As the Dolphins’ Twitter account pointed out, today is the 44th anniversary of Miami’s hiring of Don Shula as head coach.
The Dolphins surrendered their 1971 first-round pick to Baltimore as compensation after being judged to have tampered with Shula in their quest to have him run a club that was a 3-10-1 in its last AFL season of 1969.
In the end, it was a small price to pay.
The Dolphins won 10 games in Shula’s first season of 1970. Two seasons later, they were a perfect 17-0 and captured Super Bowl VII.
Overall, Shula led the Dolphins to a 274-147-2 record (.651) in regular-season and postseason play in 26 seasons (1970-1995). The franchise captured its lone two Super Bowl victories in his tenure.
Since then, the Dolphins are 146-151 (.492). They have not advanced beyond the divisional round since 1992, and they have but three wild-card wins to their credit since Shula’s tenure ended.
The numbers can be viewed many ways. If you’re looking for a little sunshine on a cold day in February, look at it this way: 44 years ago today, the Dolphins absolutely nailed a major managerial decision, and think of it what did for the franchise for so many years. And if you’re really into positive thinking, look at this way: history suggests periods of great football success are possible.
But are they ever hard to attain.