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Check out our Super Bowl Party pics last night.

Great teams always have great leaders.  It’s clear that both the Steelers and the Cardinals possessed great leadership this season.  We all know about their quarterbacks and their coaches, but I never knew about their owners–specifically Dan Rooney of the Steelers.

While most owners are somewhat stand-offish, Rooney is hands-on.  According to this article, he flies on the team charter, eats lunch with his players, and knows them each by name.  He was recently quoted saying:

We don’t care who gets the credit, and all we want to do is win. It’s very important that a team come together, that they develop respect for each other — you can call it love.”

Wow.  We can learn a lot about leadership from this man.  It made me think of a book I just finished called, Tribes, by Seth Godin.  Though it’s a secular book, there are many golden nuggets for those seeking to lead their communities to “win” and succeed as a team.  Godin says,

The first thing a leader can focus on is the act of tightening a tribe.

Great leaders connect people together to form a close community.  Indeed, when a leader cares about it’s community and the community cares for one another, great things can happen.  I think the Pittsburgh Steelers would agree.

Read the full story here.

I’ve heard it said that sanctification happens in small steps.  So if I desire to grow in my relationship with God and others this year, it matters what I do today.  Interestingly enough, I saw this truth in the Sports Page from a quote by Arizona Cardinals all-pro receiver Larry Fitzgerald.  He said,

I don’t look too far in the future.  I just look at today.  How can I be the best player I can be on Wednesday?   How can I be the best player I can be on Thursday?  If I can continue to chip away like that, then I can be the best player on Sunday.

If you’ve seen Fitzgerald play you know he is an extremely gifted athlete.  But his success is directly related to his willingness to work hard each day.  I want to translate that to my own life in ministry.  All I have is today.  So I want to say with the Apostle Paul,

I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.  ~ 1 Cor. 15:10b

If you haven’t read the crazy story of how Kurt Warner met his wife, Brenda, and went on to win a Super Bowl, it’s pretty amazing. My older brother actually met Warner and got his autograph before he made it big.  And … I’m a proud graduate of the University of Northen Iowa, Warner’s alma mater.  So, I’ll be rooting for Arizona in Super Bowl XLIII.

Zach Nielsen:

Tony Dungy retired from coaching a few days ago. Chris Mortenson has written a great piece on him for ESPN.com. Here are the first few paragraphs:

It was late Saturday night and the words flowed from Tony Dungy’s lips like water from a spring. He was quoting his favorite book; not his best-selling “Quiet Strength,” but, naturally, the Bible.

“I’m at a point, kind of like the Apostle Paul,” explained Dungy, “he said, ‘If I live, it’s good. If I die and go home with the Lord, it’s better.'” Dungy sounded like a man who was prepared to go home — in this case, Dungy will go home to his wife, Lauren, and family in Tampa, as well as home in an earthly sense to do what he calls the Lord’s work with various ministry outreach programs that include work with troubled youths and convicted prisoners. For Dungy, right now, it is better to walk away from the game.

 Read the rest.

Click here to watch a great short video about Dungy’s career by NFL films.

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