Bud Grant: NFL should name a trophy for Don Shula

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The never ending NFL news cycle careens from one item to the next, often with specific stories not getting the attention they deserve before yielding to the next one.

The passing earlier this month of Hall of Fame head coach Don Shula is one of those stories that perhaps didn’t get the full attention it should have because there’s always something else coming along that pushes a headline down the stack.

So let’s hit rewind and point out recent comments from fellow Hall of Fame coach Bud Grant. Appearing with Hall of Fame quarterback Fran Tarkenton and Paul Allen on KFAN, Grant made an important suggestion regarding the man who beat Grant in Super Bowl VIII.

“They should have a trophy for Shula,” Grant said. “I mean, they got the Lombardi Trophy, which I don’t think — I’m not a big fan of Vince’s. He’s a great coach, but I think he did nothing near what Shula has done in the coaching field in the NFL. I think they should have some kind of a trophy, some kind of a recognition for Don Shula for the job that he did in the many years that he was in the NFL.”

Tarkenton agreed, pointing to among other things the undefeated season of 1972.

“He almost didn’t have an undefeated season,” Grant said. “He beat us in Minnesota. I think it was 16-14 or 18-16 or something like that. [Bob] Lurtsema got a penalty at the end that allowed them to . . . beat us.”

The final score was indeed 16-14, and the Vikings led by eight with fewer than five minutes to play. A 51-yard field goal from Garo Yepremian cut the score to 14-9 with 4:15 to go, and the Lurtesma penalty for roughing the passer fueled what became the game-winning touchdown drive.

That was the worst call ever,” Lurtsema said in 2019. “Without that, they wouldn’t have made history. I’ve told [Griese] that before, ‘I never roughed you, you faker.’ . . . I turned around to watch the ball and Griese made a fake fall. I never touched him. He had brushed into me. When I saw the flag, I thought maybe it was holding on Miami.”

It was only the third game of the year, long before the Dolphins were in the final stages of the chase for perfection. But the Vikings and Grant could have derailed 17-0 before it became 3-0.

Regardless, Grant’s point is a good one: The league needs a permanent honor for Don Shula. Whether it’s naming the coach of the year award after Shula or creating a trophy for the best regular-season team in each conference (Don Shula AFC, Tom Landry NFC), the league should consider a way to give Shula the credit he deserves.

Ditto for the Dolphins. As we’ve previously written, the Miami uniform should include a perpetual honor to Don Shula, like the George Halas initials on the sleeve of the Bears’ jersey and the Al Davis stick on the back of the Raiders’ helmet.

60 responses to “Bud Grant: NFL should name a trophy for Don Shula

  1. I do think that the NFL should recognize Shula by naming an award after him.

    But Grants comment ““They should have a trophy for Shula,” Grant said. “I mean, they got the Lombardi Trophy, which I don’t think — I’m not a big fan of Vince’s. He’s a great coach, but…”

    There are only two NFL coaches (both Green Bay Packer coaches) who ever won three NFL championships in a row – Lombardi won NFL Championships three years in a row (1965, 1966, 1967) and the other was Curly Lambeau (1929, 1930, 1931).

    And that is why Lambeau and Lombardi have statues outside of Lambeau Field.

  2. For all these years, I have wondered if anyone else saw an undetected penalty on Miami in the Steelers game. A WR broke in forward motion and was 2-3 yards offside when ball was snapped. Result of the play was a completed passs to extend the drive to TD. And, I think, that was a gift to Dolphins (unintended) to win the game.

    I love the idea of a trophy for Shula, especially with Grant indicating a comparison to Lombardi should make it mandatory.

  3. This story is juicy!

    Mostly, I want to know why Bud Grant isnt a fan of Lombardi. I’ve never heard someone say something like that about Lombardi, and Grant usually isnt a contentious guy, there has to be something behind that.

    And the roughing penalty, thats the first time Ive heard of that too. Has griese ever said anything about that?

  4. Stunning that Grant thinks Shula should have a trophy because he was critical of Shula on more than a few occasions when both were still coaching.

  5. Packer fan here who also always respected Bud Grant–even though he did not like Lombardi. Respected the Vikings when they played outdoors in real purple (not the lavender on astroturf).

