NFL head coaching legend Marty Schottenheimer passed away Monday, February 8, 2021, in North Carolina at the age of 77.
Schottenheimer is best known for his winning record as a head coach for the Cleveland Browns, Kansas City Chiefs, Washington Redskins, and San Diego Chargers.
It was announced via tweet by Chris Mortensen that Schottenheimer had passed away with his family by his side. In 2014 Schottenheimer was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease which he continued to battle for the next seven years.
Born in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania September 23, 1943, Schottenheimer grew up playing football and was drafted in the seventh round by the Buffalo Bills in the 1965 AFL draft. Schottenheimer played linebacker for the Buffalo Bills and Boston Patriots, he played five years in the league and retired at just 27 years old.
After his playing career Schottenheimer began his coaching career as a linebackers coach for the New York Giants in 1975 but was promoted to defensive coordinator in just two years. After just three years with the Giants Schottenheimer became the new linebackers coach for the Detroit Lions. After two years with the Lions, he was hired as the defensive coordinator for the Cleveland Browns.
Schottenheimer spent four years as the Browns defensive coordinator in 1984 the Browns decided to fire their head coach and promote Schottenheimer mid-season, the Browns would miss the playoffs in 1984 but ended with a winning record. As head coach for the Browns Schottenheimer had an impressive 44-27 record. Schottenheimer turned the team around and made the playoffs all four times as the year-long head coach for the team.
On January 24, 1989, was hired to be the head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs. In just his first year the Chiefs had a winning record but missed the playoffs for just the first time as the season-long head coach. After making the playoffs in 1990, 1991, and 1992 the Chiefs traded for Hall of Famer Joe Montana. Schottenheimer continued to win and make the playoffs, in 1994 Schottenheimer and Montana led an overtime comeback against the Pittsburgh Steelers. In 10 seasons with the Chiefs Schottenheimer only missed the playoffs four times and finished with an overall record of 101-58-1.
Although he still hadn’t made it to the big game Schottenheimer proved he was a winner and was known for bringing his winning mindset to the field. After the 1998 season Schottenheimer retired to join ESPN as an analyst but couldn’t sit in the booth for too long. Schottenheimer was hired as the head coach for the Redskins, with the Redskins Schottenheimer became the first coach to win five games straight after losing their first five games. The Redskins narrowly missed the playoffs and Schottenheimer was fired after an 8-8 season but wasn’t done coaching in the NFL.
Schottenheimer was known for a style of football coined “Marty Ball” which he brought to each team he coached. Schottenheimer then landed in sunny San Diego, but success didn’t come right away. In his first two seasons, Schottenheimer missed the playoffs, in 2004 the Chargers led by Schottenheimer and Drew Brees made the playoffs but would eventually lose to the New York Jets in the AFC Wild Card game. Schottenheimer would make the playoffs again in 2006, this time with Phillip Rivers at the QB position. Schottenheimer and the Chargers battled against Tom Brady and the Patriots in the divisional round but eventually fell in a close three-point game in San Diego. After the loss to the Patriots Schottenheimer would be fired by owner Dean Spanos but finished with a 47-33 record as a coach of the Chargers.
Schottenheimer retired as one of the best coaches ever and is eighth all-time in wins, he coached all-time greats like Drew Brees, Phillip Rivers, Joe Montana, Marcus Allen, and Ladainian Tomilson etc. Schottenheimer was a winner, he loved the game of football, and brought the intensity to each team that he coached.
Many of his former players expressed their regards for Schottenheimer like Drew Brees who said, “The lessons and wisdom of Marty Schottenheimer will forever ring in my ears.”
The Cleveland Browns released a tribute video on Twitter titled: “There’s a gleam, men. There’s a gleam.”
Marty Schottenheimer will be known as a husband, father, and football legend. Although he struggled in the playoffs Schottenheimer emphasized “Marty Ball” a philosophy still used today and is recognized as one of the best football coaches of all-time.
Written by: Carson Cook | @carsoncook.talks
Cover Photo: Marty Schottenheimer Title Card by the National Football League (NFL)