Dolphins Will Honor Shula With Patch

Alain Poupart

The Miami Dolphins will be honoring the memory of legendary coach Don Shula during the 2020 season with a patch on their jersey.

The patch will feature the name Shula over the number 347.

Shula patch

The number, of course, represents the final number of victories in the brilliant coaching career of Shula, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1997, a little less than two years after he began his final season with the Dolphins.

“We are proud to continue honoring his historic life and legacy with a patch that is emblematic of his success on the football field as the winningest coach in our league’s history," owner Stephen Ross said.

This will be the first time in the Dolphins’ 54 seasons that a patch will be worn to honor an individual. In 2019, the team wore special helmet decals with the initials of Hall of Fame alumni who passed away, including linebacker Nick Buoniconti and center Jim Langer. The team had previously worn helmet stickers with their uniform numbers to honor the memories of active Dolphins players who had passed away, including running back David Overstreet (1984) and linebacker Larry Gordon (1983). The Dolphins wore a black armband on their jerseys with the initials “JR” in 1990 to honor the passing of team founder Joe Robbie.

Shula died May 4 at the age of 90, and the organization allowed fans three weeks later to drive by his status outside Hard Rock Stadium to pay their respects.

Shula coached the Dolphins from 1970 through 1995 and ended his legendary career with a recored of 347-173-6. He remained a Vice Chairman of the Dolphins organization until his death. A statue depicting Shula getting carried off the field after Super Bowl V was placed in 2010 in front of Hard Rock Stadium, whose corporate address is 347 Don Shula Drive.

Shula became head coach of the Dolphins on Feb. 18, 1970 after seven years coaching the Baltimore Colts.

He guided the Dolphins to their first playoff appearance in his first year and had them in the Super Bowl the following year. The Dolphins then won back-to-back Super Bowl titles in 1972-73, amassing a 32-2 record over that span. In 1972, the Dolphins went 14-0 in the regular season before defeating the Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC playoffs and then capping things off with a 14-7 victory against the Washington Redskins in Super Bowl VII.

Shula broke George Halas' all-time coaching victories record Nov. 14, 1993 when the Dolphins defeated the Philadelphia Eagles, 19-14, with current Eagles head coach Doug Pederson coming off the bench to play quarterback after starter Scott Mitchell was injured.

Shula is one of only six coaches in NFL history to have coached the same team for 20 or more consecutive seasons. Shula completed 26 seasons with the Dolphins. Green Bay’s Curley Lambeau (1921-49) and Dallas’ Tom Landry (1960-88) share the record with 29 seasons each; Pittsburgh’s Chuck Noll (1969-91) and the N.Y. Giants’ Steve Owen (1931-53) coached 23 years with their teams, and Bill Belichick just finished his 20th season with the New England Patriots. 

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