Folks in Miami aren’t fond of Bill Belichick inching closer to Don Shula’s all-time NFL head coaching wins record.
With 304 career victories, Belichick needs 44 more to pass Shula and become the winningest head coach in league history. Belichick will have a chance to narrow that margin when his New England Patriots host Shula’s former team, the Miami Dolphins, on Sunday.
One of Shula’s former players, defensive tackle Manny Fernandez, doesn’t particularly enjoy the Belichick/Shula comparisons.
“I just think it’s a shame that a guy who constantly gets caught cheating is even there because – I don’t know – his moral character leaves me kind of questioning,” Fernandez told the Palm Beach Post.
Those are some strong words, and ex-Dolphins guard Larry Little added fuel to the fire by praising Shula’s “integrity.”
“One time, I think we were playing the Raiders, we practiced at their facility,” Little said. “Someone (on the Raiders) left their game plan in the locker room and somebody gave it to Coach. (Shula’s response was), ‘No. We don’t do it that way.’ He wouldn’t look at it. It would happen out there, on the field. That’s how Don was. Integrity. Yes, integrity.”
The criticism of Belichick comes at a time in which the NFL is investigating the Patriots for filming the Cincinnati Bengals sideline in Week 14. The league hasn’t been able to establish a connection between the video crew responsible for filming and football operations.
Belichick and the Patriots have maintained the team isn’t involved with the production crew in any capacity.
Kickoff for Sunday’s Dolphins-Pats matchup is set for 1 p.m. at Gillette Stadium.