Former Browns head coach Marty Schottenheimer is on his last legs, but the former head coach should always be remembered as an area legend.
We will soon have to say goodbye to a football legend in Marty Schottenheimer, who is dealing with Alzheimer’s disease and was recently moved to a hospice center. While the news of his health is sad, we as fans shouldn’t just mourn the man, but celebrate him. Schottenheimer may not be a name many of you remember from the Browns history or even NFL history, but if you do, you probably remember him best as the San Diego Chargers head coach when he had the greatest threesome ever, Dree Brees, LaDanian Tomilson, and Doug Flutie.
Ok, maybe “greatest” is a personal opinion, but it’s fair to say not many remember how instrumental Shocttenheimer was in Cleveland’s success during the late 1980s.
Schottenheimer was a coach in Cleveland for nine seasons, four as the defensive coordinator, and five as a head coach. During his five years as a head coach, he had a record of 44-27, with three winning seasons and two AFC title game appearances.
The only time the Browns have made it to the AFC title game in their history.
Schottenheimer also made the Kansas City Chiefs a threat in the ’90s as well, before going on to have a one-year stint in Washington, before finishing up as a head coach in the NFL with the Chargers.
His ability to win everywhere he went wasn’t just his only defining quality, but he was known for getting the most out of his players as well.
Browns legend Bernie Kozar never had the same production once Schottenheimer left as he did during the days he was coached by him. Schottenheimer turned little-known Chiefs fullback Christian Okoye into a Pro Bowler and one of the most feared runners of his era. He even got the most out of Marcus Allen, long after Allen was an elite runner with the Raiders.
He not only revived Allen’s career after injuries derailed it, but he also revived Joe Montana’s career and extended it for two more seasons. Then he took Montana’s former backup in San Francisco, Steve Bono, and turned him into a Pro Bowler after Montana retired.
He also served as the foundation for Rich Gannon, Drew Brees, and Phillip Rivers’ careers. Without Schottenheimer’s early influence, who knows if Oakland takes a chance on Gannon or if Brees has the tools to succeed in the NFL.
It wasn’t just the offensive talent he helped developed that made him so good, but the defensive talent as well. All but one of Clay Matthews’ seasons as a Pro Bowler came under Schottenheimer’s scheme. If that wasn’t enough, people routinely don’t give the ’90s era Chiefs the credit they deserve for being ferocious on defense. Guys like Derek Thomas and Neil Smith were perennial Pro Bowlers during the Schottenheimer era.
Long time Chief and Charger player, Donnie Edwards, saw continued success in both Kansas City and San Diego in part due to playing for Schottenheimer. His production exploded in San Diego as a high-level player after he followed his former coach there. He wasn’t the only Chargers player who benefited from Schottenheimer. Junior Seau, who had fallen off by this point, went to one last Pro Bowl because of Schottenheimer’s scheme. Little known nose tackle Jamal Williams became a multi-time Pro Bowler because of Schottenheimer and the combination of that same Chargers defensive scheme that helped everyone else previously mentioned (and steroids) got Shawne Merrimen to the Pro Bowl during the Chargers “Marty-ball” era.
Schottenheimer did so much right and won many games because of his “Marty-ball” approach. He made men into legends and gave legends one last shot at glory.
For all of these reasons and more, Schottenheimer is a true football legend.