Winning the Big Ones

“The superior man blames himself. The inferior man blames others.”
Hall of Fame NFL Coach Don Shula

Don Shula was one of the most successful coaches in the history of the National Football League. Shula was an NFL Head Coach for 33 consecutive years (1963-69 with the Baltimore Colts and 1970-95 with the Miami Dolphins). Shula only had two losing seasons as a Head Coach.

Prior to getting into coaching , Shula was a defensive back in the NFL for seven seasons.

Don Shula always will be remembered for leading the Miami Dolphins to an undefeated season. In 1972, the Dolphins went 14-0 in the regular season with three more post-season wins including a Super Bowl victory over the Washington Redskins. The Dolphins also won the Super Bowl the following season although Shula’s teams went 2-4 in Super Bowls.

Shula’s sons Mike and Dave also were head coaches. Mike at Alabama and Dave with the Cincinnati Bengals.

Don Shula was an outstanding coach and like most great NFL Coaches, he was a tough guy.

Early in Shula’s coaching career, many people said he couldn’t win the “big one.”  His 1964 Baltimore Colts were a heavy favorite to defeat the Cleveland Browns in the NFL Championship Game. The Browns defeated the Colts 27-0. His 1968 Colts team was a 17 point favorite to defeat Joe Namath and the New York Jets in Super Bowl lll. The Jets won 16-7.

Shula silenced his critics by leading the Miami Dolphins to back to back  victories in Super Bowls Vll and Vlll.

As great a coach as Shula was, his record in Super Bowls was 2-4. His Super Bowl winning Dolphins emphasized the running game, along with defense. Shula adjusted after drafting Dan Marino and the Dolphins threw the ball much more.

Shula only was 33 years old when he was hired by the Baltimore Colts in 1963. To have been a head coach for 33 straight seasons truly is remarkable.

While his post-season record wasn’t great, he still will be remembered as one of the all-time greats

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