On Tuesday morning, the west coast woke up to the news that former NFL head coach Marty Schottenheimer had passed away at 77 after a lengthy fight with Alzheimer’s. He coached in the NFL for 21 seasons and had a 200-126-1 all-time record.
Schottenheimer believed in running the football while playing tough defense. It was called “Marty Ball.”
He was the head coach of the San Diego Chargers from 2002-2006.
He left a massive impact not only as a coach but as a man.
“The lessons and wisdom of Marty Schottenheimer will forever ring in my ears. He loved his players, and he loved his family. I am so grateful and honored to have played for him. Rest in Peace Coach Marty,” put former quarterback Drew Brees on Instagram.
There were many questions about Brees when he took over as the starter for the Bolts. He was benched at times, but Marty stuck with him. In 2004, Brees had a breakout year completing 66 percent of his passes for 3,159 yards, 27 touchdowns, and only seven interceptions.
Brees went on to have a hall of fame career and win a Super Bowl in 2009 as a member of the New Orleans Saints.
“Some people come into your life and end up changing your world... The lessons Marty taught me reached far beyond the football field. For that, I will forever be grateful to him and the entire Schottenheimer family. Rest in peace, coach!” tweeted out LaDainian Tomlinson.
Tomlinson grew as a running back under “Marty Ball.” The offensive line was one of the best in the league and opened up holes for Tomlinson to zoom past it on his way to the end zone. In 2006, LT hit his stride rushing for a league leader 1,815 rushing yards and 31 total touchdowns (an NFL record).
Tomlinson won the MVP that season. In 2017, he was inducted into the Hall of Fame, and during his amazing speech, he asked Marty and his wife, Pat, to stand, and the crowd gave them a standing ovation. Tomlinson called him “the best coach ever.”
Marty was more than a coach to numerous players. He would pull guys off to the side and built a special relationship with them.
He was also known for his pregame speeches that would fire players up. One of his famous sayings was "One play at a time." It is a saying that a lot of players are bringing up.
“Coach Schottenheimer got the attention of a room and had a way of delivering the message he wanted received in a way only he could,” was part of the message said by his former quarterback Philip Rivers.
Marty named Rivers his starting quarterback in 2006. He helped the young quarterback ease his way into the NFL, especially with the MVP season LT was having. The Chargers went 14-2 that season, which was the best season a head coach has ever had in franchise history.
Other players like Shawne Merriman, Roman Oben, Nick Hardwick and Shaun Phillips thanked Marty for his inspirational words.
Shaun Phillips even tweeted, “It’s a sad day on earth, but a good day in heaven.”
The Chargers franchise has featured 16 head coaches so far, with number 17 about to start his tenure, but as a man, leader, and biggest impact on players, Marty might be in a league of his own.