20 Second Sermons

I’m proud to be representing African American coaches, to be the first African American to win this. This means an awful lot to our country.

But again, more than anything, I’ve said it before, Lovie Smith and I, not only the first two African Americans, but Christian coaches showing that you can win doing it the Lord’s way, and we’re more proud of that.

–Colts coach Tony Dungy following his victory in Super Bowl XLI

It was short and sweet, the best sermon that I had heard (or seen) all day.

Sometimes, 20 second sermons are the very best kind of all.

  1. Mike the Eyeguy

    Dear Lord, at times such as these, I thank thee for DVRs and rewind buttons.

  2. Darlene


  3. Lisa

    I’m a little uncomfortable with talking about how the Lord would win a football game, but you know, whatever floats your boat.

  4. Mike the Eyeguy

    Lisa, I didn’t take Dungy’s comments to mean that he thought his team won because he alone was favored by God.

    Instead, I think he was referring to pursuing success on the field without cursing or screaming, demonstrating humility and graciousness in both victory and defeat–rare commodities among professional athletes or coaches.

    What’s so different between that and my saying that I strive to do successful eye exams “the Lord’s way?” Are athletes and coaches to be excluded from living the sacramental life? How fair is that?

    Gnostic dualism–forever lurking in the shadows.

  5. Jeff Slater

    Lisa, you completely missed the point.

    I put my fist in the air and said, “Yes!” when Dungy preached his mini-sermon. That was the highlight of the night.

  6. KS

    Good for Dungy. I already liked him, but now I do even more.

  7. Stoogelover

    I didn’t know Dungy was church of Christ?!!! JUST KIDDING. In our culture where Christians are quickly becoming the butt of every kind of sarcasm from media and the elite entertainment society, it’s just refreshing and encouraging to see men such as those two coaches live out what they believe without bragging. Just quietly honoring the Lord. I’m glad he said what he said when he said it. A lot of sports figures do the cross action and look up, but then their behavior is anything but Christ honoring. Dungy and Smith walk it out pretty consistently.

  8. greg

    Mike, you’re right, but I suspect many, if not most, will hear it as Lisa did. I knew what he was talking about because I knew his background, but too often sports figures have commented on how God helped them do this or that, and I think it turns people off. In his later years, Michael Chang used to comment after winning a tennis match about how “the Lord helped him through.” I can’t argue with it – maybe he did – but I’m a little skeptical God was that interested in him winning a first round match at the US Open.

    It’s unfortunate for those like Dungy who will be misunderstood even though, in my opinion, they are both sincere and actually know what they’re talking about. People will still hear it as “God helped us win.”

  9. Mike the Eyeguy

    “…but I’m a little skeptical God was that interested in him winning a first round match at the US Open.”

    I hear what you’re saying. I have a visceral reaction to the old “I was in a driving rain the other day at the Wal-Mart parking lot and God helped me find a spot next to the door” kind of testimony.

    Such statements often seem a little presumptuous to me. Still, we place ourselves in a difficult when we attempt to judge such matters. We basically presume to know the mind of God, the same one that supposedly innumerates the hairs on our heads and knows when a sparrow falls.

    Yeah, I know, those are probably just figures of speech.

  10. Donna

    Amen! I picked up on that as well….and he icluded Lovie, showing that the winner didn’t matter….the Maker does!

  11. double vision

    My question is…have there not been other Christian coaches that have won it or even lost it. It is a bit presumptuous that he believes that he and Lovie are winning the Lord’s Way. Would we assume that other coaches who win are not Christian or not doing it the Lord’s Way? And that some or all losers are that way because they do it the Lord’s Way? Sometimes your walk says more than your talk. I think a lot of individuals who use what I call the “God Speak” to describe everything in life should try demonstrating it with their walk. I know Dungy has the walk however I have problems with him and all that presume to know their way is the Lord’s way. I once had a COC minister come to purchase a car I had for sale. He tried to lower my price. When I would not budge past a certain point, he said I want you to remember when you have some alcoholic come in here and try to buy this car you could have sold it to a man of the Lord. He was presuming that God thought he was better than the alcoholic, who may have needed the car to get to work to make a living for his family or get to AA or to church, because this minister obviously knew the Lord’s Way and He was on his side. I choose to believe that the Lord is on all of our sides, even the lowly sinners like me, and all the other winners and losers in the world-and that is what I call the Lord’s Way. Then again, maybe I should relax, maybe I’m the one carrying it to the extreme. Who knows?

