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Don Shula Dead at 90

Don Shula
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

Hall of Fame head coach Don Shula, the all-time winningest coach in the NFL, passed away this morning at the age of 90 at his home in Miami. Shula led six different teams to Super Bowls, five in Miami and one in Baltimore, and finished under 500 in only two of his 26 seasons coaching the Dolphins. He and George Halas are the only head coaches in NFL history with over 300 wins.

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Comments

23 comments, Last at 11 May 2020, 7:29pm

1 As a Jets fan, I griped…

As a Jets fan, I griped about him plenty when he was alive.  But it is still sad to see him pass.

6 I need to take the time to…

I need to take the time to see if there is a decent stream of Super Bowl III. My impression is that it was a game more lost by Earl Morrall than won by anybody. Definitely better for the NFL that the Jets won.

9 Full version uploaded by NFL…

Full version uploaded by NFL over here ... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RW5GnZCxqIw

Bizarre watching a game without replays. (Plus all the other missing stuff ... ads, graphics plastered all over screen)

Noting on first FG miss that hashmarks seem to be wider than the goalposts creating an angle to the kicker's detriment. But of course also giving less/more space on scrimmage plays when the ball was spotted on hashmark.

14 While Morrall did more to…

While Morrall did more to lose the game than anyone else, Unitas was terrible as well, completing under 50 percent of his passes.  The Colts were also outgained in yards by the victorious Jets, unlike another Super Bowl people complain was rigged.   Still, my biased opinion is that the Colts were overrated and gave the Jets less of a problem than the Oakland Raiders did.

15 The Colts were definitely…

The Colts were definitely overrated, and the spread was ridiculous, but when your qb keeps throwing it to the wrong guys, and ignoring wide open guys in the end zone, against a good team, you likely are going to whipped, especially when the opponent's place kicker has a better day. Looking at the play by play, Unitas doesn't enter until it is 13-0, and by the time he throws his 3rd pass, it's 16-0 with 13 minutes left, in an era where passing was a lot harder.

16 That's all true, but the…

That's all true, but the Jets needed a Raiders backwards pass to win... at Shea, when the Raiders had the better record.  I think the Colts got lucky not facing the Cowboys in the championship game.  If only Meredith hadn't melted down- but then the AFL would have lost that year too, probably.

17 The other thing I have to…

The other thing I have to say is that the Jets were a terrible matchup for the Colts.  Their defense was predicated on blitzing, and against Namath's release, that's a bad idea.  They kept rushing guys at him expecting a sack and then he would hit a running back for a first down.  The Colts also couldn't stop the Jets running game either.

3 One of the all-time greats…

One of the all-time greats. His GM and drafting chops left something to be desired, but his teams typically won more than they had a right to and his teams consistently were among the least penalized. Have a good one up there, coach!

4 The best tribute

I think the Bum Phillips quote about Shula is the best tribute to his coaching:

"He could take his'n and beat your'n then take your'n and beat his'n".  

{I know that's not original to Bum (originally said about Bear Bryant), but doesn't make it less applicable.}

 

11 Apologies in advance if this…

Apologies in advance if this is common knowledge, but it was new to me. I read just now that Shula head-coached against both George Halas and Bill Belichick, meaning those three head-coaches alone span the entire 100 years of NFL history. Truly remarkable.

12 One thing I find amazing is…

One thing I find amazing is how adaptable he was.   In the 70s, he had teams that would throw the ball less than 10 times in a game.   In the 1973 playoffs, in the AFC championship game, the Dolphins threw the ball 6 times, completed 3 for 34 yards and 1 pick (also 1 sack so 7 dropbacks).  They ran the ball 53 times for 266 yards.  In the Superbowl that followed, the Dolphins threw 7 passes, completing 6 for 73 yards (+ 1 sack for 8 dropbacks).    They ran the ball another 53 times, albeit for only 197 yards.  Neither game was close, they won 27-10 and 23-7.  This was with a HOF quarterback to boot.

9 years later using David Woodley, in an AFC championship game, they threw 21 times for 9 completions and 87 yards, lost another 20 yards on 4 sacks so net 67, were picked 3 times, and still won (in part because Richard Todd was worse, 15 of 37 and 5 picks including a pick six).

so 2 years later, he had Marino who threw for 435 yards in the AFC championship game, though to be fair they still ran more times than they threw (not sure how much of that was with a lead, but the Steelers did have the lead into the 2nd quarter and kept it relatively close... in their superbowl loss that followed, they ran 9 times and threw 50 times (again, the fact they trailed big was a likely factor), though the Dolphins did lead at the end of one quarter.

 

 

22 This

As a Colts fan (age 8) I was not happy with Coach Shula after that game, and he left under a bit of a cloud (mystery), but I give him huge credit for adapting to the times and his personnel.  He will be remembered.

23 33 seasons. Seasons with a…

33 seasons.

Seasons with a losing record: two.

With two different teams/organizations/front offices.  With a backup quarterback and a David Woodley.

The record suggests, to me, that the man could coach football.