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Late Shula earned his place on the NFL's Mount Rushmore

 

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Don Shula

Don Shula

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Don Shula

Don Shula carved his place onto the Mount Rushmore of NFL coaches over the course of a glittering coaching career that encompassed two Super Bowl wins, a record 347 victories and the only unbeaten season in history.

Shula, who died yesterday aged 90, took over a fledgling Miami Dolphins in 1970 and turned them into a dynasty, reaching three consecutive Super Bowls in the 1971, 1972 and 1973 seasons.

But it was the achievements of his 1972 side that ensured Shula's place in the pantheon, his team finishing the regular season with a perfect 14-0 record before three play-off wins left them on 17-0.

That season of invincibility has become the benchmark against which all dominant NFL sides measure themselves. Only Bill Belichick's 2007 New England Patriots, who completed a 16-0 regular season but lost the Super Bowl to the New York Giants, have come close.

It was Shula's wins and losses column that gave him most satisfaction in his later years.

"The 347 wins is the thing I'm most proud of," Shula said in 2013. "Nobody's even close to it."

George Halas, the legendary Chicago Bears coach, is second on 324.

Belichick has come up strongly on the rails, with 304 to date.

Belfast Telegraph