Jeff Harvey

Another sad week in sports saw the death of Don Shula at the age of 90.

Shula, a Paul Brown protege, came from John Carroll to play defensive back for eight years before getting into coaching. Like Brown, he was a demanding coach though he mellowed as time went along.

Shula was in his mid-30s when he took over the Baltimore Colts, who looked to be an aging team in decline and kept them relevant enough to win the NFL title in 1969, although they fell to the Jets in Super Bowl III.

After leaving the Colts following a dispute with owner Carroll Rosenbloom, Shula returned to coaching with the Miami Dolphins, a team which was even worse than the current Dolphins team. He got them to a Super Bowl in two years, albeit another loss, then won the next two, one which capped the only perfect season in modern NFL history.

His teams then were defined by a controlled passing attack complemented with a three-headed rushing attack. He also made a defense of relatively unknown players into an effective unit forever to be known as “The No-Name Defense.”

After that team broke up, Shula, one of the most adaptable of head coaches, kept the team competitive, first by rotating quarterbacks, then by building a high-capacity passing game around Dan Marino. He made another Super Bowl with Marino which they lost. He’ll be missed.

NASCAR will resume racing this Sunday after weeks of virtual racing. That period of time is one the sport would rather forget with the Bubba Wallace quitting mid-race in one race and Kyle Larson losing everything, including his contract with Ganassi Racing, over a racial slur. He’ll be replaced by Matt Keneseth coming out of retirement.

It’ll be interesting to see how the racing will be after weeks of down time without spectators.

Jeff Harvey is a freelance reporter and columnist for the Princeton Times. Contact him at delimartman@yahoo.com

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