Don Shula

Mako

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I was just doing a little websurfing (actually was looking up information on David Woodley) when I stumbled across this old article about Don Shula from when he "Retired" as coach of the Dolphins.




October 6, 1995
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The end of an era, the end of a dream
By Kris Shields
It wasn't supposed to be like this.

He was supposed to be carried off the field by his players. He was supposed to have a smile on his face the size of Florida. He was supposed to be drenched with champagne.

But Don Shula wasn't supposed to be at a press conference in early January, coming off of an embarrassing loss, announcing to the world that he would not be returning to coach the Miami Dolphins. Somebody else would be pacing the sideline next year. Somebody else would be drawing up the plays and picking the starting lineups. Someone else would be giving the postgame press conferences.

As a lifelong Dolphins fan, I am excited that Jimmy Johnson will be taking over the team. He is a winner and will bring that attitude to the Dolphins. It is likely that the change, simply because it is a shakeup, will help the team.

But that really isn't the issue.

Don Shula has been head coach of the Dolphins since before I was born. In fact, he's been coach since 1970. He took them to an undefeated season, five Super Bowls, and two championships. He averaged over 10 wins per season.

Even over the past five years, the time period when many have said Shula had failed, the Dolphins have been in the hunt virtually every year, and have had four playoff appearances including two division championships. Dolphins fans have been spoiled: we expect success from the Dolphins because they have been so successful for so long.

Why have they been so successful? Don Shula has had a lot to do with it. He won with the pounding running backs Larry Csonka, Jim Kiick, and Mercury Morris. He took a team without an identity, led by the tandem of David Woodley and Don Strock, to the Super Bowl. And found another AFC Championship behind the arm of Dan Marino.

Was it time for Shula to retire? Probably. It was probably time a couple years ago. But that is no excuse for the abuse he withstood this season. The Dolphins had high expectations which they fell far short of meeting. It's no surprise their coach was criticized. But what happened to Shula was far beyond criticism. He deserved to be questioned for his handling of the 1995 Dolphins. But, in the process, his past achievements were belittled and forgotten. That is not right.

The Miami Dolphins simply would not be the Miami Dolphins if Don Shula had never been their coach. In fact, they will never be the same now that he is gone. He brought class and prestige to the organization that no franchise can match. He was always professional in his demeanor and his comments.

Shula didn't guarantee victories and didn't find scapegoats for his losses. He was always willing to take the blame and the first to point to the players for successes. He had fire and competitiveness that were hard to match, but more importantly, a class that was impossible to equal.

Hopefully, Jimmy Johnson will help Marino get a Super Bowl ring. Hopefully, he will help the future Hall-of-Famer keep from ending his career on a sour note, as well. Because he deserves more than a bittersweet ending, too.

In my dream world, though, Shula is still coach of the Dolphins. It is still his jaw jutting out and his arms crossed across his chest. And, the next time the Dolphins win the Super Bowl, he will be the one whom they carry off the field. Because that is how it was supposed to end for the winningest coach of all time. In a locker room, next to Paul Tagliabue, holding the Vince Lombardi trophy.

That's how it was supposed to be. But sometimes, life just isn't perfect.





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Maybe the Dolphins are cursed.. I am almost certain Shula didn't retire on his own accordances, he was forced out so Wayne could bring in Jimmy Johnson. Doesn't it seem funny that since he was forced out, the fortunes of the Dolphins have seemingly gone right down the crapper? What has been the best memory the Dolphins have to hang on to since Shula Retired? 62-7? Cecil Collins? Demetrieus Underwood? Being unable to advance past the second round of the playoffs, and having the playoff performances in the losses look worse and worse each year? Anyhow sorry to go off on a tangent, just reflecting on the old days and what once was. I know for a fact the Dolphins one day will be the preminent team to beat in the NFL, but I still like to reflect on the past.
 

dolfan87

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Neither did Shula.

This team is in such a state of limbo right now. It seems to me that with a few key players, we could be back at the top. Then again with just a few wrong moves, this team could go 3-13 next season. It all depends on what Dave, and Rick do during the offseason.

