The Game before the Money Podcast’s weekly series, “Five Minutes of Football History” is posted on Tuesdays. We celebrate the life and career of legendary NFL coach Don Shula in this episode. Coach Shula passed away on May 4, 2020 at age 90.
Donald Francis Shula. Even his initials – DFS – almost look like a box score abbreviation for Dolphins. Shula is one of the few coaches to have his name synonymous with a team he coached.
Shula’s name is etched so deeply in Miami Dolphins lore that it’s easy to forget that he also coached another franchise to the Super Bowl. His personal history reads like the story a man destined for success crossed with a guy who needed some luck to overcome the odds.
Don Shula was born the son of a Hungarian immigrant who once made $9 a week (later $15 week). Shula remains the only person in the history of his high school to play in the NFL. He attended a tiny college that played home games in a high school stadium.
Yet one day – one college football game to be exact – opened an NFL locker room door to him and he never looked back. Don Shula had a great game in front of Cleveland Browns scouts during his team’s unlikely upset of Syracuse in 1950. The Browns drafted Don Shula in the 9th round of 1951 NFL Draft.
He made the team and studied football under Hall of Fame coach Paul Brown. Later, he played for Hall of Fame coach Weeb Ewbank. Those mentorships twisted Shula’s life-story plot toward a “Destined for Greatness” type storyline.
This “Five Minutes of Football History” podcast episode celebrates Don Shula’s life and career. There is no way to do that in five minutes so I’ll also post articles in our “Football Biographies” section.
The first post – covering Shula’s upbringing through his NFL playing days – can be found here.