SI NOW

August 17, 2015

DON SHULA From Canton the legendary coach answers a question from Dolphins fan Michael Vandermark about his best quarterback and chats with SI senior writer Don Banks about his 33-year Hall of Fame career.

MICHAEL VANDERMARK: Coach Shula, who was the best quarterback you ever coached?

DON SHULA: That's such a tough question because the way that I answer it is a combination of several of them. You know I had [Johnny] Unitas who was tough mentally and physically. [He'd] wait and hang on [to the ball] and take a hit. And then I had [Bob] Griese who was a coach's—a thinking man's—quarterback. Then I had Earl Morrall who was a guy who, no matter what the situation, would always go out and perform. And then there was the best arm ever, [Dan] Marino. He was just unbelievable the way that he could throw the football.

DON BANKS: [You coached] 33 seasons with the Colts and the Dolphins. What was the key to that longevity?

DS: I just enjoyed my work, enjoyed doing what I was asked to do: you know, the relationship with the players, the assistant coaches, the fans. Everything that was thrown into the mix I enjoyed. I never regretted getting up in the morning and going to work.

DB: The fact that you had a team knocking on that door year after year after year, is that more meaningful than people realize?

DS: It was very meaningful because that's why you're in the business. You want to take your team to the big game, and you not only want to take them there, but you want to win it all. I won it a couple of times [1972 and '73], but there were a couple of times we were there and didn't win and that just makes you want to win more the next time.

For more of Shula's interview, plus the SI Now archive, go to SI.com/sinow

"And then there was the best arm ever, Marino. He was just unbelievable."

—Don Shula

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PHOTONEIL LEIFER FOR SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (SHULA) PHOTORONDA CHURCHILL/AP (HAMMON) PHOTOAL TIELEMANS FOR SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (BARRETT) PHOTOROBERT BECK FOR SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (JONES) PHOTOJOHN IACONO FOR SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (KELLY) TWO PHOTOS

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