Being a fan of the Miami Dolphins means to honor and cherish two names in particular when it comes to former Dolphins greats. One name that always comes to mind when thinking of Dolphins legends is of course Dan Marino, but perhaps even more beloved than Marino is the head coach that seemed to do it all for the Miami Dolphins: Don Shula. While the Fins have had some great head coaches since Shula and will no doubt have some very good ones to come, there are five reasons that none of them will ever be able to replace the legend that is Don Shula.
Reason #1: Total Wins
Don Shula was a winner. In his 33 years of coaching in the NFL he led two teams to a record 328 wins. Of those, 257 were victories for the Dolphins. That means that in his 26 years as the head coach of the Miami Dolphins he averaged almost 10 wins per season, something the Dolphins are missing now in a big way.
Reason #2: Division Champs
The Miami Dolphins reside in arguably one of the toughest divisions in the NFL, the AFC East. Don Shula stopped coaching the Dolphins in 1995 and since then they have won the division title only two times in 2000 and 2008. Don Shula was able to lead the team to 11 AFC East Championships.
Reason #3: Playoffs
Don Shula had a habit of leading the Dolphins to the playoffs. In his 26 year tenure with the Fins he led them to 16 playoff appearances. Since Shula the Dolphins have only been back to the playoffs six times with very limited success.
Reason #4: Super Bowls
Don Shula is the only head coach in the history of the Miami Dolphins to take the team to the big game. In all he took the Dolphins to the Super Bowl five times and won twice. Even though he lost more Super Bowls than he won with the Fins, at least he got the team there.
Reason #5: The Perfect Season
As a fan of the Miami Dolphins I don't have a whole lot to hang my hat on these days. However, what I will always have is the fact that the Miami Dolphins are the only team in NFL history to win all their regular season games and go on to be the Super Bowl Champs. That happened in 1972 under the watch of Don Shula. Even if another team accomplishes the feat someday, I can always have pride as a Dolphins fan that they were the first team to do it and that is all thanks to the irreplaceable Don Shula.
Jimmy Collins has been a loyal "Dolfan" and fan of the NFL since he was six years old when he met Dan Marino and several other Miami Dolphins players. Still a resident of South Florida, he attends numerous Miami Dolphins games each season and enjoys writing about the NFL and the Miami Dolphins in particular.
More from this contributor:
- Sports & Recreation
- American Football
- Miami Dolphins
- Don Shula
- Dan Marino