Shull, Steve : Jews In Sports @ Virtual Museum

Shull, Steve

Shull was a linebacker for the Miami Dolphins from 1980-1983, and was a team tri-captain in the 1982 Super Bowl. After a knee injury ended his career, Steve founded his own company, Performance Coaching. One of his teammates on the Dolphins was All-Pro guard Ed Newman.

Birth and Death Dates:
b. March 27, 1958

Career Highlights:
Shull was a graduate of William & Mary College, and joined the Miami Dolphins as a rookie linebacker in 1980. A backup and special teams player that season, during a midseason game against the San Francisco 49ers, Shull saw the opponents' return man break away and head for the end zone. Steve left his lane and hit the 49er runner so hard, his helmet came flying off. He heard the sellout crowd roar in approval and ran to sidelines for the approval of his teammates.

Shull walked by Miami coach Don Shula expecting some sort of praise, only to be totally ignored. Later in the week, the team viewed the game film and when Shull's daring play was shown, Shula stopped the tape and said, "Shull, if you ever do that again, you're fired." Steve asked the legendary coach what he had done and Shula responded, "You left your lane, stay focused."

During the 1980 season, Shull played in all 16 games, but the Dolphins, with a record of 8-8-0 on the year, missed the playoffs. The following year, Shull again played in all 16 games as the Dolphins finished first in the AFC East with a record of 11-4-1, tying the New York Jets, 28-28.

In the playoffs, the Dolphins faced the San Diego Chargers in one of the greatest games in NFL history. After four hours and three minutes, the Chargers kicked a 29-yard field goal 13 minutes into overtime. San Diego won the game, 41-38, in a contest that set records for most points scored in a playoff game (79), most total yards (1,036) and most passing yards (809). The game is also remembered because it pushed every player involved to his limits. The Chargers' Hall of Fame tight end, Kellen Winslow said after the game, "I've never felt so close to death before...That's what Muhammad Ali said in Manila and that's how I felt out there at the end."

1982 was a strike-shortened season, but Shull still played in all nine regular season games. The Dolphins defense, nicknamed the Killer Bees, allowed an AFC-low 131 points during the year as Miami finished first in the AFC East with a record of 7-2-0. One of their losses came at the hands of the New England Patriots during a blizzard. The Patriots won the game when a work release parolee cleared a space on the snow-frozen turf that enabled New England to kick a late fourth-quarter field goal and win the game 3-0.

That season, Miami won all three playoff games to reach the Super Bowl. In Super Bowl XVII, Shull was one of the Dolphins' tri-captains, and the "Fish" lost to the Washington Redskins, 27-17. After the season, Steve retired due to a knee injury; he played linebacker in 41 career NFL games for Miami.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Career Dates:
Shull played at William and Mary College from 1977-1979. He then played as a linebacker in the NFL for the Miami Dolphins from 1980-1983.

Physical description:
6'1", 220 pounds

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Total Football: The Official Encyclopedia of the National Football League, edited by Bob Carroll, Michael Gershman, David Neft, and John Thorn (New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1999)