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Super Witness

Matthew Harrison

Thursday, February 8, 2007

It’s been a few days since the Super Bowl and we’ve had some time to digest the game, the commercials, and the highlights. For me, the highlight did not come on offense or defense (in fact I thought the game was kind of sloppy!). Nor did it happen during a commercial break (because of the simulcast we Canadians always miss out on the much hyped American commercials and have to rely on the internet to track them down!). And it certainly didn’t happen during Prince’s half-time show (if the rain was actually purple, I may have been impressed…). For me, the highlight of the Super Bowl came after the Indianapolis Colts had beaten the Chicago Bears. It happened during the presentation of the Vince Lombardi trophy. Roger Goodell, the NFL commissioner handed Colts owner Jim Irsay the trophy and one of the first things out of Irsay’s mouth was a thank you to God. He thanked Him for the success of the team, and for bringing the team together as a family!
Indianapolis Head Coach Tony Dungy spoke after Irsay – and he thanked God. At this point I was beaming with joy to hear all these words of thanksgiving to our God, but then Indy’s coach said something even more powerful. Jim Nantz, the host of the trophy presentation ceremony asked Dungy about the social significance of winning the Super Bowl, alluding to the ethnic background of the Colts' coach. Dungy replied: "I'm proud to be the first African-American coach to win this … [but] … more than anything, [Chicago Bears head coach] Lovie Smith and I are not only African-American but also Christian coaches, showing you can do it the Lord's way. We're more proud of that."
It was a wonderful moment for any Christian to see this incredible witness of God; and it was seen by millions of people around the world (an estimated 93.2 million viewers tuned in to the game itself, the third highest U-S T-V audience of all time, while about 57 million tuned into the post-game ceremony I’ve been discussing). These men, both faithful Christians, were not shying away from acknowledging their Christian faith and giving thanks for the gifts and blessings they have received. Their thanks to God recognize that their faith isn’t something that happens in a Church once a week, but it permeates every facet of their lives: even their coaching styles reflect this.
"You want to do things the right way. I'm proud as a Christian coach that I can do it that way. I can honor the Lord. I can coach with no profanity, no violations of the rules, anything like that. And you can still win,” Dungy told the Associated Press.
This is a powerful lesson for all of us. Our Catholic faith teaches us we are created in the image and likeness of God and we must always try and reflect this – whether it be at home, at work, or in a stadium packed with over 70-thousand people!

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