Nevertheless Commissioner Pete Rozelle subsequently extracted as "punishment" a first-round draft choice from the Dolphins. The charge was "tampering." Steadman called it a miscarriage and said the Colts should give it back. Rozelle admitted Shula had got permission to talk, but Miami had not. Robbie pointed out the absurdity of this conclusion: Shula could talk to Robbie, but Robbie couldn't talk to Shula. It was clear enough, however. Rozelle had opted for harmony in lieu of justice. Rosenbloom had made the most noise.
The rest, of course, is vindication of the purest kind. Shula, the non-miracle worker, turned the Dolphins inside out, from downstairs maid to belle of the ball in three dizzy years. Moreover, once Shula got to Miami, the Dolphins beat the Colts five out of seven times, and shut them out twice on their way to victory in Super Bowl VII.
When he won, Shula said it was like "a weight taken off." But he said he had "no worries about being complacent. My goals are the same. I have no desire to do anything else in life but this, and if I can set an example, of hard work and dedication as opposed to cutting corners and cheating, so much the better."
The thrill for Dorothy Shula was to see Don settle into his chair at night and "watch the peace on his face. He'd light up a big cigar, and sit there, and I'm thinking, "Happy at last.' For so long he'd been so sensitive. Small, petty things would bother him. He'd have to take out his energy on something. Lately it had been the garage. When he had nothing else to do he'd raise a storm and clean out the garage.
"Don't get me wrong. He never said 'no' to anything. Our cup runneth over. I mean, this has been a woman happy. But to see him happy. At breakfast he always has coffee, black. Grapefruit, cut up. Eggs and sausage. Early. Ordinarily I get up and do it and it's just the two of us. I do it, but don't expect me to say 'good morning' when I do. Well, after the Super Bowl, I'd get up and he'd already have the coffee made. And sometimes he'd even be cutting his own grapefruit."
At John Carroll University in May, Shula was made a doctor of humanities, and delivered the commencement address. In a letter to The Wall Street Journal, the president of the university asked that readers "not get the impression Don Shula is getting a doctorate because he gained 6.8 yards per carry while on our football team. We feature two things [here]—the development of values and preparation for leadership. Shula exemplifies both at the highest level. His personal life is a model we invite our students to emulate.... I doubt that many of this year's honorary degrees will be better deserved."
Larry Csonka ran into Shula later in the summer. Already, he told his coach, he could feel the vibrations of Shula's opening remarks to the 17-and-0 Dolphins—how good it would be to win two straight Super Bowls, how Green Bay was the only team that ever did it, how the others fell on their faces, etc. Csonka was not surprised by Shula's response.
"He's even more serious than he was last year," Csonka told Edwin Pope. "More determined to go back. I could just see his metabolism speeding up, his eyes getting buggy and his hairline jerking the way it does once in a while. All the signs are there. It takes a Hunky to catch one."
Then, the day before the start of practice, Shula played a round of golf with his old coaching friend and Dolphin predecessor, George Wilson, at Wilson's golf course on North Kendall Drive. It was a hot day; they hacked around the course keeping a small gallery sweating after them. A skinny redheaded boy, no more than 11, invited himself into Shula's conversation whenever possible. The redheaded boy wanted to know about "Bob Griese's criminal record."
Shula smiled as if to let the obvious absurdity pass, but the boy persisted. "Don't you know about Griese getting arrested?" he said.