    I re-read a story recently that confirmed that Shula and his wife were ready to move to Green Bay and fully expected an offer from the Packers after the Colts fired him. The Packers backed off and stayed with their defensive coordinator Phil Bengston to succeed Lombardi. Ouch!

    Can you imagine going from Lombardi to Shula? That would have likely led to more titles than the Favre-Rodgers succession (though I’m not whining about that good fortune).

    Coach Grant is right about honoring Coach Shula.

  6. “I mean, they got the Lombardi Trophy, which I don’t think — I’m not a big fan of Vince’s. He’s a great coach, but I think he did nothing near what Shula has done in the coaching field in the NFL.”
    ————————

    That’s rich. So turning around a moribund franchise in the smallest city in the NFL to win 5 championships over 7 years apparently isn’t much of an accomplishment? If you can’t beat him (or win a championship on your own), might as well slander him I guess? Read one of the dozens of books written about Lombardi – he set the standard for coaching in the NFL and was an excellent and revered leader of men.

  7. Whatever, as long as we all agree the “Coach of the Year” trophy should be renamed for Bill Belichick.

  8. Not sure if all the games are available online but I would love (at hate) to watch them again. I know they got a phantom PI call in the 4th quarter in a game they won 24-23 against Buffalo. Interesting to look at the games again and see if some games were gifted to them and if so how many. I am not talking like oh that was close. I am talking wow they called that a penalty or wow that was a catch kind of thing. If they are that great of a team people should not be concerned to go back and check but about the legacy if they had 2 or 3 games gifted to them. To be honest too you can’t really have an opinion on it like oh that wouldn’t matter anyway because you would have to see if it happened and how bad it was. Maybe the evidence would be so obvious that even the casual fan might go. Wow ! I might even see the PI I mentioned and think oh that wasn’t too bad. But until you actually see it again you don’t know

  9. The losing team in the Super Bowl should win the Bud Grant trophy. It makes perfect sense.

  10. 66ray66 says:
    May 21, 2020 at 10:50 am
    I do think that the NFL should recognize Shula by naming an award after him.

    But Grants comment ““They should have a trophy for Shula,” Grant said. “I mean, they got the Lombardi Trophy, which I don’t think — I’m not a big fan of Vince’s. He’s a great coach, but…”

    There are only two NFL coaches (both Green Bay Packer coaches) who ever won three NFL championships in a row – Lombardi won NFL Championships three years in a row (1965, 1966, 1967) and the other was Curly Lambeau (1929, 1930, 1931).

    And that is why Lambeau and Lombardi have statues outside of Lambeau Field

    @@@@@@222

    Many stadiums have statues s of players and coaches outside their stadium’s

  11. Tom Landry did more than Lombardi as well. He was an actual innovator. Matter of fact, Tom Landry and Paul Brown did more for the evolution of the game than any other coach.

  12. Coach of the year should be Belichick, when he retires. First place in the conference is now the only bye, they don’t need a meaningless piece of hardware. Maybe we could create the Don Shula Get Off My Lawn Trophy. Awarded annually to the retired NFL figure with the worst take about the current state of the game, players, or coaching. Although, to be fair, it really should be the Bill Polian I Was Right All Along Trophy.

  13. joker65 says:
    May 21, 2020 at 10:51 am

    This story is juicy!

    Mostly, I want to know why Bud Grant isnt a fan of Lombardi. I’ve never heard someone say something like that about Lombardi, and Grant usually isnt a contentious guy, there has to be something behind that.
    =========================================================
    My understanding is that Lombardi and Grant crossed paths when Grant was still coaching in the CFL, and Lombardi was attempting to get players from Grant’s team, and Grant essentially told him that he wasn’t Lombardi’s farm system. They only coached against each other in the NFL in 1967; Grant’s first year as Viking HC was Lombardi’s last as Packer HC.

  14. I have great respect for Lombardi and Shula, but there has been four other coaches who deserve it more; Walsh, Landry, Noll and Bellichick. I’m not a SF fan, but I’d name the trophy after Walsh. His innovations changed the game forever.

  15. I nominate Bud Grant and Marv Levy for the CWBO trophy (Can’t Win the Big One), they are clearly the two best.

  16. Slippery slope, folks. Be careful what you wish for, or someone will be taking home the Jerry Jones trophy someday

  17. Bud’s long time assistant and future Viking Coach Jerry Burns invented the west coast offense before it was called the west coast offense…Walsh just got credit for copying it and naming it.

