Sad news out of Charlotte, North Carolina this morning as it has been reported that former NFL head coach, Marty Schottenheimer has passed away at the age of 77. There was a time when Schottenheimer almost became the head coach of the Miami Dolphins.
Schottenheimer coached in the NFL from 1984 to 2006 before hanging it up. He was known as coaching what was referred to as “Marty-Ball”, and it was successful, most of the time.
Schottenheimer coached the Browns from ’84 to 1988. After a four-win season in his first season, he coached the Browns to eight wins before finishing his career in Cleveland three consecutive seasons of ten wins or more. It wasn’t enough to keep his job and the Browns went in a different direction. Downward.
In Kansas City, Schottenheimer was the head coach from ’89 to 1998 leading the Chiefs to six seasons of ten or more wins and two more nine-win seasons. He coached the following year in Washington for one season and then wrapped his career with five years in San Diego.
Overall, Schottenheimer finished his 21-year career with 200 wins, 126 losses, and one tie. Statistics that are good enough to be considered Hall of Fame worthy but he never able to get to the Super Bowl. If there was a downside to Schottenheimer’s coaching, he couldn’t win in the post-season. In 18 playoff games, he was 5 and 13.
There were rumblings in 1996 that Don Shula believed that Marty should follow him in Miami. Of course, the Dolphins went with Jimmy Johnson but when Johnson left the team, Shula pushed again, according to rumors at the time, yes, I am that old, that Schottenheimer should take over for Johnson. Wayne Huizenga, however, listened to Johnson and promoted Dave Wannstedt.
How much of those rumors were true will never be known but Shula and Schottenheimer remained friends throughout their coaching career and afterward. It would be interesting to look into an alternative universe where Schottenheimer and not Wannstedt coached Miami.
Regardless, today’s news of his passing is sad. He had been battling Alzheimer’s since 2014 but it doesn’t matter if he is in the Hall of Fame or not, he was one of the more polarizing and well-liked head coaches in the NFL and next to Shula, my second favorite all-time. Rest in peace, Mr. Schottenheimer. Our thoughts and prayers are of course with his family.