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Don Shula: Jets' tarp accusations are nonsense

INDIANAPOLIS -- As today is the AFC championship game and the New York Jets are playing, there has been a ton of pre-game hype about this game. Part of that hype has included the Jets playoff history (which is short) and particularly their performance in championship games.

A couple of those championship games have connections to Miami. The Jets one and only Super Bowl title came in Super Bowl III against the Baltimore Colts. The Colts were coached by Don Shula, who went on to coach the Dolphins and is the winningest coach of all time.

Another game Jets fans and media speak much about is the 1983 AFC title game. Dolphins 14, Jets zippo. In typical New York fashion, this loss has been rationalized and blamed on, of all people, Shula. I'm not making this stuff up.

Google "Jets and tarp and Shula" and you'll get a ton of articles, including this one this week in the Newark Star-Ledger, in which an otherwise respected journalist claims Shula ordered the grounds crew at the Orange Bowl not to place the tarp on the field on a day it was raining in Miami in order to give the Dolphins an advantage.

Aside from how stupid that sounds based on the fact it means it was raining on ground the Dolphins as well as the Jets were using, I actually decided to do what journalists used to do, and go to a source on the topic to find out the truth.

"Tha'ts an insult to my intelligence," Shula told me moments ago when I asked if he ordered the tarp in the Orange Bowl not to be used on the field. "If there was ever a coach that wanted to play a game on a fast track, I was that guy. I've heard of the Jets accusing us of not putting the tarp on the field or some nonsense like that but it's ridiculous.

"I did a radio show where they asked me about that and one of the hosts was obviously a Jets fan and he said I did that. I told him, 'You've got to be stupid to think I would something like that.' I like playing a game in the best possible conditions. It's the truer test for both teams."

Well, that settles that. Shula isn't re-writing history here. He's got no agenda because his reputation has already been written, both good and bad.

And he recognizes that on the bad side of the ledger is that fateful Super Bowl III that, as he says, "was the Joe Namath guarantee game."

That was New York's one and only NFL championship. And it set the stage for Shula coming to Miami.

"That game had a big impact on my career because after we lost, my relationship with the owner was never the same," Shula said. "Carroll Rosenbloom was the owner than and he'd get on the phone and take a lot of heat from his New York buddies for losing the game and then he'd get on the phone and pass the heat on to me.

"I lasted another year in Baltimore after that, but it was never the same between us. It's the main reason I ended up in Miami."

Shula said he'll be watching the both title games today, including the AFC game between the Jets and Colts.

"What the Jets have done is pretty amazing with a rookie quarterback and to come the way they've come," Shula said. "Mike Westhoff is a is friend of mine and I'm happy for him. And I'm happy for Brian Schottenheimer because he's Marty's son and Marty Schottenheimer is a close friend of mine."

So Shula likes some of the folks on the Jets.

But ...

"They're going against one of the best guys to play the game and there's not a lot they can do about that," Shula said. "I would never pick against Peyton Manning. It's unbelievable what he does. Whatever the situation is in the game, you never feel like you're safe if Manning is the other quarterback. He's one of the best of all time and when he's done he'll probably have all the records.

"You can't pick against him."

And Shula doesn't. He's picking the Colts.

[BLOG NOTE: Yup, we'll have a live blog in the comments section during the AFC title game. Go there, discuss the action with fellow Dolfans and others, and enjoy a big afternoon of football.]

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Seer , I'am from northern NJ and that's GIANT country. We have alot more giant fans but there's a good share of jets fans

Unfortunately for NY, they have to go on offense, too.

does anyone have a link for the game i wanna see manning beat the jets azzez

The blitz is good I'll admit.. It won't succeed all game...

Wow, We need some of that D here!

NOT GOOD !!!

Let's hope they pressure Sanches all day

The colts will score... There not san diego.. We will then see how sanchez can play when he is down... It's offense.. Defense won't win this game for the jets... Ravens tried the same thing and it ony lasted so long before it can't win the fame

Sanchez is so tense... U can see it!!!

Wasn't a catch

NOT GOOD!!!!

This sucks.

It's early NJ...

This is NOT GOOD

Luck always runs out

If the JEts can throw the ball today, that's trouble.

Mando,

Something all these championship teams have in common is a really good TE. The dolphins are obviously lacking in that department. Any idea on who they may be looking at in FA or the draft?

Can't trade fgs for tds...

Gettin Better.

Colts come with their own blitz. Like it.

Much Better.

Jets go for fgs.. Colts will take that every time!!!

Choke!!!!!!!

hahahahahaha No Good!!!!!

Jay Feely goat!

Awesome!

Aahhh!!

Thank the phins we booted him!!! U welcome jet fans!!!

Oh the irony... only reason Jets survived last week was the other teams missed fgs

Couldn't happen to a bigger tool. Go work on your punting, Feely!

Karma/Fotball Gods just teased the Jets--gave a little laste taste of luck, and then..........

That missed FG is a deflater for the hot airs.

That was GOOD !!!

I don't think I've ever rooted for non-Dolphin team as much.

Out comes the snacks for rexy.. He's stressing!!!

Manning, sacked 10 times all year, has been sacked twice already today.

NJ &/0r Mando--


is TE Owen McDaniel of Texans a "free" free agent? I really like him.

and.....I'm not a gambler, but "under" is looking good rt now.

much as I hate to say it, I like the way "they" play defense. curses!

Nobody said it wouldn't be a rough day for manning ...there will be plays soon enough

Owen Daniels restricted. I like him too.

Jet had ahold of Clark's jersey there. Should have been a penalty.

Seer , daniels is a restricted free agent coming off a season ending injury ( ACL ).

For all we rank on them, the Jets CAN play defense. Give them that.

Look for the Colts to go screen on the next series.

Eventually manning will exploit the holes

Great linebackers mando... Great!!!!

Third and long.. Pass sanchez... Pass!!!

Jets not going to let their rookie QB throw an interception and lose the game in the first quarter.

Proves the faith he has in sachez,.. Runs on third and 8

Draws and screens, slow down the pass rush.

I just pooped my pants :(

What the F is wrong with that punt returner ???? MY GOD!!!!

problem is the Jets plan (if they can't get lead, of course) is to "stay close." Thus far, so good.

Played for bonamego!!!

Colts have to make the following adjustments offensively:

1. Stop calling play action. It gives blitz heavy teams even more time to get to the QB.

2. Throw quick slants. That's how you beat the blitz. Not with these long, drawn out passing plays that the colts are running.

I think the Dolphins need more players with wasboard stomachs!!!

That's what I'm thinking Po. Wonder how much stroke Manning has though. I know he wants to go long.

U can't play the colts that way... It won't work

Open the flats... U blitz flats is always open

Unleash "The Waiter"!

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