In 1972, under the direction of American coach Don Shula, the Miami Dolphins became the first team in National Football League (NFL) history to finish the regular season undefeated, with 17 wins. In 1993 while still coaching the Dolphins, Shula became the winningest coach in NFL history.
Don Shula, born in 1930, American professional football coach and player, who in 1993 became the winningest coach in the history of the National Football League (NFL). During his career his teams earned 347 victories, including 328 in the regular season. Shula also won two Super Bowls (1973,1974) as coach of the Miami Dolphins, whom he guided from 1970 to 1995.
Born Donald Francis Shula in Grand River, Ohio, he attended John Carroll University in Cleveland, Ohio, where he played football. He subsequently played seven seasons in the NFL: He was signed by the Cleveland Browns in 1951 and after the 1952 season was traded to the Baltimore Colts, for whom he played from 1953 to 1956; he then played the 1957 season for the Washington Redskins before becoming a college football coach. Shula was hired as an assistant coach for the Detroit Lions in 1960 and in 1963 became head coach for the Colts. Although Shula had an outstanding record with the Colts (71 wins, 23 losses, and 4 ties), he did not win a championship, and in 1969 the Colts lost to the New York Jets of the American Football League (AFL) in the Super Bowl.
After the 1969 regular season, Shula accepted an offer to coach the Miami Dolphins of the AFL. The AFL and NFL merged in 1970, and under Shula's coaching the Dolphins reached the playoffs for the first time that year. The next year they captured the American Football Conference (AFC) championship but then lost the 1972 Super Bowl to the Dallas Cowboys. (The Super Bowl is played in January after the end of the regular season in December.) In the 1972 season the Dolphins became the first professional football team to complete a regular season undefeated (14 wins, no defeats). They then won two playoff games and defeated the Washington Redskins in the 1973 Super Bowl, finishing the season with a 17-0 win-loss record. The Dolphins won the Super Bowl again in 1974. In 1993 Shula broke the career record for most regular-season and playoff games won by an NFL coach, topping the mark of 324 set by George Halas. After the 1995 season Shula retired.
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