Keeping my fingers crossed

87
 

Mako

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Jimmy Johnson

Originally posted by iceblizzard69
Johnson didn't get Marino the ring like we all wanted.:(
To be quite honest, I can't even think of Jimmys "Big Accomplishment" with the Dolphins. Sure the playoffs were a big thing but other than that what else? He never led them past the second round. His big bang with Miami was bringing in a group of Hoodlums, as well as some legit stars (Zack Thomas, Jason Taylor, Sam Madison) and alienating Marino to the point of no return.
 

Phinmaster1354

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How about JIMMY's GREATEST PICKS!!! John Avery, Yatil Green, and your favorite and mine J.J. Johnson!! Jimmy Johnson quit on this team, he admiited it on Monday Night football against the COLTS! He said of the DOLPHINS and I quote "The Dolphins were always a playoff team BUT NOT a SUPER BOWL TEAM!!" That's why he took his spineless *** and quit!! Pawned it off on Dave Wannstedt!! God bless Dave, he's had some successful drafts after he took over. Remember he didn't have a 1st round pick his first year, because Jimmy traded it away! Dave took John Wade which has turned out well! But the point is, Jimmy Johnson abandoned ship and DID NOT care what he left for the DOLPHINS!He tried to blame MARINO but if he wasn't drafting the RUNNING BACK BUSTS of the draft, he might have gotten Marino a running game. You look at Avery and J.J. Johnson,what the hell was he thinking?According to Jimmy,It wasn't his bad drafts it was Marino! Jimmy is a spineless quitter!!!
 

Mako

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Phinmaster1354

Originally posted by Phinmaster1354
How about JIMMY's GREATEST PICKS!!! John Avery, Yatil Green, and your favorite and mine J.J. Johnson!! Jimmy Johnson quit on this team, he admiited it on Monday Night football against the COLTS! He said of the DOLPHINS and I quote "The Dolphins were always a playoff team BUT NOT a SUPER BOWL TEAM!!" That's why he took his spineless *** and quit!! Pawned it off on Dave Wannstedt!! God bless Dave, he's had some successful drafts after he took over. Remember he didn't have a 1st round pick his first year, because Jimmy traded it away! Dave took John Wade which has turned out well! But the point is, Jimmy Johnson abandoned ship and DID NOT care what he left for the DOLPHINS!He tried to blame MARINO but if he wasn't drafting the RUNNING BACK BUSTS of the draft, he might have gotten Marino a running game. You look at Avery and J.J. Johnson,what the hell was he thinking?According to Jimmy,It wasn't his bad drafts it was Marino! Jimmy is a spineless quitter!!!
I don't think I could agree with you more.. Jimmy came into town thinking that he could rule the world, and left the team in a perilistic mess. Sure he drafted Zach Thomas, Jason Taylor and Sam Madison but for each Taylor/Thomas/Madison, there were 10 Karim Abdul Jabbars, Cecil Collins's, John Averys and Yatil Greens. What sucked most of all with him was (as you stated) it seemed like he didn't have a lick of loyalty to the Dolphins. Claiming "They Weren't a Super Bowl Team" totally showed that. But then again, last time I checked, wasn't he supposed to be the Savior who would take the Dolphins back to the Promise Land??

Then again, I couldn't stand a lot of things about how he came in to start with. First he stole Don Shula's job, after a few weeks earlier blatantly lying claiming he "WASN"T LOOKING TO TAKE DON SHULA'S JOB". Then when he DID steal Shula's job, he totally dropped virtually all of Shula's players NOT Named Marino. Then he alienates Marino for the First of many times claiming that the Dolphins "NEED NOT RELY ON MARINO AS MUCH NOW THAT THEY ARE A RUNNING TEAM"... Lemme tell ya.. KAJ, Cecil Collins, JJ Johnson and John Avery have made such an impact in the NFL that Johnson's decision to alienate Marino sure looks like a smart move now don't it?

To think the Dolphins could have had Tony Dungy.. He inquired about the Miami a few days before Johnson was named coach but Wayne wouldn't even interview him. Damn shame.
 

phinsphan4ever

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All I've got to say.............

is that Don Shula is the man. He's one of the greatest, if not the greatest coach in NFL history. I've still got some hatred towards Wayne for the way that Don was treated. Don's track record and class demanded a much different outcome than the one which was dealt to him.


:monkey: Wayne Huizenga's treatment of Don Shula:fire:
 

Mako

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Re: All I've got to say.............

