We lost a legend this week, Don Shula, the winningest coach in NFL history. Here's what I remember about Don Shula in the early 80s. I was a rookie beat writer covering the Miami Dolphins and Don Shula treated me like gold. I think about Shula now as Major League Baseball de-emphasizes the role of experience in the job of manager.
Ten years ago, the average big league manager had an average of 11.3 years of managing experience. This year, it's almost half of that, 6.8 years of experience. In the last five years alone 17 of the 30 jobs have turned over, more than half the managing jobs in baseball.
The longest tenured manager with one team in the National League is Craig Counsell of Milwaukee, who still looks like he might be carded. Don Shula is definitely on the Mount Rushmore of NFL head coaches. Conveniently only four won two-hundred fifty games and multiple championships. Shula, George Halas, Bill Belichick and Tom Landry.
Who would be on the Mount Rushmore of MLB managers? Conveniently, only four have at least two thousand wins and at least four World Series championships. Connie Mack, Joe Torre, Joe McCarthy and Walter Alston. Impressive numbers by all, but what impressed me most about Don Shula was the way he treated everybody.
Don Shula was 90 years old.
MORE From Tom Verducci's SI Insider: