Like many coaches on this list, Marty Schottenheimer had a playing career before becoming a coach. Schottenheimer played linebacker in the AFL for the Buffalo Bills and Boston Patriots. He would go on to have a stellar coaching career, although he will always be remembered for his teams’ near misses.
As a coach, Schottenheimer was a culture-changer. Before being named head coach of the Cleveland Browns, Kansas City Chiefs and San Diego Chargers, those franchises were extremely bad. Within a season, he turned the teams around and led them to playoff contention. He encouraged his players, drove his players and most importantly loved his players.
His playoff losses were often heart-breaking. “The Drive” and “The Fumble” with the Browns in 1986 and 1987 was only the beginning of the heartbreak. While other playoff games didn’t get named, it doesn’t mean that the anguish was any less. Missed field goals and timely turnovers cost him playoff wins with the Chiefs and Chargers. With the one constant being Schottenheimer and his affinity to play a prevent defense which would be referred to as “Martyball.”
When talking about coaches we often look at their coaching tree and Schottenheimer’s tree is excellent. Some of the coaches who worked under Schottenheimer include Super Bowl champions like Bill Cowher, Tony Dungy and Mike McCarthy. Offensive innovators like Bruce Arians, Cam Cameron and Rob Chudzinski. As well as defensive gurus like Wade Phillips, Gunther Cunningham and Herm Edwards. He gave his assistants opportunities to become the great coaches they were.
Schottenheimer’s regular-season record of 200 – 126 – 1 is quite impressive and like some of the other coaches on our list, he deserves to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Sadly, Schottenheimer has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease so hopefully, the Hall of Fame can give him his day in the sun and bring back “the gleam” that he often spoke about.