  18. Wow, Bud’s crying tears as big as apples, I see.
    It’s obvious that whining about officiating goes back a long way in Loserville.
    So this is why their fan base is so proficient at it.
    Well practiced.
    skoLOL!!!

  19. 15class says:
    May 21, 2020 at 11:00 am

    Can you imagine going from Lombardi to Shula? That would have likely led to more titles than the Favre-Rodgers succession (though I’m not whining about that good fortune).

    —-

    You mean the two SB rings in an almost 30 year span with those two QBs? Only an inept organization does that. Most NFL teams would have figured out how to get more out of those two. GB has been a cesspool of mediocrity for decades, and it only gets worse from here on out with the looming Love era.

  20. I love Shula and I agree that he is more deserving than Lombardi, but I don’t think either of them are as deserving as Paul Brown. Most people involved in football say that he was the most influential in making the game what it is and he was extremely successful.

  21. flviking says:

    Many stadiums have statues s of players and coaches outside their stadium’s
    ———————————

    But no other stadium has two statues of coaches who won a three-peat, let alone one.

  22. You lose all credibility when you try to take away from Lombardi. He didn’t just set the standard for coaching NFL teams but coaching in general. Coaches from all sports look up to what he accomplished. You don’t have to take away from one to praise the other. I think making coach of the year after Shula would be a great idea.

  23. There are only two NFL coaches (both Green Bay Packer coaches) who ever won three NFL championships in a row – Lombardi won NFL Championships three years in a row (1965, 1966, 1967) and the other was Curly Lambeau (1929, 1930, 1931).
    ========================================================
    Oh now, now we can’t mention any Championships won before 1966 because they don’t really exist since the games weren’t called “Super Bowls.” What crap.

  24. “I’m not a big fan of Vince’s…”

    Vince Lombardi’s record vs. the Minnesota Vikings: 11-3.

    Bitter? Party of one? Bitter… party of one??!!

  25. I mean, they got the Lombardi Trophy, which I don’t think — I’m not a big fan of Vince’s. He’s a great coach, but I think he did nothing

    I love you coach!

  26. Frazier28/7 says:
    May 21, 2020 at 2:15 pm
    I mean, they got the Lombardi Trophy, which I don’t think — I’m not a big fan of Vince’s. He’s a great coach, but I think he did nothing

    I love you coach!
    Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    Maybe they should have a second-place trophy for the SuperBowl loser, The Grant Trophy. What do you think?

  27. I think Grant is saying Shula because of longevity. Unfortunately, Lombardi didn’t get a long run with the Redskins, so that act is mostly forgotten.

  28. hobbstweedle says:
    May 21, 2020 at 2:13 pm

    “I’m not a big fan of Vince’s…”

    Vince Lombardi’s record vs. the Minnesota Vikings: 11-3.
    ===========================================================
    Reality check: Bud Grant’s record against Lombardi: 1-1. They only coached against each other in 1967.

  29. Curly Lambeau NFL champs (1929, 1930, 1931)/////

    These “Championships” were before teams had playoffs. Not really in the same category as players & coaches that actually had to win playoff games for their championships. Also how many teams 8 in 1929. Come on, have some perspective here that was beer league quality stuff.

  30. While Jerry Burns did use a short passes game in offense. He used his backs a lot as well. I think Jerry got thatt from Paul Brown and expanded on it. Paul Brown’s innovations created the modern game of football. Walsh just had a better PR man.

  31. aypeeswhippingstick says:
    May 21, 2020 at 11:16 am

    The losing team in the Super Bowl should win the Bud Grant trophy. ////

    I know you thought you were clever here but they don’t give out trophy’s to the losing team. Fail.

  32. conormacleod says:
    May 21, 2020 at 12:19 pm

    This is fun. It makes Packer fans angry, and also Patriots fans.
    _________

    Are you serious? Why?
    Do you honestly think any real Packer fans care what Bud Grant thinks about Vince Lombardi?

    Look, I have the upmost respect for Bud Grant, I really do.
    I love his old school mentality and grit, but I do fear he may be getting senile in his old age. Or is it just stubborn anger?

    Vince Lombardi took a dismal 1-10-1 Packer team and turned them into a perennial powerhouse throughout the ‘60s, going 89-29-4, collecting 5 championships in seven seasons, his legacy is secure.
    And it’s quite understandable why the Powers That Be bestowed his name upon the Championship trophy.

