Don’t Doubt Marty’s Tears … Monday Cup O’Chiefs

The tears Marty Schottenheimer shed on Saturday when he was talking about becoming the 40th member of the Chiefs Hall of Fame were real.

They were always real with Marty. The German’s emotions are always close to the surface. You won’t find many men that have been in the game of football tougher than Martin Edward Schottenheimer. He was so tough that he didn’t much worry about those salty drops coming from his eyes, or the clutch that would come in his throat or what other people might think of them. When something flips that switch, he’s unafraid of allowing his emotions to take control for a few moments.

Many people questioned those tears at times, calling them phony. Those folks didn’t know Marty. I know Marty and I can tell you he’s one of the least phony people you would ever want to meet in any area of life. What you saw with Marty is what you got. He was stubborn, sometimes very stubborn, but he was never afraid to fix a mistake. He once said the best advice his father ever game him was never to be afraid of making a decision, because if you make the wrong decision, you just get another chance to make a decision, and another chance to get it right.

Anybody that followed the Schottenheimer Chiefs can sit and pick at the decisions the head coach made during his time in control of the team. Yes, hindsight is 20-20. Even Marty would agree on some of those second guesses, including starting Elvis Grbac in the ’97 playoffs instead of sticking with Rich Gannon. He knows he wasn’t perfect and never tried to present himself as without failure.

Athletic teams almost always take on the personality of the man leading them, and that was certainly the case with the Chiefs from 1989 through 1998. Those teams of Schottenheimer played the game with emotion, especially on defense where they put together some of the finest seasons in the league in 1989, 1992, 1995 and even that sad final season of 1998. In each of those seasons, the Chiefs were among the top 10 teams in the league for fewest yards allowed.

They have not been there since Marty left. I know there have been moments when he wondered whether it was the right thing for him to do, to walk away from the Chiefs after 10 years. But it was the right move, the pragmatic decision, one that wasn’t ruled by emotion. Marty was always good at making pragmatic decisions.

After 10 years, his message had been heard so many times by his players that they were no longer listening intently. Certainly the Kansas City media corps as a whole wanted new leadership. They like to deny that now, more than a decade after he left, but I was there and I know what I read, what I heard and what I saw. The fans were restless too. They were tired of being patient.

Marty went on to Washington and San Diego, but he never found the same type of working environment that he had in Kansas City. One reason was Lamar Hunt. After dealing with Art Modell in Cleveland, Hunt was a breath of fresh air for him. Schottenheimer learned that even more when he went to work for Dan Snyder with the Redskins.

And he never had a working relationship with a GM like he did with Carl Peterson. It certainly didn’t happen in San Diego where grumpy G.M. A.J. Smith did everything he could to undermine Schottenheimer, eventually convincing the Spanos family that it was time for a coaching change.

Don’t believe any of the old stories and rumors that have bubbled up over the years about the relationship between Peterson and Schottenheimer. In 10 years together, they never got off the same page. They were of like mind and like goal and neither one every spent any time worried about who got credit for what.

They worked under two guiding principles while they were in charge of the Chiefs. For Peterson, his goal was to give Schottenheimer what he needed to win games. If that came with coaches, players, support staff or facilities, then Peterson saw as his duty that he needed to make things happen. It wasn’t until Schottenheimer asked for it that the Chiefs had an indoor practice facility. That came about because of a snowy, icy day on December when the team had to bus over to Lawrence for an indoor practice field and got caught in weather-related traffic coming back. It wasn’t long after that when the Chiefs had a roof over the head to use on bad weather days.

Marty’s principle was simple – win as many games as possible. He understood that the outcome of the game first goes on the record of the head coach. The more victories, the more standing that gave him, not only in his own building, but around the league and especially in the Chiefs nation.

Together Peterson and Schottenheimer built a winner, turning around one of the NFL’s most moribund franchises and making them a contender. Their product was embraced by a community that so badly wanted a winner. It began a remarkable decade of Chiefs football on the field and in the stands. The momentum ran for almost another decade after Marty’s departure, but eventually petered out.

Chiefs fans became spoiled over nearly two decades of always having hope. Yes, there was frustration because a Super Bowl was never reached, let alone won. But every year was a new chance and the Chiefs had a future, a hope of ultimately reaching football’s Holy Grail. With hindsight, some would now call it all a big tease, but frankly it was a time when anything seemed possible for the Chiefs.

That hope has been lost in the last three years, the worst three-season stretch in the history of the franchise. Scott Pioli and Todd Haley fight now to bring it back, to pump life into the franchise, just as Peterson and Schottenheimer did some 20 years ago.

For that work, Marty Schottenheimer’s place in the Chiefs Hall of Fame is deserved. He earned it.


With Marty Schottenheimer going in to the Chiefs Hall of Fame for 2010, who will follow him in the highest honor the franchise can present to a former player and coach?

