“As a Christian, do you really think God cares who wins the game?” host Ainsley Earhardt asks Dungy, now a NFL analyst for NBC Sports.
“Absolutey,” Dungy replies, recalling studying with a chaplain while he was a player with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
“[The chaplain] read from First Corinthians, Chapter Nine, where Paul says, ‘Hey, in a race everybody runs, but only one wins first prize, so run to win,’” he added, referring to 1 Corinthians 9:24. “And that freed me up. I had never heard that before.”
In the next verse, Paul writes: “And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.”
“Make sure you’re winning the race to heaven and spiritually, and not just these earthly races,” Dungy interpreted.
Dungy went 148-79 in the regular season and playoffs over 13 seasons as the head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Indianapolis Colts. In 2006, Dungy guided the Colts to their first Super Bowl championship since 1970, when the franchise was located in Baltimore.
According to Dungy, who was voted into the Hall of Fame in 2016, he told his players, “I want to help you be better players. I want to help you hone your craft. But I’m going to help you grow as men, too.”
He said he has been blessed with a platform that enables him to introduce more people to Christ.
“God has put us all in positions to influence someone,” Dungy said. “Might be one person, it may be more. But when you get that opportunity, you have to take advantage of it.”
He noted that fans often think of NFL players as “superhuman” and living a perfect life when that isn’t the case.
Dungy recalled celebrating with his Colts team after a victory during that championship 2006 season and getting the news that wide receiver Reggie Wayne’s brother had been killed in a car accident.
“You need more than just the fans’ adulation at that point, you need more than just a paycheck,” he said. “If you don’t have the Lord, that’s going to be crushing.”
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