The Browns family lost a real icon on Tuesday when former NFL head coach and Browns legend Marty Schottenheimer passed away.
There are a few names that you really notice as coaching legends Cleveland. There’s Paul Brown obviously, duh, the team is named after him. Then there is Sam Rutigliano, of course Bill Belichick. There’s also the former coach who won the NFL champion, Blanton Collier, and it could be a case for people like Romeo Crennel, or Butch Davis Kevin Stefanski but as an outlier. One of the greatest coaches of all time, and arguably the second or third best coach the franchise has ever had, was Marty Schottenheimer.
It was reported by ESPN and other outlets that Schottenheimer passed away Tuesday after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease.
Schottenheimer made big strides as head coach in the NFL, however, with stops in San Diego and a legacy that had sprung from success in Kansas City we Browns fans got to know him and loved him first.
He spent nine seasons with the Browns as a coach, five as head coach and the four previous seasons as defensive coordinator. He brought “Marty Ball” into the crowds, an escape-controlled crime partly fueled by a major defense. Evidence of this appears in Kevin Stefanski’s modern offensive program.
Marty Ball was so successful that Kevin Mack and Earnest Byner became Dueling 1000-yard rushers. While seeing Bernie Kozar, the beloved local boy at the quarterback, who was playing his best football ever.
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Every full year as the Browns head coach, he led Cleveland to the playoffs and made it to the AFC championship game twice. Although Brown’s owner Art Modell made the most of a number of offensive plays and made Clay Matthews Jr. a Hall of Fame player, he fired Schottenheimer after the 1988 season, ending the team’s most sustained period of success since Brown and Collier’s tenure with the team from the 40s to the 60s. All because Modell wanted an “offensive guy” who could keep up with the Oilers.
He would be replaced by Bud Carson, who had spent a year and a half in Cleveland before the Browns signed Belichick, who had expired with Cleveland before they were relocated to Baltimore.
Schottenheimer was successful in Kansas City all along, and his success made fans hate Modell even more. Schottenheimer’s style of play, which defined not just a city or a region, but an entire division, left an indelible mark on the Browns organization. He will not be forgotten anytime soon, but he is already greatly missed.
Thank you, Coach Schottenheimer.