One of the best NFL coaches of all time, Don Shula, passed away earlier today at the age of 90.
The person who created the history of the league, and influenced the game as just a few besides him, died at his home, from natural causes.
Miami Dolphins, the team where Shula created most of his legacy, issued the statement revealing the death of their former leader and the legend of the franchise.
“The Miami Dolphins are saddened to announce that Head Coach Don Shula passed away peacefully at his home this morning.”
Hall-of-Fame coach Don Shula, who won more games than any NFL coach, passed away this morning, the Dolphins announced. Shula was 90. pic.twitter.com/cnNttV9wNl
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) May 4, 2020
His results and things he made while coaching Colts and the Dolphins will be remembered forever. Shula reached the Super Bowl with the Colts in 1968 but lost to the New York Jets, and that was his greatest success with the team from Baltimore at the time.
Once moved to Miami, Shula made wonders with the organization from Florida, where he spent 26 years as a head coach, winning two Super Bowl trophies, and setting numerous records. Among them was a perfect season in 1972. So far, there wasn’t a team that repeated such an achievement, and Miami is still the only organization with such a landmark.
Shula went to five Super Bowls with the Dolphins losing three, but keeping very high standards throughout the entire era in Miami. He would post under .500 records just twice during those 26 years, and his teams were constantly among the least penalized in the NFL.
“Don Shula was the patriarch of the Miami Dolphins for 50 years,” the team said in a statement. “He brought the winning edge to our franchise and put the Dolphins and the city of Miami in the national sports scene.”
His playing career wasn’t as successful as the coaching one. Shula played for John Carroll University and was drafted in the 9th round as the 110th pick of the 1951 NFL Draft. The Cleveland Browns picked him, and he stayed there for two years. He would play for the Colts between 1953 and 1956, before finishing his career in Washington in 1957.
Rest in peace, Don Shula.
Winningest head coach of all-time (347 total wins)
2x Super Bowl Champion
Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 1997
Only coach to lead a team to a perfect season pic.twitter.com/4V6YRtyVfx
— NFL (@NFL) May 4, 2020
Three years after that, he became the defensive coordinator in the Detroit Lions, and in 1963 the Colts appointed him as the youngest head coach at the time in the league, with just 33 years. He won three AP NFL Coach of the Year awards in Baltimore, and one later in Miami.
For 33 years consecutive years, he has been the head coach, and during that time, Shula became the person with the most games led in the NFL, 526, and most wins, 327, plus 19 in the playoffs. He also lost the most Super Bowls, four of them, one with the Colts and the rest with the Dolphins.
Only a few of his colleagues had a positive record against him, and he is the only person in history to lead five different quarterbacks to the Super Bowl. It is an impressive accomplishment knowing that finding a starting QB is pretty hard, let alone the one who can guide the team to the SB.
In 1993 Shula was the Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year, and is a member of the NFL 100th anniversary All-Team. Needless to say that he became a Hall of Famer.
Shula married Dorothy Bartish in 1958, and they had five children. Dorothy died in 1991, leaving her husband to live 29 years longer than she did. Don Shula joined her today. May he rest in piece.
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.