Don Shula, one of the most beloved sports figures of all time and perhaps the NFL's greatest coach, died on May 4th, 2020. He was 90 years old.

Shula began his coaching career with the Baltimore Colts in 1963 and retired from coaching the Miami Dolphins in 1995, making him the record holder for most games coached in the history of the NFL. If that isn't impressive enough, he also holds the record for most games won (347) by any coach. Perhaps most memorably, he is also responsible for coaching the NFL's only perfect season in 1972, when the Miami Dlophins won all 14 regular season games, two play-off games, and ultimately beat the Washington Redskins to win Shula his first Super Bowl title. "People think we're a bunch of angry old guys who can't wait for that last undefeated team to get beat," Shula said in 2010. "We're very proud of our record, and if somebody breaks it, I'm going to call that coach and congratulate them. Until they do, it's our record, and we're proud of it."

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FILM

11 Football Movies Better Than the Super Bowl

"This is for Rudy, Coach." *sobs*

Rudy

The Super Bowl is upon us, which means millions of people will be emotionally investing in the man-on-man performance of football.

Despite being a child of a die-hard sports fan whose identity hinged upon the successes and failures of his favorite organization (the Cleveland Browns, I sh*t you not–can you imagine an entire lifetime of being fanatical over the Cleveland Browns?), I don't understand the hype around football. Albeit, when I was young, I pretty much refused to try to understand sports fandoms. But then I discovered the movie magic of the Sports Film, which somehow manages to capture the glittery allure of men bumping and grinding into each other over a coveted cylindrical object (aside from the obvious). Only a Sports Film allows me to understand the awe of watching mere men perform strenuous athletic feats and rise to victory–not just over their opponents but always over myriad disadvantages and personal obstacles that beat so many of us down.

So I admit to not caring about the Super Bowl–seriously, who's playing? What time does it start? Where will it be played? Just kidding, none of these questions matter to me; the Amazon Rainforest has lost the equivalent of 10.3 million football fields due to deforestation, and Australia is still on f*cking fire. But, to that exact point, change isn't going to happen unless we all practice a little more empathy. I would like to understand why large, beefy men in tight pants grabbing at each other is so integral to our national identity as Americans, as fellow humans in this rat race called life.

In service of that goal, it's far more productive to watch any of the following football movies than tune in to the Super Bowl game between the Carolina Stampeders and the Michigan Divers, or the Nevada Groundhogs and the Florida Snowpiercers, or the New Jersey Nunchucks and the Missouri Landlines, or, you know, that team that's playing against those other guys.

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