The WILW Radio Blog

Legendary NFL Head Coach Don Shula has Passed Away

Monday, May 4, 2020 10:45 AM

It is with great sadness I have to mention that Don Shula, the former Miami Dolphins Head Coach of the only undefeated team in the Superbowl era passed away today at the age of 90.  His ability to adapt to the players he assembled for his team (by utilizing their assets and strengths to the advantage of the entire team) led to the perfect season and also playing in three straight Superbowls, winning two straight in the 1971 through 1973 seasons. 

The great Offensive Line anchored by Hall of Famers Larry Little and Larry Langer helped a basic ball control offense led by Hall of Fame QB Bob Griese, Hall of Fame Fullback Larry Csonka and Halfbacks Mercury Morris and Jim Kiick kept the ball out of the hands of the opposiing team leading to their great record during that era.  And when they did throw the ball they had another legend, Hall of Famer Paul Warfield to carry the load with other Split Ends Marlin Briscoe and Howard Twilley.  Tight Ends Jim Mandich and Marv Fleming rounded out the receiving corp. 

Mr. Shula’s  “No Name” defense of the early to mid 70’s is one of the greatest yet most underrated team defenses ever to play in the NFL.  Led by Hall of Fame Linebacker Nick Buonaconti, Safeties Jake Scott and Dick Anderson, Nose Tackle Manny Fernandez and Defensive End Bill Stanfill, the defense proved to be one of the most hard hitting in the league.  And they were able to coordinate their swarming defense that usually prevented big plays against them.  

The 1972 team from the Perfect Season led the leaugue in both Offense and Defense.  This is a tribute to Shula’s “team concept” that made no room for large ego’s on the field.  When Mr. Shula retired he was the winningest coach in NFL history.  A record that still stands to this day.

A personal note.  The Dolphins during the Don Shula era of the 70’s were my favorite team.  His innovative coaching philosophy stressing minimizing mental errors and mistakes and teamwork at the expense of coddling large egos is something that I emulated later in life when I became a retail and food service manager.  God Bless you Mr. Shula and I am sure there are many other people that borrowed your management style and utilized it to help their respective businesses.

More about Mr. Shula’s life and career can be found in this Fox News article