Page 2 of 3   <       >

Super Bowl Coaches Value Family, Faith

Taking cues from their coaches, the pregame revelry went off without a hitch despite the temptations that before have turned Miami and other Super Bowl cities into minefields.

As Super Bowl Sunday dawned, there had been no repeats of Cincinnati running back Stanley Wilson's cocaine binge 20 years ago in a Miami hotel on the eve of the game _ or of Atlanta defensive back Eugene Robinson's arrest on sex solicitation charges 10 years ago, also in Miami, just hours before kickoff.

Nor did Smith's Bears remind anyone of the last Chicago team to make the Super Bowl.

That wildly eccentric '85 group was one-of-a-kind _ the team that gave us "The Super Bowl Shuffle," to say nothing of massive defensive lineman William "Refrigerator" Perry, punky quarterback Jim McMahon and the bombastic coach he fought with, Mike Ditka.

"It was a team of characters that had character that played for a crazy man, who let them be crazy and had fun doing it and won't apologize for it ever," Ditka said. "I wouldn't want to be one of these suits walking around on the sideline today."

But it's hard to call either Dungy or Smith a "suit." They hardly fit that mold.

Dungy hired Smith when he was head coach at Tampa Bay. He was looking for people like him _ not only for the color of their skin but for their beliefs and values.

Dungy recalled an owner asking him in an earlier interview if the job would be the most important thing in his life.

He said, "No."

"I didn't think I'd get that job and I didn't," Dungy said. "But I think for your faith to be more important than your job, for your family to be more important than your job, it's things we all talk about and we all know that's the way it should be, but we're kind of afraid to say that sometimes."

Dungy, whose 18-year-old son, James, committed suicide last season, wasn't afraid to trade in football time for family time before and after that tragedy _ and certainly still isn't now.

Smith, too, values faith and family more than football. He probably would've been just as happy had the Super Bowl been played in his one-stoplight hometown of Big Sandy, Texas, instead of South Florida.


<       2        >

© 2007 The Associated Press