    Bud, he’s always going to be known as the coach that couldn’t quite close the deal.
    In an era without free agency and very little player movement, a roster littered with Hall of Famers all over the defense, and a QB too, Bud has gone down in history as probably one of the biggest chokers in NFL history.

    Much like the Viking fans, I completely understand his bitterness, but as usual, the finger pointing is misplaced.

  33. From 1963-67 Don Shula led the Baltimore Colts to a 50-17-3 record.

    The Colts went 3-6 against Lombardi’s Packers (50-16-4) in the regular season and lost their only playoff matchup.

  34. Yes, Lombardi won football championships, but Bud, unlike Lombardi is a champion in life. And a nice person. I’ll take Bud’s life over Lombardi’s any day….SKOL

  35. I know you thought you were clever here but they don’t give out trophy’s to the losing team.

    +++++

    The losing team has already won either the George Halas or the Lamar Hunt trophy. So….

  36. Definitely agree, and definitely agree as to his initials or something on Dolphin uniforms.

    As for Lurtsema’s statement…well, if Griese did in fact fake the call, then he had some “kharma” coming to him…in week 5 against the Chargers. So then Morall comes in and guides the team to 14-0 and then Griese comes in with Fins down against Steelers in AFC Champ game. The rest is history.

    What will really get interesting is a trophy honoring Belichick at some point…or will BB get the Shula trophy when it’s well known Shula called him “Beli-cheat”?

  37. Yeah, the one thing missing from the NFL is a trophy named after a dead white guy.~

  38. May 21, 2020 at 3:46 pm
    Yes, Lombardi won football championships, but Bud, unlike Lombardi is a champion in life. And a nice person. I’ll take Bud’s life over Lombardi’s any day….SKOL
    Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    So, in other words someone suggested you get a life and you’re still looking. Gotcha.

  39. fmc651 says:
    May 21, 2020 at 3:12 pm
    aypeeswhippingstick says:
    May 21, 2020 at 11:16 am

    The losing team in the Super Bowl should win the Bud Grant trophy. ////

    I know you thought you were clever here but they don’t give out trophy’s to the losing team. Fail.

    I’m clever enough to know how trophies is spelled and, because you’re a Viking fan, I know you’re clever enough to know what Fail really means.

  40. Grant is a legend and a sportsman and still competitive, apparently. He was only 34 years old when the Vikings came into the league. He’s on the front end of nearly three generations of losing. In his heart he’s no different than the legions of Viking fans that have been frustrated by the success of the Packers, many for their entire lives. That’s a shame, especially when he only “missed it by this much!”

  41. The Hunt & Halas trophy goes to the team that wins the Conference, not the team that loses in the Super Bowl. One of the those teams win the SB trophy & Conference championship trophy every year.
    The Vikings have the sixth-highest regular-season winning percentage in modern NFL history, ahead of teams like the Ravens, packers, Patriots and Colts. Throw in 13 Hall of Famers and they fare pretty well for a franchise that hasn’t won a Super Bowl. The Vikings have finished last fewer times than the packers in the division. The Vikings have won more division titles than the packers. So much for your false narrative of 3 generations of losing.The Vikings are the only NFL team to play for in a Championship game in the ’60’s,’70’s,80’s,’90’s,’00’s,’10’s.

  42. Former Vikings coach Bud Grant on facing Lombardi: “Okay, well, Lombardi and I didn’t get along. He’s a tyrant, and he coached that way. Great coach, but he coached with fear, and he treated everybody—whether you’re the president or the secretary of the club—with bombastic fear. I had three occasions where I dealt with Lombardi. So my first year with the Vikings, the first game I ever won as an NFL coach, was against the defending champion Packers in Milwaukee. We beat them in a very close game, and I think we only threw for about 80 yards, played good defense, ran the ball, got a couple breaks and won. After the game we’re walking off the field. I’ve always shaken hands after games, but your heart’s not in it. It’s a ceremony. So I put my hand out, and he wouldn’t even shake hands with me. And that was the last time I ever talked to him.”

  43. Kansas City will riot if the AFC championship trophy is renamed for someone who was born, raised and lived mostly in Dallas.

    The AP Coach of the Year should be renamed the Don Shula Memorial Trophy. There, simple.

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