Monday was a sad day for the NFL. Hall-of-Fame head coach Don Shula passed away at the age of 90.
Shula’s death prompted responses from all over Florida where he became a legend as the coach of the Miami Dolphins and throughout the NFL fraternity.
Fellow legend and current head coach and general manager of the New England Patriots, Bill Belichick offered a tribute to Coach Shula.
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Bill Belichick on Don Shula’s Death
Don Shula is one of the all-time great coaching figures and the standard for consistency and leadership in the NFL. I was fortunate to grow up in Maryland as a fan of the Baltimore Colts who, under Coach Shula, were one of the outstanding teams of that era. My first connection to Coach Shula was through my father, whose friendship with Coach Shula went back to their days in northeast Ohio. I extend my deepest condolences to the Shula family and the Dolphins organization.
The NFL followed suit:
Don Shula’s Coaching Record and Accomplishments
Shula coached in the NFL for 33 years. He is the only head coach to lead a team to an undefeated regular season and a Super Bowl title in the same season. His 1972 Dolphins accomplished the feat. Belichick and the Patriots came close in 2007, but they lost in the Super Bowl to the New York Giants.
In total, Shula collected 328 wins to just 156 losses. His regular-season win total is the highest of any coach in NFL history. Shula won two Super Bowls and an NFL Championship. In addition to the legendary ’72 Dolphins team, Shula and the Dolphins repeated in 1973. Prior to that mini-dynasty, Shula also led the 1968 Baltimore Colts to football’s ultimate glory. They won the NFL Championship that season.
While Belichick has won more Super Bowls, he is still chasing many of Shula’s accomplishments including the record for regular-season wins.
Belichick currently trails Shula by 55 wins heading into the 2020 season. You’d have to think, the Patriots’ coach would need to stay on the New England Patriots’ sidelines for at least five or six more seasons to catch Shula. That’s assuming he continued to win at anywhere near the same pace he has in the past.
That’s a huge question mark heading into a year and era without Tom Brady and others for the first time in 20 years. If Belichick can guide the Patriots back to the Super Bowl without Brady, it will place him more firmly alongside Shula and other greats on the Mount Rushmore of NFL coaches.
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