On Monday, Pro Football Hall-of-Famer Don Shula passed away at age 90.
Shula remains the NFL's all-time winningest head coach, presiding over the Miami Dolphins for 26 years and producing the only undefeated season (17-0) in the history of the league in 1972. He led the Dolphins to five Super Bowls and won two World Championships back-to-back.
Following his passing, the Dolphins issued a statement, calling Shula “the patriarch of the Miami Dolphins for 50 years.”
A four-time AP Coach of the Year (1964, ’67, ’68, ’72) Shula won an NFL-record 347 games (including playoffs) as head coach of the Dolphins and Colts (Baltimore). He coached the Dolphins for two-and-a-half decades and the Colts (Baltimore) for seven years. When Shula retired from Miami in 1995, his NFL coaching experience totaled 33 years, compiling an overall coaching record of 347-173-6.
Hitting close to home, the Denver Broncos hired Don's son, Mike Shula, as the quarterbacks coach in January. In Denver, Shula has reunited with Pat Shurmur who accepted the offensive coordinator position offered to him by Vic Fangio. For the last two seasons, Shula was the OC of the New York Giants where Shurmur was head coach.
After being notified of Don Shula’s death, the Broncos publicly issued a statement to express their condolences.
The statement added, “Our hearts especially go out to his son, Broncos Quarterbacks Coach Mike Shula.”
After playing quarterback for the Alabama Crimson Tide in the late 1980s, Mike Shula decided to follow in his father’s footsteps of coaching. Mike began his career as an assistant coach for the Dolphins and Chicago Bears.
In 1996, Mike became OC for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers under Tony Dungy. Mike would later become the head coach of his alma-mater Alabama in the early 2000s, before returning to the NFL as an assistant coach for the San Diego Chargers and Jacksonville Jaguars. He was succeeded in Alabama by Nick Saban.
Mike's work ethic and offense have made him very well respected in the NFL coaching community. In 2019, he was praised for his instrumental influence on the success of Giants' rookie QB Daniel Jones. With Shula as OC, Jones threw for 3,027 yards and 24 touchdowns, completing 61.9% of his passes with 12 interceptions in 13 games (12 starts).
Before joining the Broncos, Shula competed against them in Super Bowl 50. Serving as the Carolina Panthers' OC, Mike empowered league MVP Cam Newton and the offense to average 31.3 points per game in 2015. In SB50, Shula’s No.1 scoring offense ultimately fell to the Broncos' smothering and devastating defense 24-10.
The loss of the legendary Don Shula hits close to home for many in Broncos Country. Some fans expressed their well-wishes and condolences on social media in support of the Shula family, specifically for Mike.
Former Broncos' QB Peyton Manning also issued a statement on Don Shula via the team’s website.
Manning concluded, "Coach Shula's philosophies and his coaching methods spread far and wide. He will be missed. His impact on the NFL and so many players is unmatched and legendary. May he rest in peace."