Originally posted by aqua&orange54
is that Don Shula is the man. He's one of the greatest, if not the greatest coach in NFL history. I've still got some hatred towards Wayne for the way that Don was treated. Don's track record and class demanded a much different outcome than the one which was dealt to him.


:monkey: Wayne Huizenga's treatment of Don Shula:fire:
I'll always have some hatred towards Huizenga for putting the shafts to Shula. Don was a class act, a great coach and a loyal coach to boot. Don't think he never had offers to jump to other teams, he had more than his fair share. The Eagles wanted him badly in '86.. The Browns wanted him when Schottenheimer left.. The Bucs wanted him a few times.. The Giants wanted him twice (Before Parcells and before Ray Handley) Hell even the New Jersey Generals of the USFL wanted him. Each was willing to pay him more than Miami was paying, but Don stuck with Miami because "He wanted to finish his coaching career as a Dolphin". I still think him getting run so Jimmy Johnson could come in was one of the worst, most classless acts Wayne Huizenga could possibly have done.. Sure Shula was given a nice going away party, but even there he had Jimmy Johnson over his shoulder (Johnson was in attendance). That one sorta reminds me of a couple who is married for 50 years, have the husband leave the loyal wife for a younger, more attractive prize then the Husband throwing his wife a going away party and making out with the new girlfriend at the party in the wife's view..

Anyhow Im out
 

miadphan13

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Re: All I've got to say.............

Originally posted by aqua&orange54
is that Don Shula is the man. He's one of the greatest, if not the greatest coach in NFL history. I've still got some hatred towards Wayne for the way that Don was treated. Don's track record and class demanded a much different outcome than the one which was dealt to him.


:monkey: Wayne Huizenga's treatment of Don Shula:fire:

I totally agree! :evil:
 

dolfan06

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i think the biggest rap..........

that shula got was , "the game had passed him by". yes and no, yes, he couldn't hold on to players like he used to, and mold them into what he wanted. remember, the fins were a running team and when the fins got marino, he turned the line into pass blocking fools. and no, i don't think the game had passed him by, i think it would have taken a few years getting used to players jumping from one team to the next, but i believe he knew just as much about football as he ever did, and HE COULD HAVE PUT THIS TEAM IN THE SUPER BOWL!:D and i also think he could have held on to marino for a couple more years!;)
 

inFINSible

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I know this is off point but, what good would holding onto Marino for a couple of more years have done? He was a statue when he retired, he would have been hobbled had he continued to play. 17 seasons was more than enough for Dan. Does any body remember the 8 picks he threw that were returned for TDs, in his last year? Marino was one of the greatest QBs in the history of the game but when he left, it was time for him to go.
It's not so clear when it comes to Shula. The team made a bad decision about free agency and decided to try the "buy 'em all" plan and found out what a bust that theory turns out to be. Shula took the blame for the collapse of all the high priced free agents' and was forced out. FORCED out. Now that everyone in the NFL knows that that is not the way to play the FA game, we all see that Shula got the shaft. Maybe the game hadn't passed him by like everyone thought. He was definately not accorded the respect that he deserved. There will never be another coach associated so closely with a single team as Shula was with the Dolphins. The game didn't pass him, he surpassed the game.
 

dolfan06

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inFINS.............

i don't mean marino should have stayed as a starter, but as a teacher. teach jay what he knew!:D
 

dolphan39

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anyone that remembers 1995 must remember wanting Shula out of there. Personally I think, Shula's career was never that exceptional after we lost the AFC Championship game to NE in 1985 when we should have easily beaten NE in Miami.

for every bad move JJ made on O, Shula made twice as mnay (given that he had a much longer rein to do it during) on D: John Bosa, Eric Kumerow, Jackie Shipp.

I love Shula for what he did for the team, but he had the same problems JJ and Wanne have had since the 80's - getting a team that can play on both sides of the ball.
 

Phinmaster1354

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Shula's mistake in the early 90's and til the end of his rein was his defensive coordinator Tom Olivadotti. Does anyone remember that PUD? He was one of the WORST coaches I have ever seen!! He could NEVER make adjustments, especially against the BILLS!The BILLS OWNED him and the Dolphins D wasn't great but they were adequate. You are talking about Offerdahl,Cox,Coleman,Vincent,Oliver,Williams etc. They weren't a bad unit they were never prepared. I remember one Monday night game and they couldn't get the right package on the field!! Oliadotti was a TURD!!
 
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