While most NFL fans know Don Shula is the most winning coach in the tournament’s history, younger people may not have a real sense of how great and influential he is.
Here are the reasons why Shula – who died in the early 90s on Monday – is not just the NFL greatest winner of all time.
He didn’t have to deal with the agency for free, but…
The NFL Freedom Agency began in 1993, and the last year as Shula’s coach, in 1995. While the players had the freedom of movement made it difficult for the coaches to live their lives tougher, doing work in the 1960s, 70s and 80s presented their own challenges. If teams have excellent draft classes, they can stay on the dominant core for longer, which makes training a more difficult proposition; there may be miserable teams, but the best of the best have been together and resilient to defeat. Shula’s strong ability to thrive, in that era – he won two-digit games every year in the 1970s except in 1976 – was special.
His versatility is a strong suit
Shula only achieved a Super Bowl (1984) with Dan Marino and a high ball pass attack, but he was good at winning with many different styles; His Dolphins teams in the early 1970s had talented and active running and defending. Moreover, he tried to guide Miami to his perfect season despite not starting the quarter-finals of Bob Griese for most of the year due to injury. Earl Morrall, thirty-eight, who played for Shula and the Baltimore Colts, stepped in and went 9-0 as a beginner. With healthy Griese the following season, Miami once again won the Super Bowl but with a sharper pass attack as part of its repertoire.
He won the right way
Nobody argues about the greatness of Bill Belichick, but even his most ardent supporters must admit that some of his methods are the best boundary, even the worst, with heritage. Spygate ‘s continues to feed him in some circles to this day. Shula is the exact opposite. Included in his Miami Herald obituary is a window into the values of Shula. When asked what he wants his legacy to be, Shula said, I want them to say that he won the rules, that he has players who are very proud to play by the rules. He continued, he wants them to say that we were right. Always the right way.