How the Miami Dolphins put the county on the sporting map
Don Shula Former Head Coach – Miami Dolphins
What are the main accomplishments in your career that you are most proud of? What do you want to be your legacy for the Miami Dolphins?
I’m proud of my two Super Bowl championships, including the 1972 “Perfect Season” Dolphins team, especially since no other team has gone undefeated in the history of the NFL. I’m also proud of winning more games than any coach in the league, because that’s a reflection of the quality of the players and coaches I worked with. The result of that success has made the Dolphins one of the flagship teams in the league, and I’m especially proud that goal was achieved by doing things the right way with hard work, professionalism, and integrity.
What role do professional sports play in helping Miami develop into a sophisticated global city?
We were the first professional team in South Florida, and I’d like to believe that our success helped bring all the different elements of the region together. For the many people here who rooted for us, regardless of their gender, age, income or any other difference, they all had one thing in common – they were all Dolphins fans. I think that common bond helped the city grow and become major league in so many ways.
What are your views on Coach Adam Gase and the current direction of the team?
Coach Gase is an outstanding coach and a great person, and it’s no surprise to me that his team did so well in 2016/2017. Coach Gase, his coaches and players were able to build a winning culture that will be a key to their future success. But that turnaround is also as a result of the leadership of the franchise, headed by Steve Ross, Mike Tannenbaum, Chris Grier, Coach Gase and Tom Garfinkel. They are totally unified in their goal of building a long-term winning team in Miami, and I think you saw the initial result of that philosophy this past season. They’ve been very welcoming every time I’ve been around them, and they’ve made everyone associated with the Dolphins feel like they are all part of the same family. That’s certainly a great foundation to build a successful team.
What impact has the current Miami Dolphins team had on Miami’s overall reputation?
I think the fact that our initial success came at the same time as the rejuvenation of Miami goes hand-in-hand. We helped shine a spotlight on the region, and that exposure helped show many of the great qualities of the city that makes it such an attractive place to work and live. With the Dolphins playing well again and bringing a sense of excitement throughout South Florida, it will add yet another positive characteristic to such a vibrant region.