President Obama made the right decision in tapping recently retired Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy to serve as an advisor to a panel of religious leaders through the White House Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships Office.
I’ve lived in Indianapolis the past 10 years and covered the NFL to varying degrees over five years between here and living in D.C. And I’ve been a football fan since my childhood idol Walter Payton sliced his way down the field through the wreckage of many poor Bears’ offensive lines.
I can honestly say there is not a nicer man I’ve seen in professional sports than Dungy. I only had the pleasure of encountering Dungy in post-game news conferences and other large media events. The thing that stuck with me was his consistency. Win or lose, close game or blowout, conventional question or one straight out of left field, his demeanor was always the same.
The change in atmosphere here was apparent and rapid when Dungy first came to town. If you remember former coach’s Jim Mora’s “Playoffs! You want to talk about playoffs?!?” tirade, the difference was night and day.
This doesn’t even take into account how Dungy relied of his faith through public tribulations and tragedies as a sports celebrity that come with being an NFL head coach:
- Getting fired in Tampa Bay after turning around the league’s perennial doormat
- Embarrassing playoff losses early in his Colts career
- The unimaginable weight of his son’s suicide
As Colts’ chaplain Ken Johnson revealed to Everyday Christian earlier this year, Dungy is as genuine as he seems.
His demeanor and adherence to living out his faith in all that he does makes him an instant cornerstone for the advisory council.