Marty Schottenheimer

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Marty Schottenheimer
Unposed head and shoulders photograph of Schottenheimer wearing a red and white striped polo shirt and dark sunglasses
Schottenheimer during 2013 preseason
No. 56, 57, 54
Position: Linebacker
Personal information
Date of birth: (1943-09-23) September 23, 1943 (age 73)
Place of birth: Canonsburg, Pennsylvania
Height: 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)
Weight: 225 lb (102 kg)
Career information
High school: McDonald (PA) Fort Cherry
College: Pittsburgh
NFL Draft: 1965 / Round: 4 / Pick: 49
AFL draft: 1965 / Round: 7 / Pick: 56
Career history
As player:
As coach:
Career highlights and awards
Head coaching record
Regular season: 200–126–1 (.613)
Postseason: 6–13 (.316)
Career: 206–139–1 (.597)
Player stats at PFR
Coaching stats at PFR

Martin Edward Schottenheimer (/ˈʃɒtənhmər/; born September 23, 1943) is a former professional American football player and coach. Over his career, he has served as head coach of the Cleveland Browns, Kansas City Chiefs, Washington Redskins, and San Diego Chargers. He has the most wins of any NFL coach since 1966 to never coach a team in a Super Bowl (which was first held in that year). He was fired from his head coaching position with the San Diego Chargers in 2007, after leading the Chargers to a 14–2 record but a disappointing second round loss. He later emerged as the head coach of the Virginia Destroyers of the United Football League, where he would win his only championship as a coach in his lone season there.

In 21 years as an NFL head coach, Schottenheimer won 200 regular season games and 5 out of 18 games in the postseason. He had only two seasons with more losses than wins in his entire career, and none until his 15th season; the Browns finished with a losing record in his first season, but with Schottenheimer as their coach, they were 4–4. He is the only coach in NFL history with at least 200 wins that has a losing playoff record.

Early life and playing career[edit]

Schottenheimer was born in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania.[1] He attended high school at Fort Cherry High School in McDonald, Pennsylvania. After attending the University of Pittsburgh, Schottenheimer, a linebacker, was selected in the fourth round of the 1965 NFL Draft by the Baltimore Colts and in the seventh round of the 1965 American Football League draft by the Buffalo Bills. He signed with the Bills and spent the next four (1965, 1966, 1967, and 1968) seasons with Buffalo, including the Bills' 1965 AFL Championship season, when he was selected to the AFL All-Star Team. Schottenheimer was still with the team during the 1969 preseason and intercepted two passes in a game against the Houston Oilers.[2]

Some time between the 1969 preseason and regular season, Schottenheimer was sent to the Boston Patriots and spent the next two seasons with the Pats. He was traded to the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1971 but was traded again to the Colts before the beginning of the 1971 season. He retired from football in 1971 and spent the next several years working in the real estate industry. Schottenheimer credits his professional playing career as being his inspiration for coaching.

Schottenheimer came out of retirement in 1974 to sign with the Portland Storm of the World Football League as a player-coach. He injured his shoulder prior to the start of the season, but stayed on with the Storm as their linebackers coach.

Coaching career[edit]

Schottenheimer's professional coaching career began in 1974 when he became linebackers coach for the Portland Storm of the World Football League. In 1975 he was hired as a linebackers coach for the NFL's New York Giants and in 1977 became defensive coordinator. Schottenheimer spent 1978 and 1979 as the linebackers coach for the NFL's Detroit Lions.[3]

Cleveland Browns[edit]

In 1980, he was hired as the defensive coordinator for the Cleveland Browns. On October 22, 1984, Schottenheimer replaced Sam Rutigliano as Browns head coach. The 1–7 Browns then went 4–4 under Schottenheimer to finish the season with a 5–11 record. Schottenheimer would remain with the Browns until 1988, amassing a 44–27 (.620) regular-season record and a 2–4 (.333) mark in the playoffs, including four playoff appearances, three AFC Central Division titles, and two trips to the AFC Championship Game (both against the Denver Broncos).[3][4]

Kansas City Chiefs[edit]

Schottenheimer spent 10 seasons as head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs, from 1989 to 1998 recording a 101–58–1 regular season record (.634) and had three division titles, seven playoff appearances, and a trip to the AFC Championship game in 1993, losing to the Buffalo Bills. After a disappointing 7–9 season in 1998, Schottenheimer resigned as Chiefs head coach on January 11, 1999.

