CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The main road to Miami's Sun Life Stadium is named Don Shula Drive. Featured prominently around the facility's second tier is the name Don Shula. At the entrance to corporate headquarters is a 10-foot statue entitled "Perfect Moment in Time,'' featuring Don Shula on the shoulders of players Nick Buoniconti and Al Jenkins after the 1972 Dolphins completed their undefeated season.
Mike Shula, 48, grew up around all this as his father built one of the NFL's greatest dynasties.
He has fond memories of those years, from sitting in the stands watching childhood and adult hero Bob Griese to charting plays on the sideline when his handwriting became legible -- at the age of 13.
"It's Panthers,'' Shula said. "It's the Panthers going to get their eighth win.''
This isn't the first time Shula has returned to Miami for a game, so it won't stir any big emotions. And it's not like his dad, whose 347 victories between 1970 and 1995 are the most in NFL history, will be standing on the other sideline.
"My dad's still mad at me,'' Shula recalled of one head-to-head meeting. "We beat them down there when I was with Chicago as the tight ends coach. He said we had an illegal pick play that didn't get called.
"That's different, when your dad is on the other sideline ... your brother. That's a lot different.''
Shula is more interested in keeping quarterback Cam Newton playing at a high level and making sure the Panthers win their seventh straight game than he is taking a trip down memory lane.
But he did give some advice on where to eat.
"Shula's,'' he said. "What did you expect me to say?''