On the Tunney Side of the Street 39

by Jim Tunney

 After Further Review ...

             "Records are made to be broken" goes the old saw.  In the NFL, quarterbacks continue to re-establish passing records.  In the coaching ranks, records seem to vanish in today's game.  Except one!

            DON SHULA'S 347 NFL VICTORIES.  It'll never be broken.  Shula was a Head Coach in the NFL for 33 years.  While it is possible, it is highly unlikely in today's NFL coaching climate. 

            Shula didn't start out in his coaching career to be that "winningest Coach," he started with just winning his next game.  His first victory as head coach was with the Baltimore Colts in 1963.  However, in 1965, he lost an NFL playoff game to Vince Lombardi's Green Bay Packers. Legend has it that he lost that game because of an official's blown call.   The jury's still out. 

            However, the Green Bay loss was not the hardest lost to take.  In Super Bowl III, the NFL Colts - Shula as coach, Johnny Unitas as quarterback -- were heavy favorites to beat the AFL's New York Jets with Joe Namath as quarterback.  The AFL, at that time, was perceived to be in the shadow of the almighty NFL.  Namath brazenly, and correctly, picked his Jets to beat the Colts, who were double-digit favorites.  This was a huge setback for Coach Shula. 

            When Shula moved on to coach the Miami Dolphins in 1970, it took him only his second season (1971) to take the Dolphins to the Super Bowl (Super Bowl VI vs. the Dallas Cowboys).  The Dolphins had a well balanced offense with quarterback Bob Griese, wide receivers Paul Warfield and Howard Twilley, and running backs Larry Czonka and Jim Kiick.  The Cowboys, however, prevailed beating the Dolphins 24-3.

            That loss inspired Shula -as legend has it - to give this post-game speech to his defeated Dolphins:  "Gentlemen," said Shula in the locker room after the game, "Today we start next season to play in and win Super Bowl VII."  The Dolphins not only DID play in Super Bowl VII and not only did defeat the Washington Redskins, but set an undefeated season record of 17 wins and no losses - still a record today.   Shula coached teams played in 6 Super Bowls (a record) and won 2 - VII and VIII.

            The winningest NFL Coach Shula will be honored at SportsNight on June 14, 2010, at the Hyatt Regency in Monterey, California.  This dinner event, sponsored by the Jim Tunney Youth Foundation, is open to the public.  Please call 831-649-3200 or email sportsnight2010@att.net to find out how you can spend the evening with Coach Shula.

Will you bounce back as Coach Shula has done?

To learn more about Jim Tunney, or if your organization would like to secure Jim as a speaker, please visit www.tunneysideofsports.com and click on Jim Tunney www.twitter.com/jimtunney.