Don Shula: Dan Marino says Dolphins coach 'defined greatness'

Omnisport

Dan Marino said Don Shula was somebody who embodied "the definition of greatness" as he paid tribute to his old Miami Dolphins head coach.

Shula, who owns the record for the most wins in NFL history with 347 victories across the regular season and playoffs, died on Monday aged 90.

The Hall of Famer was in charge of the great 1972 undefeated team in Miami and was also at the helm for the 1984 season when second-year quarterback Marino lit up the league with 5,084 passing yards and 48 passing touchdowns to be named MVP.

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They were NFL records that would stand for two decades and though Shula and Marino never won a ring together - the Dolphins having lost Super Bowl XIX to the San Francisco 49ers - both men's achievements were recognised when they were enshrined in the Hall of Fame.

At Marino's Hall of Fame ceremony speech he called Shula "the greatest coach ever" and he described him as "the most significant influence on my football career" apart from his father.

Responding to news of Shula's death, Marino uploaded a picture of the pair on Twitter and wrote: "Coach Shula - you will truly be missed! 

"You embody the definition of 'greatness'. You brought that winning attitude with you every day and made everyone around you better.

"Thank you for always believing in me. You made me a better player and person. My thoughts & prayers are with the entire Shula family. Love you Coach! #RIP"

At the time of the coach's retirement in 1996, Shula and Marino held the record for the most wins as a head-coach-and-quarterback duo.

Their record of 116 victories was eventually broken by New England Patriots pair Bill Belichick and Tom Brady.

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