Washington Redskins[edit]

After working as a football analyst for ESPN from 1999 to 2000, Schottenheimer was hired as head coach of the Washington Redskins for the 2001 season.[3] Schottenheimer's Redskins became the first team in NFL history to win five consecutive games immediately after losing its first five games. The Redskins won eight of their final eleven games to narrowly miss the post season. Despite this, in a controversial move, Daniel Snyder, the owner of the Redskins, fired Schottenheimer on January 13, 2002 after just one 8–8 season to make room for former University of Florida head coach Steve Spurrier.

San Diego Chargers[edit]

The San Diego Chargers hired Schottenheimer as their 13th head coach on January 29, 2002. Schottenheimer posted a 47–33 record (.588) with the Chargers. His success didn't come immediately, as the team posted a 4–12 record in 2003, thereby "earning" the first overall pick in the draft. He was named NFL Coach of the Year for the 2004 NFL season. Schottenheimer led the team to two playoff appearances, his 12th and 13th as a head coach. However, both appearances resulted in disappointing losses; to the underdog New York Jets in overtime in 2005, and to the New England Patriots in 2007, bringing his playoff record to 5–13.

Schottenheimer with a Chargers fan during his tenure as San Diego's coach.

Schottenheimer was abruptly fired by San Diego on February 12, 2007. Reasons for his firing include a strained relationship with general manager A. J. Smith, which reached a breaking point when four assistants (Cam Cameron, Wade Phillips, Rob Chudzinski and Greg Manusky) left for positions with other teams. These coaches all left to pursue higher level opportunities with other teams, which cannot be prevented by the team they are leaving under NFL rules; two of them became head coaches, instead of merely making a lateral move to the same position with another team.

Jim Trotter, of the San Diego Union Tribune, also believes that Schottenheimer's insistence that his brother, Kurt Schottenheimer, replace Phillips as the defensive coordinator further strained the relationship between team president Dean Spanos and Schottenheimer. Spanos had always been against the idea of allowing relatives to be on the same coaching staff, even though Schottenheimer's son Brian was the Chargers' quarterbacks coach. Schottenheimer even went as far to book a flight to San Diego for his brother, Kurt, against Spanos' wishes. This act of defiance increased the gap between Spanos and Schottenheimer.[5]

Dean Spanos released a statement saying "Our fans deserve to know what changed for me over the last month. When I decided to move ahead with Marty Schottenheimer in mid-January, I did so with the expectation that the core of his fine coaching staff would remain intact. Unfortunately, that did not prove to be the case, and the process of dealing with these coaching changes convinced me that we simply could not move forward with such dysfunction between our head coach and general manager. In short, this entire process over the last month convinced me beyond any doubt that I had to act to change this untenable situation and create an environment where everyone at Charger Park would be pulling in the same direction and working at a championship level. I expect exactly that from our entire Charger organization in 2007."[6]

Schottenheimer was still owed $4 million for the final year of his contract, as the firing was "without cause".[7] Schottenheimer was replaced as San Diego head coach by Norv Turner—coincidentally the last full-time head coach the Redskins had before Schottenheimer's arrival. Following the Chargers' subsequent 1–3 start the next season, fans at Qualcomm Stadium voiced their displeasure with the firing by chanting "Marty! Marty! Marty!"[8] In his NFL coaching career, 17 coaches have been hired by teams that previously employed him, and all but the Chargers have a losing record in their post-Schottenheimer eras.[9]

Virginia Destroyers (UFL)[edit]

Schottenheimer holding the 2011 UFL Championship following the Destroyers win over Las Vegas.

