Coaching award named for Shula
UPDATED (9:03 p.m.)...
MIAMI GARDENS--The NFL has named a coaching award after former Miami Dolphins coach Don Shula.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell made the announcement Sunday before the Pro Bowl was played here at Sun Life Stadium.
The award will be given annually to a coach, at any level of football, for "excellence and integrity" on and off the field, Goodell said.
"To a large extent, the popularity of our game is a result of changes Coach Shula made, on and off the field," said Goodell, speaking at a ceremony at which the Dolphins unveiled a statue of Shula outside their new offices at the stadium.
Shula said after the ceremony that the naming of the league-wide award for him had come as a surprise.
"I didn't know about it," Shula said. "Any time you have your name on an award, it's pretty special. It means a lot because it's the coaching profession. I'm happy the award is going to give all those people some recognition."
The statue shows Shula being carried off the field by Dolphins players after the team completed its 17-0 season in 1972 by beating the Washington Redskins in the Super Bowl.
"It was unbelievable," Shula said. "I didn't know what to expect, and this blew away all the expectations."
Some of Shula's former players, including quarterbacks Bob Griese and Dan Marino, attended the unveiling of the statue. Marino arrived late.
"Marino is gonna get fined," Shula said. "I'll let him know how much it's gonna be."
Shula and Griese traded good-natured jabs during the ceremony.
"They're carrying Coach Shula off the field," Griese said. "He's waving like, 'I did this all myself.' "
Shula said later: "I look at Bob Griese down there and I think, 'I was a helluva coach to win with talent like that.' "
But Griese also turned serious and said: "On behalf of all your former players, all the fans, all the people in South Florida, we thank you and we wish you nothing but good health."
The Dolphins also unveiled the new address of their offices: 347 Don Shula Drive, after Shula's number of career coaching victories.
"It's going to be easy for me to remember how to get here," Shula said.
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