Of all the coaches who ever worked the sideline in the NFL, there is only one who can say he reached perfection: Don Shula. Shula led the 1972 Miami Dolphins to a perfect 17-0 season, ending in the team’s first Super Bowl championship. He is the winningest coach in NFL history, having recorded 347 victories. He ranks second all-time in Super Bowl appearances as a head coach with six.
Don Shula could motivate players so well because he began as a player himself, playing for the Cleveland Browns, Baltimore Colts and Washington Redskins in the 1950s. Immediately after retiring as a player, Shula turned to coach, rising the become the youngest-ever head coach in the NFL when he took over the Colts in 1963. He would stay with Baltimore for seven consecutive winning years, taking them to a berth in Super Bowl III. He joined the Miami Dolphins in 1970 and would stay there for 26 years, clinching five AFC Championships and posting winning seasons in all but two of his years there.
Don Shula’s most famous team is the 1972 Dolphins, as Bob Griese, Larry Csonka and company capped off a perfect season with a 14-7 victory over the Washington Redskins in Super Bowl VII. They would win back-to-back championships, topping the Minnesota Vikings in the following Super Bowl by a score of 24-7. Shula would lead Miami back to the Super Bowl twice more in the 1980s. He would retire after 33 seasons as a head coach, tallying a remarkable 347 wins. In 1997, Shula would be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, with his sons David and Mike giving the presentation speech.
Collecting Don Shula Memorabilia