I went back this morning and looked at those comments again.
Dungy doesn't say that he and Smith were the "first" but it is said in context with comments about them being African American head coaches. They are the first two black head coaches to reach this level.
(edit : Here's the quote in full for clarity's sake: "I'm proud to be the first African-American coach to win this," Dungy said during the trophy ceremony. "But again, more than anything, 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."
But even without the use of the word first what is Dungy saying when he says that they showed that "...you can do it the Lord's way"? I think the implication is clear that this is something new for the Super Bowl, that no previous coach had done it the "Lord's way".
That smacks of a peculiar kind of arrogance. The arrogance of knowing the hearts of EVERY other head coach, nearly 80 men. The arrogance of saying that the Lord didn't bless any other way of coaching. God made Vince Lombardi. Who are we to say that Vince (a devout Catholic if memory serves) was not coaching as God intended him to coach? Would he not then be doing it the "Lord's way"?
I've never met Coach Dungy. Everything, and I mean EVERYTHING I've heard about him speaks to his class, his humbleness and intelligence. So the assumption should probably be that the way I heard it was NOT the way he intended it.
Yet I feel the need to keep writing about it. Why? Because it bothers me that there is growing in our faith a need, it seems nearly to be an imperative, to flag wave our faith in everyone's face. Despite the fact that we are warned specifically AGAINST doing just that in the Gospels. Tony and Lovie's faith is well known. It's effect on their coaching styles (these two are pretty much the anti-Lombardis in coaching style) is also well known. Shouldn't that be enough? Live your life in faith, show the world how a person of faith lives, let them marvel at the peace and justice and mercy and love that characterize your life. Know that your reward is coming from God.
Pointing out your faith, making comparisons of your faith to others smacks of spiritual jersey popping. By your fruits shall they know you. Make sure your actions speak loudly enough that it doesn't require words.