Saturday, July 21, 2012
Legends & Legacies: Don Shula: The NFL's All Time Winningest Head Coach is Profiled
When I think of great NFL Head Coaches, I think of Coaches who first understand both side of the ball. Who know what they want to do on both sides of the ball and who know what type of players they need to play their style of football on both sides of the ball. Another words Head Coaches who know what they want to do on both offense and defense and then get themselves the players to play that offense and defense. People like Tom Landry, Chuck Knoll, Vince Lombardi and many others thats one way how I judge whether a Head Coach is great or not. Another way I judge them is how well they do with the players that they have, this is the team that I have and now I have to find a system on offense and defense. That will best maximize the talent that I have, so we can be as successful as we can. Another words Head Coaches that are successful as possible with the available talent that they have. Thats where Don Shula fits in, I don't believe he ever had a set philosophy on what type of team that he wanted on both offense and defense. But this is the players that I have and this how we need to play on both offense and defense to be as successful as we can. And if we are not good enough, I need to get the best available players in the future, to make us as good as we need to be.
The best examples of this how it relates to Don Shula, is that when he was with the Baltimore Colts. He basically had a complete team on both sides of the ball, including the best Quarterback in the NFL at the time and I would argue of all time in John Unitas. Which meant that he could basically do anything he wanted on both offense and defense. When he was with the Miami Dolphins in the 1970s, his talent was more limited but he got more out of it, because he matured as a Head Coach. But also learned that he had a very solid team, with a great defense but that had to play a certain style of football in order to be successful. That his team had to be about defense and running the football and hitting key passes to in the passing game. Off of Play Action, play Ball Control Offense and allow their defense to set up good Field Position. When he was with the Dolphins in the 1980s, he knew he had a pass first offense and whatever running game he got out of that, was based off of the pass. So thats how they played.
The way to look at Don Shula is not as a visionary, this is what I want to do and this is where I want to take the game offensively and defensively. But the best way to look at Don Shula is as a Manager, a Manager of men, this is what I have to work with and this is how we should play on both offense and defense. To make this team as successful as we can and as a Manager I believe Don Shula was the best the NFL has ever seen.