NFL establishes Don Shula Award

Updated: January 31, 2010, 8:24 PM ET
Associated Press

MIAMI -- In tribute to Don Shula, the Miami Dolphins have a new statue and address, and the NFL has a new award.

The statue of Shula in front of the Dolphins' new stadium offices was unveiled before Sunday's Pro Bowl. The Dolphins announced the address of the offices will be 347 Don Shula Drive, in recognition of his NFL-record 347 victories.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell announced the creation of an annual Coach Shula Award, which will honor a coach at any level who displays the integrity, achievement and positive impact on others exemplified by Shula.

"I'm honored. I'm humbled," Shula said. "I thank my players for the things we were able to accomplish."

The 11-foot-tall statue shows Shula pumping a fist as he rides the shoulders of two of his players, replicating the celebration after the 1972 Dolphins won the Super Bowl to complete the league's only perfect season.

"He's waving like, 'I did this thing all by myself,'" joked Bob Griese, the Dolphins' quarterback in that game.

Griese was among about 20 former players attending the ceremony. The last to arrive was Dan Marino, who was 45 minutes late.

"Marino will be fined," Shula said.

Other speakers included team owner Stephen Ross, who called Shula "the soul of the franchise," and Dolphins coach Tony Sparano. Even Florida Gov. Charlie Crist joined in listing Shula's accomplishments.

"He's got restaurants, too, in case you didn't know," Crist said.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame coach, famous for his jutting jaw, said he had only one complaint about the statue.

"The chin is too long," Shula said. "My chin is a lot shorter."

As for the new stadium address, he said: "I like that. It's going to be easy for me to remember how to get here."


Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press