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Legendary NFL coach Don Shula visits West Valley

Thursday, February 21, 20131179 views

The most successful head coach in the history of the National Football League, Don Shula, sat at a table in his new restaurant, Shula’s 347, in West Valley City Feb. 12, reminiscing about the game he loves.

“There is no question my greatest team was the undefeated team. There has been only one team in 90 years to win every game it played. You play a game to win, and that is what we did,” Shula said.

Shula’s 1972 Dolphins won 17 straight games, including a 17-0 win over the Washington Redskins in Super Bowl VII.

Shula was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 1997. He has the most wins as a coach in NFL history with 347.  New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has the highest active total of 205.

Shula coached for 33 years—seven with the Baltimore Colts and 26 with the Miami Dolphins. He won two Super Bowls (1972 and 1973). He retired in 1995.

Shula is impressed with the strength of current players in the NFL.

“The kids nowadays start pumping iron in junior high. They are much more advanced. I never lifted a weight in my playing career or after. We just did not do it,” Shula said.

Shula was part of the league’s competition committee for 20 years. Their job was to improve the game and player safety.

Shula said preventing injuries is no different today. He said he always taught his team the right way to play. “See what you hit, and keep your head up,” was his philosophy.

“It is a tough game, and there are a lot of head-on collisions. The fans pay big money to see the stars perform. That is what makes this game great. The young kids need to be taught to play the game correctly,” Shula said.

Shula never expected to be part of a restaurant chain during his coaching career.

“I was never active in the kitchen, except for eating. One time, a family friend said we should open a steakhouse with my name on it. After at least two years, we finally did. It turned out very successful. I think running a restaurant is a lot like coaching. We want to win every meal, just like I wanted to win every game,” Shula said.

The restaurant, Shula’s 347, is located at 3524 South Market Street in West Valley City. It is Shula’s 36th restaurant in 15 states. Its grand opening was held Feb.12.

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