Earlier this year, Tony Dungy, an NBC football analyst and Super Bowl winning coach, sat down with Biblical Recorder sports correspondent Roman Gabriel III. After winning a Lombardi Trophy both as player and coach, he walked away from the game, on top both professionally and personally. Now Dungy continues to be a champion at home, through his involvement in ministry on many fronts (including All-Pro Dads), and in his new career as an analyst on Sunday Night NFL on NBC. Dungy shared about his new life covering the game, being a fan and supporter for his son’s team, and his thoughts on a host of topics: Indianapolis Colts, Peyton Manning, Tim Tebow, longtime evangelist Billy Graham and his coaching future.
Q: How tough has it been for you watching Peyton Manning’s situation?
A: The whole thing has been hard for me. To see them lose 11 games in a row to open the season, to see Jim Caldwell who coached with me get fired two years after being in the Super Bowl.
Bill Polian had been general manager here 14 years and hired me. To see those people not here now … and to see Peyton Manning struggl[e] with an injury … that is very difficult. He is the ultimate competitor; he wants to be out there.
Q: What do you believe Jim Irsay is trying to do with the Colt’s franchise from his perspective?
A: Irsay has to run a franchise. He has to put his feelings and fans’ feelings aside. He has to put his personal feelings aside, do what he thinks is best for the franchise, and that can be hard some times. Jim Irsay is the relationship person. I know letting Jim Caldwell go hurt him but he has to say, “For the long run, the long haul of this franchise, this is the best thing to do. That is what a real leader does.
Tony Dungy shares in an interview with sports correspondent Roman Gabriel III.
Many experts have always felt you would come back to the NFL someday. Do you foresee a time when you will come back and coach?
I really don’t see it. I [have] a lot going on with ministries … and a freshman son at the University of Oregon that I get to watch play. My family loves me being home, so honestly, life couldn’t be better right now.
Q: I know I was always excited when my dad used to watch me play. How does that feel for you getting to see your son on the field from a father and fan perspective?
A: There is nothing like it. This year, I’m there sitting in the parent’s section. Everyone is rooting for each other’s kids.
My son Eric scored the first touchdown, and it was like the best feeling ever. My wife and I got to go to the Rose Bowl where they won on the last play of the game. [There is] something special about watching your son play.
Q: What are your thoughts on players who are open about their faith? Why is it so polarizing?
A: Tim [Tebow] is a person who stands up for his faith.
He is quick to let people know that he can’t separate his Christian faith and who he is as a person from his performance and what he does as a football player.
Some people really embrace that and they love that, and other people don’t. So that is always going to be polarizing, but I love Tim because he is who he is, and he is never going to be different no matter what situation he is in.
Q: What is some advice you would give to young people today?
A: The best advice my dad ever gave me was never follow the crowd.
Do things because you want to do them, not because everyone else is.
Don’t feel like you’ve got to be popular. Don’t feel like everybody else is doing it so I have to do it. Think about your life and your future and what’s going to happen to you.
Q: Billy Graham is 94 years old. In your time around him, what would you say about him?
A: Greatest missionary in my mind. He is stuck on one thing and one thing only and that is spreading the gospel.
I remember the first event we had at Raymond James Stadium was the Billy Graham crusade.
I got the opportunity to introduce him, to sit on the stage and watch the message.
He just talked and then he said if this message has impacted you I want you to come down and it was like everybody leaving the stadium after a game. The stands just emptied and they all came down on the field.
It was so simple and yet so powerful. A memory I will never forget.
Q: What is it about him that helped you in your coaching life?
A: I felt that I had a lot of missions: to help young men grow, be a good coach, build a winning team, as well as advancing the cause of Christ. With Billy Graham, he had a one-track mind, and that was to advance the cause of Christ. I admire that so much about him.
For more information on All Pro Dads and Tony Dungy go to allprodad.com.
(Editor's Note: Roman Gabriel’s Sold Out Sports Talk Radio program on American Family Radio can be heard in 200 cities nationally or streaming live at afr.net. It’s all about faith, family and sports. Visit his website: soldouttv.com; Facebook page: Roman Gabriel III Fan Page; connect with him on Twitter: romangabriel3rd; email him: [email protected] or call (910) 431-6483.)