In March 2011, the Virginia Destroyers hired Schottenheimer to be their first head coach and general manager, at the age of 67.[10] In order to lure Schottenheimer to the Destroyers, league majority owner William Hambrecht personally guaranteed he would pay Schottenheimer's $1.1 million salary for the eight-game season.[11] He led the Destroyers to a 4–1 record in the shortened 2011 regular season, earning a playoff berth with home-field advantage in his first season. Schottenheimer's efforts earned him the 2011 United Football League Coach of the Year award.[12] His starting running back, Dominic Rhodes, was also named the MVP of the 2011 UFL season.[13]

On October 21, 2011, the Virginia Destroyers derailed the two-time defending UFL Champion Las Vegas Locomotives 17–3 in the 2011 UFL Championship Game at the Virginia Beach Sportsplex. It was Schottenheimer's first ever championship as a coach.[14]

Schottenheimer abruptly resigned from the Destroyers shortly before the 2012 season, citing discomfort over unspecified issues facing the team that season and the failure of the team to meet also-unspecified conditions for his return.[15] Schottenheimer later sued Hambrecht after not receiving any of the money he was owed.[11]

Television work[edit]

Soon after being replaced as head coach of the San Diego Chargers, he was hired by ESPN to work as an NFL Insider on the network, returning to a role he had served in between his coaching stints with the Kansas City Chiefs and the Washington Redskins. He has recently been seen on SportsCenter and NFL Live.

Personal life[edit]

Schottenheimer has been married to his wife, Pat, since 1968. They live on Lake Norman in North Carolina. They have two children, a daughter, Kristen and a son, Brian, who serves as the quarterbacks coach for the Indianapolis Colts. Marty's younger brother Kurt has also served as an NFL coach. In 2011, Schottenheimer was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's disease. The diagnosis was announced publicly in 2016.[16]

Head coaching record[edit]

Team Year Regular Season Post Season
Won Lost Ties Win % Finish Won Lost Win % Result
CLE 1984 4 4 0 .500 3rd in AFC Central - - - -
CLE 1985 8 8 0 .500 1st in AFC Central 0 1 .000 Lost to Miami Dolphins in Divisional Game.
CLE 1986 12 4 0 .750 1st in AFC Central 1 1 .500 Lost to Denver Broncos in AFC Championship Game.
CLE 1987 10 5 0 .667 1st in AFC Central 1 1 .500 Lost to Denver Broncos in AFC Championship Game.
CLE 1988 10 6 0 .625 2nd in AFC Central 0 1 .000 Lost to Houston Oilers in AFC Wild-Card Game.
CLE Total 44 27 0 .620 2 4 .333
KC 1989 8 7 1 .533 2nd in AFC West - - - -
KC 1990 11 5 0 .688 2nd in AFC West 0 1 .000 Lost to Miami Dolphins in Wild Card Game.
KC 1991 10 6 0 .625 2nd in AFC West 1 1 .500 Lost to Buffalo Bills in Divisional Game.
KC 1992 10 6 0 .625 2nd in AFC West 0 1 .000 Lost to San Diego Chargers in Wild Card Game.
KC 1993 11 5 0 .688 1st in AFC West 2 1 .667 Lost to Buffalo Bills in AFC Championship.
KC 1994 9 7 0 .563 2nd in AFC West 0 1 .000 Lost to Miami Dolphins in AFC Wild-Card Game.
KC 1995 13 3 0 .813 1st in AFC West 0 1 .000 Lost to Indianapolis Colts in AFC Divisional Game.
KC 1996 9 7 0 .563 2nd in AFC West - - - -
KC 1997 13 3 0 .813 1st in AFC West 0 1 .000 Lost to Denver Broncos in AFC Divisional Game.
KC 1998 7 9 0 .438 4th in AFC West - - - -
KC Total 101 58 1 .635 3 7 .300
WAS 2001 8 8 0 .500 2nd in NFC East - - - -
WAS Total 8 8 0 .500 - - - -
SD 2002 8 8 0 .500 3rd in AFC West - - - -
SD 2003 4 12 0 .250 4th in AFC West - - - -
SD 2004 12 4 0 .750 1st in AFC West 0 1 .000 Lost to New York Jets in AFC Wild-Card Game.
SD 2005 9 7 0 .563 3rd in AFC West - - - -
SD 2006 14 2 0 .875 1st in AFC West 0 1 .000 Lost to New England Patriots in AFC Divisional Game.
SD Total 47 33 0 .588 0 2 .000
NFL Total 200 126 1 .613 5 13 .278 -
VA 2011 4 1 0 .800 1st in UFL 1 0 1.000 Beat Las Vegas Locomotives in UFL Championship Game
VA Total 4 1 0 .750 1 0 1.000
Total[17] 203 127 1 .606 6 13 .315

