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Dallas - 7/22/2007

Power of Prayer: Tony Dungy

In the National Football League there is one secret to success. Winning. Tony Dungy knows that as well as anyone. But this coach, who has broken so many barriers, also believes there is a right and wrong way to win.

"Early in my career I had people say, oh you can't do this, you can't be as close to the players as you have been, you can't show that type of feeling for the players. But I've ever felt that way. I've always felt we could win doing it the Lord's way and last year proved that we could" says Coach Dungy   "It really defines me. And I tell our players at the start of every season this is how I'm going to coach, this is how I'm going to run the team because its who I am. It is what I believe in and hopefully that twill never change. And hopefully I'll not give into any pressure to be different or to change."

Over the years Coach Dungy has made many friends including Dallas evangelist Dr. Tony Evans, whose church Coach Dungy came this month to speak to a men's conference.  Since the Super Bowl, the platform to share his faith has grown.  And Coach Dungy uses that time not just to talk about football but to share the story as a young rookie in Pittsburgh he learned the bigger meaning of prayer and faith.

"And I really didn't understand the whole picture," says Dungy. "Then I got to Pittsburgh and saw this group of really great athletes who were really great Christians and their spiritual life showed up on the field, in practice, 24 hours a day. And that was unique for me to see these guys live this way. And the more they took me under their wing and I understood it was reading, learning, being an example all of those things went into it. That you had to put Christ number one in you life all the time, that's when I really started growing as a 21 year old 1st year player in the NFL."

Since that time it is a way most who know him say he has lived his life in the good and bad times.  From the turmoil  that is NFL as well as personal tragedy like the recent death of his son, a consistent faith says Coach is what gets him through the ups and downs of life.

"It really does. I think you faith and your beliefs anytime you are in a situation where you have ups and downs, I think that is very important," says Coach. "Those ups and downs can come very fast in the National Football League. You can be a hero for 59 minutes and then one bad play and you lose the game and your not the hero anymore. It happens fast for us. So I think you have to have that balance, you have to have that faith to lean so you don't go up and down like a roller coaster everyday."

Living out your faith, says Coach Dungy, is a little easier sometimes when you have friends like Big Sandy's Lovie Smith. Though the two stood across from each other in the Super Bowl, they find themselves standing side by side in how they try to lead their teams.

"We have a great relationship. Even playing against each other. We probably talk twice a month during the season. Just going back and forth. How is your team doing how are we doing, what problems are we facing. How we can communicate better with our guys. Its great to have those kind of people in the league because again I think he's giving the message you can do it this way, you can do it the Lord's way and still be excellent and still have success," says Dungy.

While a Super Bowl win certainly changes a lot of things... Coach prays now it never changes him... or the simple philosophy he learned a long time ago.

"My mom and dad talked about how you treat people. That's the most important thing. Not what you do, not what job you have, but who you meet and how you treat them. And that's something I have never forgotten. And I think just understanding the Bible. And understanding that God is in control, He has created all of us. I've got a great platform now because the Lord given it to me. But I'm no different than anyone else and I think I understand that."

Clint Yeatts, KLTV 7 News

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