I don’t have a vote in this Hall of Fame, but I have some thoughts on who I think should become the 41st, 42nd, 43rd and on. Here goes:

2011 – Marcus Allen. Yes, most of his career was spent with the Raiders, but his five seasons with the Chiefs put the cream on top of his NFL exploits. He ran for 3,698 yards and caught passes for 1,153 yards. In those 77 games, he scored 47 touchdowns. Allen set NFL record after NFL record in his last few years, all wearing a Chiefs uniform. More than that was the leadership he brought to the locker room. It came from the way he prepared and practiced, to the way he would talk to his teammates. His time may not have been long with the team, but it was outstanding. Plus, it would be one more chance to rub it in Al Davis’ nose.

2012 – Will Shields. That year Shields will be eligible for the Pro Football Hall of Fame; might as well make it a sweep. There shouldn’t be a second thought about this induction.

2013 – Kevin Ross. OK, so he’s gone to the dark side as an assistant coach with the Raiders. That should not be held against the Rock. From the time he joined the team, until the time he left Ross was a wining performer. He was named to the Pro Bowl twice and his 30 interceptions ranks among the top 1 seven in team history. Deron Cherry, Lloyd Burruss and Albert Lewis are in. Ross needs to join them.

2014 – Donne Edwards. Since the Chiefs starting recording tackles in 1977, only three other players finished their career with more tackles than Edwards. Gary Spani, Art Still and Deron Cherry are part of the Hall. Edwards should join them, not only because of the tackles, but his interceptions, fumbles caused and recovered. It would be five years after he played his final season in ’14.

2015 – Carl Peterson. I’m not sure if six years after his departure will be enough to allow a clearer picture of what Peterson got done during his time in charge of the Chiefs. Quite possibly by then, the success on and off the field will be held in higher esteem. But there’s no question of the influence he had on the franchise and its history. It was such a success that Peterson’s contribution cannot be ignored.

9 Responses to “Don’t Doubt Marty’s Tears … Monday Cup O’Chiefs”

  • March 8, 2010  - johnfromfairfax says:

    Thanks Bob for another outstanding post. Marty was a great coach and is certainly deserving of being in our HOF. I aqree with every player you propose and especially with CP although I’m sure others will argue the point. Chiefs football was great to watch and follow during their time. My hope is that we’ll get back to those days and soon.

  • March 8, 2010  - el cid says:

    Got to say Carl P will be a hard sell. At least as long as the current season ticket holders and fans are at all vocal. It is karma, for all the good he did with Marty and, possibly, with Vermeil, he loved to rub in everyones face just how important (right word?) he was to KC and the Chiefs….. what goes around, comes around. Later when he is a “beloved” senior and after the current mangement stops using him as the great satan maybe, just maybe. I doubt I will live to see a change in how Carl is viewed in KC. How could you honor him at a game and have _______ in the stadium boo?

  • March 8, 2010  - KC#9 says:

    Priest Holmes should go in the Chiefs HOF before Marcus Allen. One long-time fan’s opinion.

  • March 8, 2010  - mmmst says:

    ugh, marcus allen photo..hes so fake.the way he treated my family, my nephew…7 years old walked up to him after a game, no one was around, waited for him to get off his phone…politely asks if he could please have his autograph in all chief gear following his big speech in 03 about “the 12th man”…he gave my nephew such a hard time, was rude, cursed, didnt want attention his way…it was really sad…I lost ALL respect for him…then about 2 weeks later he lost his job with cbs or whoever…karma? I think so.its worse than I am even telling(one autograph…seven years old…onto the program from his big half time ceremony the week before.

    so much for the 12th man eh?

  • March 8, 2010  - gorillafan says:

    well atleast you cant say the same thing about Marty. I know we all hated MARTYBALL and how he couldnt win a Super Bowl, but I for one never dogged him in my early years, why? because we won. Looks pretty good now huh!

  • March 8, 2010  - Debbie Downer says:

    Shotty always choked on the big games. He was okay by Chiefs standards though I guess. How hard is it to stick out in that crowd of Chief coaches.

  • March 9, 2010  - JP says:

    I always crack a smile when you hear an announcer talk about…”you need more that one RB in this league to survive.” Back in the day Marty would get blasted by everyone with “running back by committee doesn’t work!” Perhaps he did know a thing or two about coaching! Congrats Marty…

    Debbie Doucher~ true statement except the big game thing. He’s not the one on the field playing the games. Does anyone remember Lin Elliot or Nate Kaeding? Their were also missed tackles, fumbles, John Elway, and a host of other things that go into his post season record. I know he is the head coach, but you can’t leave all of those losses at his feet alone.

  • March 9, 2010  - Shoe says:

    Carl Peterson for the HOF?

    Gotta admit that seemed a bit strange until I remembered what a gawdawful mess the Chiefs were most of the time from the mid 70′s through the late 1980′s.

  • March 16, 2010  - The Morning Fix: Thomas Jones Day Edition | Arrowhead Addict | A Kansas City Chiefs blog says:

    [...] Don’t Doubt Marty’s Tears … Monday Cup O’ [...]

Get the Flash Player to see the slideshow.


Other News