FILE - In this Nov. 14, 1993, file photo, Miami...

FILE - In this Nov. 14, 1993, file photo, Miami Dolphins coach Don Shula is carried on his team's shoulders after his 325th victory, against the Philadelphia Eagles in Philadelphia. Shula, who won the most games of any NFL coach and led the Miami Dolphins to the only perfect season in league history, died Monday, May 4, 2020, at his South Florida home, the team said. He was 90. (AP Photo/ George Widman) Credit: AP/GEORGE WIDMAN

The iconic sideline pose will forever be etched in our minds: Don Shula standing stoically, his arms folded, his thumb and index finger framing his chiseled jaw, peering at the field his teams dominated for decades.

He was one of the true legendary coaches in pro sports history, a man who presided over championship teams, who brought out greatness in so many players and the only man to achieve perfection. The unbeaten season of 1972 still stands as the greatest measuring stick of all, and no one has duplicated that feat.

No one may ever do so.

Shula, the man who built the Dolphins into two-time Super Bowl champions and coached them for 26 straight seasons, died Monday at age 90. A one-of-a-kind leader who once was the youngest coach hired in NFL history, Shula will forever be remembered as one of the most gifted tacticians and revered leaders in any sport in any era.

Perhaps the greatest compliment of all came from another NFL coaching great, Bum Phillips, who once said of Shula, “He can take his’n and beat your’n and take your’n and beat his’n.”

Really, there is no more meaningful tribute than that, a line that so simply explains Shula’s ability to extract every ounce of talent from his players and to outthink and outsmart every move and every countermove by opposing coaches. In 33 seasons as coach of the Dolphins and before that the Colts, Shula amassed more wins than any head coach in history. He won 328 regular-season games and 19 more in the playoffs for a total of 347. Incredibly, Shula had only two losing seasons.

Only Bill Belichick, currently at 273 regular-season wins and 304, including playoffs, is in position to challenge Shula’s records. And he must now do so without Tom Brady.

From the time he played for Paul Brown after graduating from tiny John Carroll University in 1951, when he began a seven-year NFL career as a defensive back, to his days as the Lions’ defensive coordinator from 1960-62 and then on to a wondrous head coaching career beginning with the Colts in 1963, Shula left a lasting legacy.

“Don Shula was the patriarch of the Miami Dolphins for 50 years,” the Dolphins said in announcing Shula’s death. “He brought the winning edge to our franchise and put the Dolphins and the city of Miami in the national sports scene.”

It was not always perfect for Shula — he did lose in one of the most stunning upsets in NFL history when the Jets beat his heavily favored Colts in Super Bowl III — but Shula’s incredible run with the Dolphins is what we will remember most about the exemplary coach. He built the Dolphins into one of the most successful franchises in NFL history, winning back-to-back Super Bowls after the 1972 and 1973 seasons and reached two more with Miami. One of those came at the expense of the Jets, who were beaten by the Dolphins in the 1982 AFC Championship Game known as the “Mud Bowl.”

Despite a driving rainstorm before the game, no tarps covered the field at the Orange Bowl, and the Jets struggled in the miserable conditions. Richard Todd threw five interception in a 14-0 loss. Afterward, Shula claimed that the Dolphins, who did not own the stadium, were not responsible for preparing the field beforehand. Shula lost to the Redskins in Super Bowl XVII, as Joe Gibbs won his first of three Super Bowl titles. Shula lost to another Hall of Fame coach from the 1980’s, Bill Walsh, in Super Bowl XIX after the 1984 season, the year after Shula drafted future Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino.

So many influential players, coaches and executives worked for Shula along the way, and that included former Giants general manager George Young, who was hired off Shula’s staff in 1979 and went on to build the Giants into two-time Super Bowl champions. Young and Shula also worked together in Baltimore, and the two developed a long-lasting friendship that included plenty of laughs.

Young once told the story of Shula when the two were members of the NFL’s influential competition committee in the 1980’s. During an owners meeting, Young walked by Shula’s hotel room to attend a cocktail party, and Shula was momentarily delayed because he couldn’t find his belt. Young joked about Shula’s reputation as being the smartest man in the NFL and Shula shot back, “If I’m the smartest man in the NFL, then why can’t I find my damn belt?”

Shula really was one of the smartest men ever to work in the NFL. He won more than anyone else, and he won with integrity, an example for every coach to emulate.

He defined an era and transformed the Dolphins into the gold standard, leaving behind an unforgettable body of work and a lasting sideline image we’ll never forget.

Rest in peace, Coach.