Don Shula is a famous coach. He holds the all time record for most wins by a head coach. Longevity has its rewards, especially if you can string together 30+ years of nine and ten win seasons. He won two Super Bowls with the Dolphins. But let us take a look at his other not so notable acchievements:
1. 1964. Shula's Colts finished 12-2 and played the Cleveland Browns in Cleveland for the NFL Championship. The Colts were favored. They lost 27-0.
2. 1965. The Colts and Packers ended the season tied for the Western Division lead. The Packers beat the Colts twice in the regular season. The league rules did not recognize tie breakers, etc. so a playoff was necessary. The Packers won 13-10 in overtime. The Colts led 10-0 at halftime, Tom Matte had to play quarterback in place of an injured Unitas. Zeke Bratkowski played in place of Bart Starr. Without Unitas, the Colts should have been blown out.
3. 1967. The Colts go into the final game of the season against the Rams with an 11-0-2 record. They lose 34-10 and miss the playoffs.
3. 1969. Super Bowl. Shula's Colts were an 18 point favorite against the Jets. They lost 16-7 in a game as boring as it was significant.
4. 1972. Super Bowl. The Cowboys beat the Dolphins 27-3. The Dolphins never had a chance or should they have.
5. 1983. Super Bowl. The Dolphins lose to the Redskins 27-17.
6. 1985. Super Bowl. The Dolphins lose to the 49ers 38-16.
Shula's Dolphins also lost two AFC championship games, each to the Patriots and to the Bills. Shula's championship game record is 2-5, in addition to losing some important games that could have gotten his team to the Super Bowl. He is the only coach to ever have an undefeated season. That accomplishment has immunized him from future criticism of his record. I would rank him as one of better NFL coaches but certainly not the best.