  12. Mike the Eyeguy

    D.V.–Did you even read my response(s) above? I don’t sense a great deal of similarity between your CoC preacher and Tony Dungy.

    Yeah, I guess Dungy should have just talked some good smack and maybe danced a jig on the podium like T.O.

    That would have been much better. I stand corrected.

  13. Keith

    I heard today that T.Dungy was contacted immediately after his firing at T.B. by the Colts owner and basically offered a blank check to be their coach. Dungy insisted they first meet face to face to outline his philosophy of coaching and drafting quality players and make sure they understood that his faith would play a factor in building a successful organization. The rest, they say, is Super Bowl history.

  14. KS

    DV: We finally have a Christian guy at a place where he can have a little influence, and we want to say God had nothing to do with the fact that he is where he is. Your “preacher” was wrong in the way he dealt with you, but he is not representative of every Christian alive. Dungy was saying he was glad that two Christians (himself and Smith) were doing it the right way. Would you prefer some schmuck of a coach winning?

  15. Scott

    I would if that schmuck was the coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers 😀

  16. GREG

    At a Bible study here at work last week, we saw a video featuring Dungy and a number of his players, speaking about the role faith had in their lives and relationship to one another.

    Based one what I heard from his players, there’s no doubt that he’s walking the walk, so I don’t mind too much if he talks about it, too.

  17. Double vision

    I think you misunderstood my point. And I agree with the statement if that is what was meant by Dungy. But many who talk like that in life really believe that God is somehow more on their side. But what statements like that really do either purposely or inadvertantly is exclude a whole group of people because they are “not” doing it the “Lord’s Way.” That was really more my point and why I get uncomfortable with statements like these. It’s not really what was said but what can be perceived in the unsaid after statements like this. Most of us don’t use statements like this with our patients and clients in the world. Perhaps it is because it can be misunderstood. I can’t see me saying you know what is important is that we diagnosed your glaucoma because in our clinics we are showing that you can diagnose and treat eye diseases the Lord’s Way and that is what is important.

    By the way, I would like to see you climb up on your desk and dance a jig like TO when you save an eyeball…..just keep it in your office….not on the national stage.

  18. Mike the Eyeguy

    “I can’t see me saying you know what is important is that we diagnosed your glaucoma because in our clinics we are showing that you can diagnose and treat eye diseases the Lord’s Way and that is what is important.”

    And I don’t either, because it would be inappropriate and awkward in that particular setting. Yet, I do sense, through eyes of faith, an overlap and intersection of heaven and earth, of faith and vocation. I would hate to think that anyone would presume to judge my personal experience of exactly how that takes place, or worse, my prerogative to speak or write about it.

    This has all been very interesting. Tony Dungy is not your stereotypical, gabby evangelical hypocrite–it has been very well documented that he walks the walk much more than he talks the talk. But woe be unto him should he speak one word about “the Lord” on a national stage. All of a sudden, he’s lumped into the same category as Ted Haggard and a slimy CofC preacher.

    I’m afraid that if we all weighed our words with the intent of offending (or excluding) absolutely no one, then none of us word ever speak or write a thing. Perhaps what we should do is speak sincerely and plainly and let the chips fall where they may. Sometimes the problem doesn’t lie with the message or the messenger.

    As for dancing, I’m still working on the Harding Shuffle. Youtube video soon to follow.

  19. Mike the Eyeguy

    Not sure of Jeff Zillgit’s religious background, but it looks like he wasn’t offended by Dungy’s remarks (click here).

  20. Double vision

    Well spoken my friend-indeed you have a point. It’s much like a sermon me and my wife heard recently. I left the church and said that was a great sermon and she said I think it was horrible. Just goes to show whether it is a 20 second sermon or one in the pews, it definitely is the receiver of the message that makes the difference. And I did not mean to lump Tony Dungy in with those guys. Although it would be easy since the Titans do have to play him twice a year. Will be looking for that video soon.

  21. Mike the Eyeguy

    “And I did not mean to lump Tony Dungy in with those guys. Although it would be easy since the Titans do have to play him twice a year.”

    Ah, so the truth finally emerges. 🙂

Comments are closed.