‘Looking down on us from heaven’: Former Browns coach Marty Schottenheimer passes away at 77

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WJW) – Former NFL coach Marty Schottenheimer, 77, has passed away after being moved to a hospice facility near his home in Charlotte, North Carolina, last month.

Schottenheimer died Monday night at a hospice in Charlotte, North Carolina, his family said through Bob Moore, former Kansas City Chiefs publicist.

His family released the following statement:

Schottenheimer, 77, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2014. 

Schottenheimer was the defensive coordinator for the Cleveland Browns before becoming the head coach. He spent eight years with the organization.

The Browns issued the following statement Tuesday:

“The Cleveland Browns are saddened to learn of the passing of Marty Schottenheimer. As a head coach, he led the organization to four playoff appearances and three divisional titles, but it was his tough, hard-nosed, never give up the fight attitude the team embodied that endeared him to Browns fans and often led to thrilling victories. His impact on the game of football was not only felt in Northeast Ohio but across the entire NFL. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Pat, and his entire family.”

He went on to be the head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs, the Washington Redskins and the San Diego Chargers.

Schottenheimer was the eighth-winningest coach in NFL history. He went 200-126-1 in 21 seasons with the Cleveland Browns, Kansas City Chiefs, Washington Redskins and San Diego Chargers.

His success was rooted in “Martyball,” a conservative approach that featured a strong running game and tough defense. He hated the then-Oakland Raiders and loved the mantra, “One play at a time,” which he’d holler at his players in the pre-kickoff huddle.

Winning in the regular season was never a problem. Schottenheimer’s teams won 10 or more games 11 times, including a glistening 14-2 record with the Chargers in 2006 that earned them the AFC’s No. 1 seed in the playoffs.

It’s what happened in January that haunted Schottenheimer, who was just 5-13 in the postseason.

His playoff demons followed him to the end of his career.

In his final game, on Jan. 14, 2007, Schottenheimer’s Chargers, featuring NFL MVP LaDainian Tomlinson and a cast of Pro Bowlers, imploded with mind-numbing mistakes and lost a home divisional round playoff game to Tom Brady and the New England Patriots, 24-21.

A month later, owner Dean Spanos stunned the NFL when he fired Schottenheimer, mostly because of a personality clash between the coach and strong-willed general manager A.J. Smith.

Schottenheimer was 44-27 with the Cleveland Browns from 1984-88, 101-58-1 with Kansas City from 1989-98; 8-8 with Washington in 2001 and 47-33 with San Diego from 2002-06.

Fox 8’s John Telich tweeted about Schottenheimer after hearing the news Tuesday.

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