Saturday, June 23, 2007

Don Shula and Tom Landry: The 13 Amazing Coincidences

Remember those old lists showing the supposed Amazing Coincidences between our two most famous assassinated presidents Abraham Lincoln and John Kennedy? You know, stuff like: "Both presidents had vice-presidents named Johnson" and "Kennedy had a secretary named Lincoln while Lincoln had a secretary named Kennedy" (not true by the way, Honest Abe's secretaries were named Nicolay and Hay). As a kid I was unhealthily fascinated by this bit of silliness. Now a couple of presidents can't be the only people with crazy coincidences between them right? I suspect you'd find Amazing Coincidences between any two people who ever lived. Though the Lincoln/Kennedy connection has lost its luster for me, I continue to remain unhealthily fascinated by professional football so how about a look at "amazing" coincidences between famous football personages and who better to start with than my favorite winningest coach of all time Don Shula and his near exact contemporary, the late Tom Landry? The Lincoln/Kennedy article of my youth listed 13 coincidences so here's 13 for Tom and Don:

1) Both were defensive backs in the NFL.

2) Both played professional football for 7 years (counting Landry's 1 season in the AAFC).

3) Landry helped pioneer the 4-3 defense (as NYG defensive coordinator). Shula helped pioneer the 3-4 defense.

4) Both won 13 division titles.

5) Both coached in 36 postseason games.

6) Shula coached in 490 regular season games while Landry clocked 418 games. They each managed 6 ties.

7) Each had an assistant coach who later won an NCAA Championship. (Shula: Howard Schnellenberger for UM in 1983; Landry: Gene Stallings for 'Bama in 1992).

8) Both coached in 2 NFL championship games prior to the 1970 NFL/AFL merger and in 5 Super Bowls after the merger.

9) Each won 2 Super Bowls

10) They coached against each other in Super Bowl VI.

11) Both were fired by colorful/asshole prima donna owners (Carroll Rosenbloom; Jerry Jones).

12) After their firings, both coaches' former teams won Super Bowls within a few seasons (Baltimore in 1970; Dallas in 1992).

13) When they left the game for good, both Landry and Shula were replaced by Jimmy Johnson.

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