Tony Dungy: A Life More than Football

Tony Dungy visited The Influencers Podcast to share how leaders can accomplish making faith & family more important than football

BAKERSFIELD, CA — How do you bring together a group of alpha males and females willing to put the goals of the team ahead of their individual ones? Tony Dungy visited The Influencers Podcast to share how leaders can accomplish this and how his faith and family are more important than football. For many people, when they hear the name Tony Dungy they think football. But there’s more to Dungy and he has purposefully lived his life to ensure it. Dungy is a #1 New York Times bestselling author, who led the Indianapolis Colts to victory in Super Bowl XLI, but he is also a man of charity, strong faith and a dedicated father to eleven kids.

Faith, Family, Football

Dungy describes his first meeting with the Pittsburgh Steelers. “I came to the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1977 in the middle of a four Super Bowl win run and Coach Noll told us, ‘Don’t make football your whole life. You’re in professional football. That means you get paid to play, but please don’t make it your whole life.’ And I had a chance to learn from him and to learn from a lot of other players that you can’t focus your life around a sport. It is very short-term thinking.”

Dungy’s mother’s favorite Bible verse was Matthew 16:26, “What would it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?” From the time he was a young child he was taught faith and family over everything else. His mother taught Sunday school class and would practice her lessons on Dungy and his siblings. When he had questions, his mother would listen and show him what the Bible says. But Dungy shares that as he grew those teachings went into the background when he focused on sports and school. While playing in the National Football League he remembered his mother’s words about the Bible and Matthew 16:26 as he saw first-hand the effects of fame and notoriety for many. Unpleasantly surprised by the number of men who had wrecked lives even with millions of dollars and more accolades then they could ask for, Dungy knew the Bible was right. “The Bible became my focal point and I wanted to grow and learn from it,” he shares. “Even through coaching I would tell Bible stories and parables to our team.”

Dungy recalls a time when his team was playing a game in Tampa and were missing many key players, so to encourage them he shared about Gideon’s army. Telling how Gideon was down and didn’t have many men for battle, but they still went out and fought the Midianites though they were outnumbered. At the end of his motivating words, one of the players raised his hand and asked, “So what happened in the story?” “It never even occurred to me that they may not have known the story. So, I said they slaughtered them with just 300 people!” The team was fired up to play their hardest. “They responded to the Bible,” Dungy said.

Bringing Unity to a Diverse Team

Through the years, Dungy has coached huge talent within a diverse range of individuals. The challenge is pulling them together, teaching them to set aside their individual ways and performance, and focus as a team. This is what makes a championship. “A leader has to try to channel everybody’s drive into that,” Dungy explains. “I saw it work and it was awesome.”

For Dungy, the fine art of bringing unity to a diverse team is to not lose individual goals, but to filter them through the team goal so everyone goes farther together. He believes a strong team leader can do this in sports, business, and family—put personal goals behind the good of the group.

To hear Coach Dungy’s full episode and glean more keys to team leadership, please visit

About The Influencers Podcast

Do you dream of ways to tangibly make the world around you better? Do you desire to be a person of courageous action? Then this podcast is for you!

Join Dave Donaldson and Scott Young as they discuss stories and strategies with leaders, experts, and professionals from around the globe, who will help you uncover the keys to unlocking your full potential, empowering you to leave a legacy of change through kindness and compassion from your neighborhood to the nations.

Dave Donaldson is an author, international speaker, and veteran of Washington, DC, and co-founder of Convoy of Hope and CityServe International. Scott Young is an expert communicator with an extensive broadcasting background and global speaking platform. He currently serves as the lead pastor of Church of Hope in Sarasota, Florida as well as a board member on CityServe International.

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