Marty vs. Raiders, One More Time

It is oh so appropriate that the Chiefs saved the moment for honoring their most recent addition to the team’s Hall of Fame for this Sunday.

Who is should be playing at Arrowhead Stadium when Marty Schottenheimer is inducted as the 40th member of the Chiefs Hall? It’s none other than his favorite opponent – the Raiders.

There is not another team that juiced Marty the way the silver and black did. Whether he was coaching the Browns, Chiefs, Redskins or Chargers, he lived to beat the hated Raiders. If Darth Raider himself is in the stadium on Sunday, the mere whiff of Schottenheimer scent will be enough to make Al Davis lose his lunch.

Here’s how it breaks down over Marty’s 21 seasons as a head coach against the Raiders:

  • Cleveland     1-2.
  • Chiefs     18-3.
  • Redskins    0-0.
  • Chargers    8-2
  • Overall    27-7, a .794 winning percentage.

Even more remarkable is that of his 205 total victories, 13 percent came against a single team – the Raiders. No coach in the 51 seasons of Raiders football whether it was Oakland, Los Angeles or back to Oakland had the silver and black in his pocket like Marty did.

Although it helped, that’s not the singular reason he’s joining Hank Stram as the only head coaches among the most honored Chiefs. He’s going in because of his work with Carl Peterson in turning around what at the time was the most moribund franchise in the NFL. Short of the building of the team from nothing to 1962 AFL championship that Stram did in the early days of the American Football League, nobody has a greater effect on the fortunes of the Hunt Family franchise than Schottenheimer/Peterson starting in 1989.

That happened because they worked together as a team. Predictions were made when they were both hired that they would eventually fracture because of internal discord between head coach and GM. It never happened. From their first day to last, they worked under the same credo that they didn’t care who got the credit, they just wanted to win.

And win they did, changing the fortunes of the franchise and turning Kansas City into a football town again. The only losing season of the 10 where Schottenheimer was the head coach was his last in 1998 at 7-9. Overall, the Chiefs were 104-65-1 in that decade (1989-98) and they went to the playoffs six times. It would have been seven times if not for that tie in ’89 when Nick Lowery missed three field goals at Cleveland and the teams ended up playing to a tie that cost the Chiefs a spot in the tournament.

It’s hard to believe that now a dozen seasons have passed since Marty was the Chiefs head coach. He’s been the head coach of two other teams in the years since. He took a ride on the Dan Snyder merry-go-round with the Redskins and finished 8-8 in the 2001 season in one of the best coaching jobs of his career. Then it was five seasons with the Chargers, where he was able to enjoy great success with a 47-35 record (2002-06) before GM A.J. Smith fired him. That Smith could not get along with Schottenheimer tells us far more about Smith than it does about Marty.

Through it all, Marty has said several things. First, he should have never quit the Chiefs in ’98, losing the best owner and GM he ever worked with. Had there been a thought to giving him a sabbatical and letting him sit out a year they all might have changed history. Second, he never experienced the joy and pain that comes with the passion of the fans like he did in 10 years in Kansas City. Three, he loved coaching. It was almost like he was born to do the job.

He always said that being the head coach of an NFL team has less to do with coaching, and more to do with solving problems. “Every day some sort of problem walks through that door,” Marty said one afternoon in his Arrowhead office. “Football, medical, legal, family, personal, league – the head coach’s job is to minimize the problems.”

And he was built for that task. He always followed something his father had told him many years before – don’t be afraid to make a decision, because if you make the wrong decision, you’ll just have another chance to make a decision. In that vein, Marty was a decisive decision-maker. He will tell you he wasn’t always right, that he made mistakes, but he was never afraid to move forward.

Why his team’s did not have success in the playoffs is inexplicable. With 205 victories, Schottenheimer has the sixth most coaching wins in the history of the NFL, trailing only Don Shula (347), George Halas (324), Tom Landry (270), Curly Lambeau (229) and Chuck Noll (209). All five coached longer than Marty’s 21 seasons, some considerably longer, like 40 for Halas and 33 for Shula and Lambeau. All five had winning records in the playoffs. Schottenheimer was 5-13.

But he’s not alone with having regular season success and post-season disappointment. Chuck Knox was 7-11 in the playoffs, after winning 186 games in the regular season. Bud Grant was 10-12, Steve Owen 2-8, Tony Dungy 9-10 and Jeff Fisher 5-6.

It does not tarnish the man or the coach in my view. The Hunts, the Chiefs and the fans he helped bring back to Arrowhead should be forever thankful. Few have been better at organizing, planning and coaching a team than Martin Edward Schottenheimer.

Just ask the Raiders.


3 Responses to “Marty vs. Raiders, One More Time”

  • January 2, 2011  - bhive01 says:

    Martyball is what I grew up with and made me the Chiefs fan I am today. I’m hoping Haleyball can get us back to our former glory. So good, so far.


  • January 2, 2011  - Milkman says:

    I remember the fire in Marty on Raider week. He made no bones about the way he felt about Al Davis. When asked about it he always said he would explain in detail once he was out of coaching for good. It sure would be neat to hear what happened between the two of them.


  • January 2, 2011  - el cid says:

    Marty was one of the few “modern era” coaches who hated the raiders close to we fans. If I remember correctly, Vermeil was “amazed” at the way the fans viewed the rivalry.

    How this game is viewed by Haley is more in the context of playoffs and developement of the team. Not good or bad, just is.

    Wonder if he and Weis are speaking since he did not know Weis was even considering another post? Actually that is the point of assist. coaches, isn’t it? Build your own tree by developing coaches for the next level. Doubt that is true in this case but got to put some kind of happy spin on it.




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