Less than a week after it was announced he was moving to hospice care, Marty Schottenheimer, former head coach of the Cleveland Browns, Kansas City Chiefs, Washington and San Diego Chargers passed away Monday in North Carolina, with his family by his side, after battling Alzheimer's since 2014. He was 77 years old.
In 21 seasons as an NFL head coach, Schottenhiemer won 200 regular season games, good for 8th all-time in league history. Before his coaching days, Marty played linebacker for the Bills and Patriots from 1965-1970. He was an AFL all-star and champion his rookie year with the Bills in 1965. (#56, third from the right in the last row)
His coaching tree is one of the most impressive in NFL history.
But, the elephant in the room when talking about Marty Schottenheimer is his playoff record. In the regular season he went 200-126-1, good for a .613 winning % but in the playoffs his teams were just 5-13 (.278 winning %) and he lost his last six playoff games. He did reach three AFC Championship games (1986, 1987 & 1993) but was never able to get to the Super Bowl; highlighted by two of the most devastating losses in not just Cleveland, but American sports history with "The Drive" and "The Fumble". Marty's the only coach with 200 wins to have a losing playoff record.
It's part of his story and the history of the NFL. It has to be brought up, but there's better ways of going about it than publications like the Washington Post did.
I'm a push the envelop guy, but's just incredibly poor taste. The headline has since been changed.
Yes, Marty Ball seemed to always go south in the playoffs, but how much of it is fair to place on this man's shoulders? Genuinely curious because most of his success took place before I was alive/actively following football. When I think of Marty, I think of the Charger years. I've seen plenty of NFL Films footage, but none of that can replicate living through it in real life. Did Marty fumble or did Ernest Byner and Marlon McCree? Is it his fault that Lin Elliot and Nate Kaeding were allergic to making field goals in the playoffs? Either way, I'm not sure an obituary is the time or place to harp on the guy for not winning a Super Bowl.
What I do know is that Marty Shcottenheimer is a football guy through and through. His story is woven in the fabric of the NFL. He played in the AFL and NFL. He coached in the World Football League in 1974 and won his lone championship as a head coach with the Virginia Destroyers of the UFL in 2011.
In the NFL he turned around teams who were down. As coach of the Chiefs, he lead them to the playoffs seven times in 10 seasons, after they only made the playoffs twice between 1970 and 1988 after winning Super Bowl IV in 1969.
Prior to his arrival in San Diego in 2002, the Chargers had only made the playoffs three times since 1983. In 2004 he won AP coach of the year and lead the Chargers to a 12-4 record before they lost to the Jets in OT. His kicker, Nate Kaeding, missed a 40 yarder (a very makable kick, even in 2004 standards) in OT that would've won the game. In his final year as coach of the Chargers, they went 14-2, best in the NFL, LT was league MVP. If wasn't for Troy Brown and one of the most heads up plays in NFL history there's a chance the Chargers end up Super Bowl XLI champs and are still playing in San Diego.
Marty coached for 21 seasons and didn't have his first losing year until his 15th and only had two losing seasons overall (He went 7-9 in 1998, his final season with Chiefs and 4-12 in 2003 with the Chargers) in over two decades as a head coach. From all that I've read and watched, it seems like Marty Schottenheimer was a good man and incredibly well respected by his peers. He was married to his wife Pat for over 54 years, had two children, Kristen and Brian and four grandchildren. Brain coached under Marty and recently was added to Urban Myer's staff in Jacksonville.
As someone who lost their grandfather to Alzheimer's, I've gotten a glimpse into how cruel that disease can be. I'm sure his family is feeling a lot of pain that he's gone, but also some relief to know that he's no longer suffering from a such a vicious disease. I hope that Marty finally got to catch the gleam. R.I.P.
After losing the Super Bowl Sunday night, Andy Reid payed his respects to Marty and his family following the news that he was in hospice care. Huge hashtag good move by Andy to give that message after such a tough loss for a great team on the biggest stage.
Marty was an all-time hat guy and rocked the hell out of 90's starter jackets. R.I.P.