Schottenheimer coaching tree[edit]

Schottenheimer was heavily influenced by Lou Saban, his first professional head coach in the American Football League. In turn, several current NFL Head Coaches trace their lineage back to Marty Schottenheimer on his Coaching tree:

Schottenheimer Coaching Tree.svg

Schottenheimer gave many head coaches their first coaching jobs. All of these coaches have coached under Schottenheimer:

Schottenheimer's son Brian was the New York Jets offensive coordinator before announcing his intent to leave in January 2012. When the Jets defeated the San Diego Chargers in the 2009 Divisional Playoffs, Jets Head Coach Rex Ryan sent Marty the game ball as a friendly gesture regarding the team that had fired him three years earlier.[18] Brian later became the offensive coordinator for the St. Louis Rams and currently serves as the quarterbacks coach for the Indianapolis Colts.

Schottenheimer's younger brother Kurt coached the Green Bay Packers' secondary from 2006 to 2008 before he was fired. Kurt was most recently serving as Marty's successor as head coach with the Virginia Destroyers of the now defunct UFL (this is not reflected in the above tree, which shows only NFL-based relationships).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Schottenheimer, Martin (Marty). Pennsylvania Center for the Book. Pennsylvania State University.
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b c "Marty Schottenheimer". San Diego Chargers. January 7, 2015. Archived from the original on January 24, 2007. 
  4. ^ "Marty Schottenheimer coaching record". Retrieved January 7, 2015. 
  5. ^ "Marty's escape route | The San Diego Union-Tribune". 2007-02-18. Retrieved 2010-09-27. 
  6. ^ "> San Diego Chargers – Statement from Chargers president Dean Spanos". 2007-02-12. Retrieved 2010-09-27. 
  7. ^ Acee, Kevin (2007-02-13). "> San Diego Chargers – Chargers give Schottenheimer the ax". Retrieved 2010-09-27. 
  8. ^
  9. ^ "The Marty Schottenheimer Effect". National Football League. 2013-01-02. Retrieved 2013-01-21. 
  10. ^
  11. ^ a b Harris, Joe (October 18, 2012). Marty Schottenheimer Sues UFL Founder. Courthouse News Service. Retrieved October 18, 2012.
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^ Robinson, Tom (September 20, 2012). Coach: I won't go 'deep into' reasons for leaving Destroyers. The Virginian-Pilot. Retrieved September 20, 2012.
  16. ^ Grossi, Tony (28 October 2016). "Alzheimer's disease won't prevent Marty Schottenheimer from attending 30th reunion of Browns 1986 season". 
  17. ^ "Marty Schottenheimer Record, Statistics, and Category Ranks". 1943-09-23. Retrieved 2010-09-27. 
  18. ^ "Ryan sends game ball from playoff win to Marty Schottenheimer". 2010-01-21. Retrieved 2010-09-27.