Unlike the last time the Super Bowl was played here when the 49ers clobbered the Miami Dolphins at the antiquated, but huge Stanford Stadium (80,000 seats at the time), there was a Super Bowl breakfast this time around and a key participant in that Super Bowl, three-time Super Bowl winner Brent Jones, served as emcee. Brent lives in the Danville area and is a former recipient of the Starr award.
This time around, the playbook had to be rewritten because of commitments from key participants. Charlotte linebacker Thomas Davis received the Starr award, but needed to be back in the South Bay for 9:30 a.m. team meetings. So he and his family got up quite early, drove to San Francisco to receive the award and then hit the road back for the South Bay by 8:30 a.m. (the event started at 8 a.m.)
New Orleans tight end, Ben Watson, also had to make more of a cameo appearance that planned.Watson is a finalist for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award (presented this evening during a primetime show) and had to leave early to make a commitment around that award.
That left TV analyst and Super Bowl winning coach at Indianapolis (with now Bronco’s quarterback Peyton Manning under center) Tony Dungy to deliver the closing remarks and invite those in attendance to come to know Jesus as their personal Lord and savior. Tony told about his 15-year-old son Jordan, one of their 10 kids, who was born with a congenital defect so he does not feel pain. That has created many challenges for the family, but Tony said that he and his wife have learned much from Jordan and seen God at work throughout.
Prior to his closing remarks, Tony was part of a panel that Brent moderated that included quarterbacks Roger Staubach and Steve Young, tight end and coach Mike Ditka, Watson, Dungy, and guard Jerry Kramer who threw the block for Bart Starr to score the winning touchdown against Dallas in the Ice Bowl in Green Bay. They told some great stories—among the most touching were Young and Dungy both saying how they grew up with Staubach posters on the wall because he was their idol and then found themselves playing against him.
Notably, Dungy and Ditka are among the few men who have won Super Bowls as both a player and a head coach. There are 12 in all that won as players and then served as a coach (many as assistants) on a winning team.
What all of the men had in common was football and their faith in Jesus.
It was an uplifting breakfast with the Tri-Valley well represented by pastors Scott Farmer, Mark Wollan and Brent Lokker; Mayors Bill Clarkson and David Haubert; Councilman Newell Arnerich, former Dublin Mayor Tim Sbranti and former Assemblyman Guy Houston to name those in the faith and political worlds that I saw. They were joined by many others, a good number thanks to Danville businessman Tom Dowd.
Incidentally, the energy in San Francisco was at least equivalent to that during the holidays. The city was buzzing.