In case you haven’t been keeping up with the math, the all time coaches wins list currently stands like this:
1. Don Shula, 328
2. George Halas, 318
3. Bill Belichick, 273
Factor in the postseason, since Belichick has lapped the field with 31 wins (Tom Landry is second with 20) and it’s this:
1. Shula, 347 (19 postseason)
2. Belichick, 304 (31 postseason)
3. Halas, 324 (6 postseason)
And it’s obvious that Shula’s record, which seemed unobtainable since the day he ascended into Front Office Heaven in 1995, is living on borrowed time. Belichick needs just 55 regular season wins and 43 total wins to pass Shula on both counts.
So it’s only natural to assume the people with emotional ties to the godlike Shula and who let themselves be the tourists caught in the trap of his shitty, overpriced chain steakhouses for the last 25 years would at least wait until the record falls before getting all salty about it. Well you’d better think again.
Source – Winning is the only thing, we’ve been conditioned to believe, which would mean that to couple 348 wins by Belichick with his six Super Bowl rings is to squelch any argument in favor of Shula being the best ever.
But argue, I must. Argue, I will.
Argue, I do, in the name of integrity. Honesty. Valor. Class.
Let’s be honest. Bill Belichick is a coaching genius. A disciplinarian whose teams are never unprepared. A man who gets the most out of what he has. Cold, crusty and crabby.
Don Shula, in his prime, was all that.
Know what Shula wasn’t? A rule-breaker. Shula was, in fact, a rule-maker, sitting for years on the NFL’s Competition Committee with an eye toward making the game he loved better. When you think of him, you think 17-0. You think drill sergeant. You think of that stern jaw.
But you also think of doing it the right way.
When you think of Belichick? Maybe you think of the greatest dynasty the NFL has ever seen. Certainly if you’re among the entitled, thin-skinned and persecuted fan base in New England, that’s your point of reference.
But there’s a reason that what could have been a stupid mistake by a Patriots film crew this season has turned into Spygate 2.0. It’s that the Patriots have done nothing to deserve any benefit of doubt thanks to years of malfeasance and chicanery under Belichick’s watch. That’s why, when presented with the possibility that his old coach may be knocked from the No. 1 perch, defensive tackle Manny Fernandez of the championship Dolphins did not bite his tongue.
“You can’t stop it,” Fernandez said. “I just think it’s a shame that a guy who constantly gets caught cheating is even there because — I don’t know — his moral character leaves me kind of questioning.”
Contrast that reputation with what Larry Little, a Hall of Fame guard on Shula’s Super Bowl teams, said when asked if the same was ever suggested about Shula.
“Never,” Little said. “One time, I think we were playing the Raiders, we practiced at their facility. Someone (on the Raiders) left their game plan in the locker room and somebody gave it to Coach. (Shula’s response was), ‘No. We don’t do it that way.’
“He wouldn’t look at it. It would happen out there, on the field. That’s how Don was. Integrity. Yes, integrity.”
As long as that excerpt is, I could’ve left in a ton more. Except you could write it yourself. Spygate. Deflategate. Fishing playbooks out of the trash. Spygate 2: The Life of Spy. Everything but Warm Gatoradegate. The writer even mentions the 1982 Snowplow Game as an example of the Patriots cheating and how Don Shula didn’t think to put a stop to it because his integrity was so honest and his valor was so classy he couldn’t bring himself to stop it:
You know what is soon going to make Bill Belichick the winningest coach in the history of the game? Brains, to be sure. But also desire. Wanting it more than anyone else. He would’ve thrown himself and everyone he loves into the gears of that John Deere before he allowed an imbecile like Ron Meyer from stealing a game from him like that. Hell, he probably would’ve anticipated it. He’s such a preparation junkie he would’ve probably had a scouting report on Mark Henderson, the Walpole Prison work release inmate who was driving the damned thing and spoken to the officials ahead of time to remind them you can’t drive a tractor onto the field to clear a spot for the kicker. Shula just stood there and let it happen and has been bitching about it ever since.
Besides, do you know what integrity really is? It’s winning in a league that is set up specifically to stop you from winning over a long period of time. It’s not having complete control over your players like you’re running an oppressive, Socialist dictatorship. Shula coached in the era when his players were free. Free to take what he offered to pay them or go piss up a rope. To sign on the line which was dotted or quit and go get jobs. Belichick has sustained his team’s excellence while watching his key personnel – players, coaches and executives – leave to go make millions elsewhere. Including, by the way, Miami’s current head coach, who was hired away to run the team after just one season in charge of the cold, crusty and crabby cheater you they claim to hate so much.
Shula had a level of power over everyone’s careers that is unimaginable to Belichick. And he still won just two Super Bowls and one pre-Super Bowl era NFL championship. And for all that, his “integrity” got him a 19-17, .528 postseason record to Belichick’s 31-11, .738.
So thanks for the history lesson. On behalf of everyone in the entitled, thin-skinned and persecuted fan base in New England. It’s good to hear the Dolphins media get an early jump on discrediting the record, years before Belichick even approaches it. It lets me know what the next couple of years will bring so I can prepare myself. No. Days. Off.
In the meantime, don’t ever, ever stop Kissing the Rings.