Could you imagine the mixed emotions for former Miami Dolphins head coach Don Shula on Sunday? His son, Mike Shula is the offensive coordinator for the then-undefeated Carolina Panthers. While some former players from that Dolphins team celebrate undefeated teams going down (since this means they won’t get to 19-0), Shula didn’t do that in Week 16. Instead, just as you’d expect a father to do, he had words of encouragement for his son. He also genuinely felt bad that the Panthers lost.
“He was like every other kid’s dad, he felt bad for us,’’ Mike said on Monday, 24 hours after Carolina’s 14-0 start ended with a 20-13 setback at Atlanta. “He always has good advice, good fatherly advice. He’s always rooting for us.’’
It’s pretty great to read this, but it’s not all that surprising. If Don would have wanted anyone to surpass his 17-0 record and get to 19-0, it would obviously have been his son Mike and the Panthers. Fortunately, the father can still be all-in for his son to help lead Carolina to a Super Bowl this season.