Legendary Dolphins head coach Don Shula passed away Monday morning at the age of 90. In one of his most recent interviews, he sat down with the MMQB and touched on a wide variety of topics, from his favorite players, his favorite play, his personal life, and bouncing back from the most painful loss of his career.
Here were some of the statements that stood out:
• About Hall of Fame quarterback Bob Griese: "He was a field general, a thinking man's quarterback. If we threw it eight or 10 times in a game, that was a lot. "
• About Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino: When we got Marino, we handed it off occasionally, but he wanted to throw it on every down. When I talk about Marino, I always talk about him in my mind as the best pure passer to ever play the game."
• About landing Marino in the 1983 draft with the 27th overall pick: " We had (John) Elway rated number 1 and we had Marino and Jim Kelly 2, 3 or 3, 2. Marino keeps sliding down and we can’t figure out what’s going on. We were going to take a defensive lineman and Marino was on the board, so I said, 'We’re taking Marino.' "
• About his favorite play: " If I had to pick one play, I think my favorite play would be a simple handoff to a big bruising fullback by the name of Larry Csonka. I always knew that with the simple play, we weren’t going to fumble and he would get whatever yardage we needed to get a first down.
• About overcoming losing Super Bowl III as head coach of the Colts: "That’s funny how things like that lead to other things. When it happened, it was a disaster. We had won the first two Super Bowls, the old league had. This was the first time that a team from the new league beat an established team. That was hard to live with and overcome. People still occasionally bring it up. You gotta live with what the score was and make sure that you feel that there is more to learn. You’re always searching for more and better ways to do your job."
• About the end of Super Bowl VII and the blocking field goal that Washington returned for a touchdown: " If we kick a field goal, it’s going to be 17-0 in a 17-0 perfect season, and I said, boy, what a great way to remember this game and this year! So I send Garo in to kick the field goal. The rest is history. He screwed it up so bad. When he did that, he went off the end line in the end zone ... I haven’t seen him since.”
• About his proudest achievements: " The thing that you gotta be the most proud of is winning the most games and the perfect season and back-to-back Super Bowls. It didn't live with me. The games obviously were stressful, a lot of decision-maknig, but when it was over, it didn't take over my life. There’s things that happened but I was able to handle them and move on.”