Why was Don Shula so successful?
347 wins in his career and 328 wins in the regular season make Shula the NFL’s most successful head coach in terms of wins. He was the head coach of the Baltimore Colts for seven seasons before moving on to the Dolphins, where he remained for the remainder of his coaching career.
Shula led the Dolphins to two consecutive Super Bowl victories in Super Bowl VII and Super Bowl VIII during his 33-year coaching career.
When he won his first Super Bowl in 1972, Shula had a winning record against almost every coach he faced, with the notable exceptions of Levy, John Madden, and Bill Cowher. Shula had a total of 3–4 against each of these men, but he had a winning record of 2–2 in the regular season and 0–3 in the playoffs for a total of 3–4.
With the Dolphins and Indianapolis Colts, Shula was the first head coach to appear in six Super Bowls. Among head coaches, his six appearances in the Super Bowl rank second, and he has lost four of them.
His three Super Bowl appearances with the Miami Dolphins from 1971 to 1973 made him the only coach in NFL history to lead two different teams to the championship game. Shula is the only head coach to lead two teams to their first Super Bowl appearance, having led Baltimore to Super Bowl III and Miami to Super Bowl VI.
In 1997, he was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame and has been a member ever since.