If you bought Tony Dungy’s memoir Quiet Strength: The Principles, Practices & Priorities of a Winning Life expecting to get some behind–the–scenes stories about last year’s Super Bowl, forget it.
There’s more about Job in this book than than about Peyton Manning. Dungy quotes more from Scripture than from his playbook as coach of the Super Bowl Champion Indianapolis Colts.
He spends the introduction explaining that this is not a book entirely about football, though it does cover his career as an NFL player and coach and how he got serious about his faith after joining the Pittsburgh Steelers.
“It’s about the journey—mine and yours—and the lives we can touch, the legacy we can leave, and the world we can change for the better,” Dungy writes.
To open many of the chapters, Dungy uses Scripture, including 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 (“We are pressed on every side by troubles … but never abandoned by God”), when he talked about being fired as coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
This book is full of examples like that from Dungy’s life. He explains that his quiet coaching style comes from his father, Dr. Wil Dungy, who taught him that yelling and cursing at officials would never help his team.
Dungy also discusses the family–friendly policies that are a part of his coaching philosophy. He doesn’t believe that he and his coaches should stay in the office (where his kids are regular guests) until the wee hours of the morning. He also emphasizes to his players that family should come before football.
Just prior to the 2005 playoffs, Dungy’s son, James, committed suicide. Dungy discusses the pain of that loss for him and his wife, Lauren, in the book.
The book concludes with last year’s Super Bowl win, but Dungy doesn’t take any shots at the critics who said he could never win the big one. With customary humility, he lets the facts speak for themselves.
“The Super Bowl is great, but it’s not the greatest thing,” he writes. “My focus over the two weeks leading up to the Super Bowl was Matthew 16:36, in which Jesus says, ‘And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul?’”
Dungy said he sometimes receives painful letters that contain insensitive racial remarks, and he hoped those people were watching last year as he became the first black coach to win the Super Bowl.
“I didn’t want to be an icon,” he said. “I wanted to provide hope. I wanted my experience to open people’s eyes to the opportunities available to all of us…. That’s how God wants it to be.”
Quiet Strength is co-written by Nathan Whitaker and includes a foreword from Pauletta and Denzel Washington. It’s available at Trade for the dramatically reduced price of $14.