The greatness that is Don Shula and his relationship with the Baltimore Colts started in a most unusual way. His first stint with the team began when he was traded from the Cleveland Browns in a 15 player deal. There he started as the Colts corner back in 1953. He played four season in Baltimore, and in an era where passing was not readily used, Shula came away with three interceptions, but Baltimore finished with only a 3-9 record. The following season, Shula had five interceptions, but again the Colts finished 3-9. In 1955, Shula again had five picks, and Baltimore finished with just a 5-6-1 record. Don Shula missed the final three games due to a broken jaw. In 1956, was a low point in Don's career as he had just one interception, and was waived prior to the start of the 1957 season. The Colts also finished the '56 season with another losing record. It would not be long before Shula ended up being part of the Baltimore franchise once again, this time not as a player.
In 1963, Don Shula began his head coaching career in Baltimore. The signing made him the youngest head coach ever in the NFL at the age of 33. In his first season he had a winning record finishing 8-6 for third place in the NFL West.
In 1964, he guided the team to a 12-2 record that won the NFL West, and put them in the NFL championship game, and even though they lost to Cleveland 27-0, Don Shula was named the NFL's Coach of the Year Award.
In 1965, the Colts finished tied with the Green Bay Packers (10-3-1), forcing a one game playoff to determine which team would be playing for the championship. Baltimore ended up losing 13-10 in an overtime battle.
In the 1966 and 1967 seasons the Colts found themselves out of contention for a playoff spot, even though they finished 11-1-2 in 1967. Their only loss was a blow out to the Los Angeles Rams, which ended up being the tie-breaker to get into the playoffs.
In 1968, the Colts finished the season again with just one loss (13-1). The Colts defeated the Vikings in the Divisional match-up, and eliminated the Browns in the conference championship the following week to get into the Super Bowl to face the New York Jets. Even though Baltimore were large favorites, they ended up losing to Joe Namath and his guarantee stated victory.
Shula finished his coaching career in Baltimore in the 1969 season. The Colts finished with an 8-5 record and did not compete in the playoffs. He finished with a 71-23-4 record, but only 2-3 in the postseason, including two losses where Baltimore was a heavy favorite.
In February of 1970, Don Shula was lured away from the Baltimore Colts by Joe Robbie of the Miami Dolphins. Shula received a long-term contract, a percentage of the ownership, and named Vice-President. Pete Rozelle the NFL Commissioner at the time, took this to be tampering and found the Dolphins guilty. The consequence was a forfeiture of their first round draft choice to the Baltimore Colts, where they selected running back Don McCauley out of North Carolina with the 22nd pick. McCauley had a solid career with the Colts, playing from 1971 to 1981. He finished with 770 carries for 2627 yards and 40 touchdowns, he also added 333 receptions for 3026 yards and 17 touchdowns, and was the Colts kickoff and punt returner for 10 of the 11 years he played.
Don Shula retired as Dolphins head coach at the conclusion of the 1995 season. He led Miami into the playoffs with a 9-7 record, but was eliminated in their first game to the Buffalo Bills. Shula finished his coaching career with 347 wins only 173 defeats and six tie games (.678 winning percentage). Only he and George Halas have 300 wins under their belt, and Don has coached in six Super Bowls, winning back-to-back in Super Bowl VII and VIII. He won the NFL Head Coach of the Year six times. Winning it from 1964-1968 and then again from 1970-1972. In 1997, he was inducted into the Pro-Football Hall of Fame as a head coach of the Miami Dolphins.