MIAMI (BP)—-When CBS announcer Jim Nantz asked Colts owner Jim Irsay and head coach Tony Dungy for comments after winning the AFC title two weeks ago, each man gave credit to God before a national TV audience.
“I had some people ask if I didn’t already know what they were going to say about their faith, but I thought, ‘What’s wrong with them expressing their beliefs?’” Nantz said. “We allow everybody else to say what they believe, why not them?”
Many viewers likely appreciate what Irsay and Dungy had to say, even if they might not agree on the particulars of the faith each man voiced, Nantz said, and they likely appreciate seeing a calm and caring coach like Dungy.
“Have we gotten so jaded in this country that we can’t stand to hear the good about a person? If you think that’s corny or hokey, then I really feel sorry for you,” Nantz added.
CBS commentator Sterling Sharp said seeing coaches like Dungy and Chicago Bears head coach Lovie Smith succeed at the highest level of professional football could help raise the bar for coaches everywhere.
“For so long, we were in this phase that you had to cuss and you had to berate players. Now these coaches are showing you don’t have to do that,” Sharp said.
Various TV celebrities were in town for the annual NFL Legends of Charity luncheon in Miami where they heard from broadcasting legend Pat Summerall, the original recipient of the award, as he shared about his faith and the character needed for success in football and TV.
Summerall recently released a book, “Summerall: On and Off the Air,” detailing his faith and his recovery from a liver transplant which has extended his life and his testimony.
“I didn’t know if I was even worthy of a transplant,” Summerall said in a question-and-answer session Sunday at the Dallas-area Prestonwood Baptist Church. “I thought I had run out of chances, but I’m grateful for the one I was given and the chance to honor the One who made it possible.”
Pre-game CBS anchor James Brown, himself a strong believer in Jesus Christ, said this year’s game could be a welcome change in a sport that hasn’t had that many Christian players and announcers in the past.
“Personally, I’m gratified to see that change,” Brown said. “I think their faith is a wonderful example to see and I think both men are sterling examples of what character coaches should be. That’s what we should be promoting.”