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Dan Marino has had a fair share of his NFL records broken, but there’s one Miami Dolphins record he wants to see preserved: Don Shula’s NFL-best 328 wins, 347 wins if you count playoffs.
Shula coached Marino for the first 13 years of the quarterback’s 17-year Dolphins career, and he surpassed George Halas as the NFL’s winningest coach in 1993, ESPN reports.
Shula still held the record upon his death in May 2020, but New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick isn’t far behind with 280 wins, just 48 shy of matching Shula as the NFL’s winningest coach.
“I hope he don’t get it,” Marino said emphatically. “I’m a Dolphin for life. Coach Shula for life. I don’t want him to get it.”
ESPN reports it could take Belichick at least another four strong years to reach that mark.
Shula and Marino are both impactful figures in Dolphin history, but ESPN reports the two men would admit they wouldn’t have been as good without the other.
Last season, the team wore Shula “347” patches to honor their legendary former head coach, while fans honor Marino every Sunday by filling up Hard Rock Stadium wearing his jersey.
Marino said one particular memory about his relationship with Shula that stands out happened in his rookie year in 1983.
“He was the best. He took care of me all the time. He was an incredible man and head coach. He taught me how to be in the community, be a leader, work hard. But from day one — which I thought was genius — he said, ‘I want you to be the starting QB, so you have to learn this quickly, and now you’re going to call all your plays in practice and exhibition games,'” Marino said in an interview with ESPN. “… I always thought that was special, and probably different than what a lot of people do now, I’d imagine.”
Marino said it put a lot of pressure on him to learn quickly.
The Hall of Fame quarterback now works for the Dolphins as a team adviser, a role that often includes sitting in the QB room and meeting with coaches. A constant presence at the facility, Marino expressed optimism about the direction the team is headed under coach Brian Flores and about the future of quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.
“[T]he discipline factor, the fact that [Flores] demands the best all the time — they have those same characteristics,” Marino said, as he pointed out similarities between Shula and Flores. “That’s what you want from a head coach — be demanding, relate to the players and want the best out of them. They both have those characteristics.”