Don Shula became the head coach of the Miami Dolphins in 1970 and lead the Miami Dolphins to 347 victories as head coach. Coach Shula lead the Dolphins to four Super Bowl’s and won two of them in 1972 and 1973 but lost to the Washington Redskins in Super Bowl XVII and lost to the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XIX. Shula only had two losing seasons in his 26 seasons in South Florida and lead the Dolphins to the only undefeated season in NFL history in 1972.
Don Shula coached Dolphins greats such as Bob Griese, Jim Kiick, Larry Little, Marry Fernandez, Nat Moore, Mercury Morris, Mark Clayton, Dick Anderson, Larry Csonka, Jim Langer, Mark Duper, Bob Kuechenberg, Paul Warfield, and Dan Marino. Shula spent his playing career for the Cleveland Browns from 1951-1952, Baltimore Colts 1953-1956, and finished his playing career with the Washington Redskins in 1957. Shula got his first coaching job in 1960 with the Detroit Lions as the defensive coordinator from 1960-1962 and got his first head coaching job with the Baltimore Colts from 1963-1969 with the Baltimore Colts before moving on to Miami in 1970.
After the family of the late Joe Robbie sold their share of the Miami Dolphins to Wayne Huizenga, his first mission was to retain the legend Don Shula after the 1995 season. Huizenga decided to bring in his coaching staff to South Florida, and it’s not that Jimmy Johnson was a bad hire or the worst coach for the Miami Dolphins it’s the fact that the management was ready for Dan Marino to retire and make Jay Fiedler the franchise quarterback of the Miami Dolphins. I believe that would have happened under Don Shula, but I guess as fans I probably would say after the 1995 season that after the Joe Robbie selling the Dolphins to Wayne Huizenga was the actual downfall of the Miami Dolphins even though there was not actually a losing season in the post-Shula-Marino era until 2004 the final season of the Dave Wannstedt era.
Personally, if you think about it, some Dolphins fans believe that the actual downfall came after the Dolphins suffered their worst loss in the franchise in the 1999 playoffs 62-7 to the Jacksonville Jaguars and shortly Dan Marino retired. After Marino retired Jay Fiedler took over as starting quarterback and the team remained talented as they also had a talented backfield with Ricky Williams and Lamar Smith, also the receiving corps was talented at the time. The defense was also solid and skilled with Jason Taylor, Zach Thomas, and former Florida Gator Channing Crowder.
After the Wannstedt era ended in the middle of the 2004 season, the Dolphins hired former LSU head coach Nick Saban, and he was coming off of a National Championship in the 2003 season with a victory over Oklahoma. Nick Saban only lasted two seasons in Miami and was not fired, but left Miami to take the head coaching job at Alabama, and the Dolphins would have to start all over again with a whole new head coaching search. The Dolphins would shortly turn to Cam Cameron, and that would make the Dolphins have second thoughts about the hire because the Dolphins only won one game during the 2007 season under Cameron.
After the 2007 season, the Dolphins would make a change in the football operations as former New York Giants, and Dallas Cowboys head coach Bill Parcells was brought in to take over as a football executive. Parcells would hire Tony Sparano for the 2008 season, during free agency the Dolphins would sign former New York Jets legend Chad Pennington to be the starting quarterback, and the Dolphins would draft Michigan quarterback Chad Henne to be the future franchise quarterback. The Dolphins would also draft offensive tackle Jake Long in the first round of the 2008 draft, and we all know how things would turn out with Long and Henne, for the future, and I guess it just was not meant to be.
Since Sparano was fired in the middle of the middle of the middle of the 2011 season, two more coaches came and went, and I believe it’s not that the Dolphins weren’t talented they were poorly coached. The decisions with the football staff were incompetent, and as loyal of a fan base the Dolphins have it seems like the front office cares more about making money for other teams. I still believe the Dolphins are talented, and they need to make a change with Ryan Tannehill on his future because it doesn’t just affect him, but it affects the outcome of the 2019 NFL draft because the Dolphins need to know what direction they need to go on drafting a young quarterback or not.
I do think if they decide to keep Ryan Tannehill, they can always draft an offensive lineman because there is never too many of those because you have to protect your quarterback and that has caused Tannehill’s problem with getting sacked, but the interceptions have been on him. I think if they were to move on from Tannehill and draft a quarterback, I think it should be Kyler Murray or if they sign a veteran quarterback, they should endorse Miami native Teddy Bridgewater. I feel as a fan and a writer whatever decision Chris Grier makes as a general manager there is always room for improvement, and I support the Dolphins no matter what.