches, showing you can do it the Lord's way. We're more proud of that."
The Colts beat the Chicago Bears 29-17 on a soggy field in Miami, Fla., Sunday. They did it for their coach, whom the players say deserved the win. And Dungy did it without yelling or cursing from the sidelines - a trait that his players have trained with and that opposing coach and close friend Lovie Smith picked up when he assisted Dungy on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' coaching staff.
A day ahead of the game, Dungy headlined the annual faith-based Super Bowl Breakfast, hosted by Athletes in Action. A record crowd of 2,500 people witnessed Dungy speak as the first-ever Super Bowl Coach to appear in person at the breakfast a day before NFL's marquee game.
Dungy pushed the team's practices and meetings back to attend the breakfast, he said, according to Baptist Press. There, one of Dungy's past players, Denver Broncos safety John Lynch, was honored with the Bart Starr award for outstanding character and leadership on and off the field.
The Denver Bronco formed the John Lynch Foundation in August 2000, offering education, athletic-based incentives and other alternatives for young people. Lynch, who had played under Dungy as a Tampa Bay Buccaneer, was not surprised that he was the fifth player Dungy coached to win the award, giving credit to the coach's "character and heart and will."
"Winning this award is one of the great honors of my career," said Lynch in a released statement. "We play this game to win championships, but we are also blessed with a platform to make a difference in our communities. To be chosen for this great award is extremely humbling and I'm honored to be in the great company of Bart Starr and the past recipients."
Also in the running for a Bart Starr award was Peyton Manning, quarterback for the Colts. Although the honor went to Lynch, the quarterback went home MVP after winning the Super Bowl.
Dungy was up against his protégé and fellow believer Smith for the big win on Sunday. Both he and Smith had already made history going into the Super Bowl as the first African American head coaches.
Smith called the event a "perfect stage" for the coaches to confess their faith in Jesus Christ in a video shown at Saturday's breakfast. Both coaches appeared in a USA Today ad on Friday with a message said, "We're pro football coaches, but we are also men of faith. A faith that defines who we are. It comforts us in tough times and produces hope in the midst of adversity. It is through our common faith in Jesus Christ that we have individually experienced Gods love and forgiveness."
When the game ended on Sunday, the two historic coaches hugged midfield. Dungy told his friend how proud he was of the whole moment, according to the Associated Press, and that he appreciates the type of person Smith is and what he has done in Chicago.
"They're going to get their championship soon," said Dungy.